Runar Ovesen Hjerpbakk

Programmer. Software Architect. Technical Manager.

Why Do Achievements, Trophies, and Badges Work?

From The Psychology of Video Games:

Eight potential reasons why badges, achievements, and trophies might work are:

  1. They anchor our performance expectations higher
  2. Having goals increases our self efficacy
  3. Completing goals leads to satisfaction
  4. They create goal commitment
  5. They act as guidance mechanics and provide feedback
  6. They facilitate psychological flow through feedback
  7. They trigger social proof
  8. They trigger motivating social comparisons

Agile is full of ceremony, some of which remind me of these points:

  • The team’s velocity anchors the team to what is considered a good performance
  • The sprint goal can communicate expectations beyond the team’s previous velocity
  • A successful sprint can be celebrated
  • If the goal was reached with time to spare, the team can be more ambitious next sprint
  • Progress is tracked through the sprint dashboard, Kanban board or other post-it heavy contraptions