During the last three years gamification became quite popular in everyday applications, e.g. marketing or social media. A simple, but often observed technique is to award users with badges for specific actions and achievements. This technique can be used in pretty simple ways, e.g. member titles in forums based on the number of posts, but may also be rather elaborate, e.g. StackOverflow’s system of granting badges to users based on on their reputation and other aspects. Some companies even announced to, or already do, include gamification aspects in consumer and business software, e.g. SAP or Microsoft.
Besides adding fun and a little competition to everyday activities, gamification can also be useful by encouraging users to explore the features of software and, by doing so, discover functionality they are yet unaware of*.
Considering software development, there are also some gamification plugins for IDEs and other tools, which are worth to take a look at. The following provides an incomplete list:
- Jenkins Continuous Integration Game: A rather simple gamification plugin, in which users can score by triggering successful build or adding tests (and in turn are punished with negative scores for breaking the build).
- Achievements for Eclipse: An achievement plugin for the Eclipse IDE, which is yet in development.
- Visual Studio Achievements: Early last year, a blog post with a list of potential Visual Studio achievements was published. About one year later it is reality and provides a whole bunch of badges.
- JIRA Hero: This plugin brings achievements and badges to the JIRA issue tracking system.
If you happen to know of any other, please leave a comment, so I can update and extend this list.
*Btw: Did you know, that JIRA has keyboard shortcuts?