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I like the idea of having a big number to represent your "score."

Once I was on a team using Flyspray and one of our developers hacked it to display a real-time score. He had some convoluted algorithm that took into account percent completed, criticals, and priority. Everybody started working the number, trying to get it higher. It was great and become quite competitive. We'd even talk about our score with marketing and clients. The only problem followed a beta test when the client opened a ton of fixes. The number sank like stone. Not a big problem though. The developer tweaked his algorithm and bingo. . . our score was soon back where it belonged.


Unit Testing Achievements : http://exogen.github.com/nose-achievements/

The Game-ification of Everything (watch the last 6 mins or so if nothing else) : http://g4tv.com/videos/44277/DICE-2010-Design-Outside-the-Bo...

surely there's an enterprise developer-motivation product hiding in here somewhere...

If I understand that correctly: your score dropped, so you hacked the scoring algorithm to display a number you liked better?

Shouldn't you have instead started a new round of the "game" and worked to fix the bugs -- thus improving your score legitimately?

Yeah, you're right. And the number lost some of its luster after the hack. Eventually we stopped using it. So lesson learned. Don't undermine your own tracking system.

We had two problems. One, the developer who wrote the algorithm was the sort of guy who needed to constantly tweak the system. He was a great coder, but he also couldn't produce unless he played a few tricks or hid an easter eggs. So, he kept screwing with the score, making it blink red or suddenly drop and return to normal. We joked that he needed to sell his algorithm to Google. It was fun, but doomed.

The second problem was that marketing started taking the number seriously. They love the numbers, don't they? We were a web shop and at constant war over real estate and advertising. The unwritten law was, anything that marketing took seriously, needed to be screwed with.

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