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Bertil Muth
Bertil Muth

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Gimmicks at work

Some teams use bears with light bulbs inside, or traffic lights, connected to their CI server. When the build fails, the lights go red.

Then there’s rubber duck debugging: you explain your code to a plastic duck, to find bugs.

What’s your favorite gimmick at work?

Top comments (9)

nlxdodge profile image

We once had a Christmas tree in our company that had a raspberry pi with a relay on it. So you go to a local website, and you can switch on and off different lights.

We also have a tea machine specific for tea. And all lights in the building work automatically.

itsasine profile image
ItsASine (Kayla)

We also have a tea machine specific for tea.

It had better return 418 HTTP Status Codes for anything not related to tea

matthewbdaly profile image
Matthew Daly

I've long wanted a CI server that makes me a cup of tea when the build breaks.

s_aitchison profile image
Suzanne Aitchison

I don't know if it qualifies as a gimmick, but we have a "First Friday Shout Outs" bowl - throughout the month when you notice someone doing something great (solved a tricky bug, helped you with something, had a great product demo etc etc), you write it on a note and put it in the bowl... And on the first Friday of each month we get together and take turns to read them all out and celebrate all the successes 🙂

It sounds kind of silly but it seems to motivate so much more than other gimmicky stuff

bertilmuth profile image
Bertil Muth

That’s a great idea! We use Kudos cards at work as well.

elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited

Rubber duck debugging is not a gimmick. It works really well. I have a bunch of rubber ducks at my desk and I am happy to lend them to any of my colleagues (programmer or not) to help them out with whatever problem they have.

As for gimmicks I once hooked up a few zibee lights to our monitoring. People didn't like the near constant red light.

Recently I bought a Raspberry Pi 3 and hooked it up to an old monitor. And now we have a few radiator/uptime/status views rotating on it. I could have done the same with a Pi nano. But I couldn't find a complete kit which could be delivered the next day. Still, only 70 euros and a small bit of work for a "useful" overview screen.

val_baca profile image
Valentin Baca

I taught my team to have someone say "Go Team!" to conclude our morning Daily Scrum stand-up. Usually it's the Scrum Master that says it, with varying levels of enthusiasm and/or irony.

(When I say "taught" I mean I just started doing it until it wasn't weird anymore.)

It's goofy but I really like that it concisely and definitively ends a meeting where we could just stand around talking for a long time or slowly peel off with "uh ok. I guess we're done?"


khrome83 profile image
Zane Milakovic

Amazon Alexa Button to launch the build....

Actually kind of a bad idea.

bradtaniguchi profile image

Ours is simple.

Who-ever fixes this nasty bug in the next 2 hours gets 5$ bucks. 😉

It might not be flashy, but works.... sometimes haha.