It all started when Nikola, our Android team leader by day and party animal by night, started pasting Extra on Hipchat when someone from the team did a great job. Then somebody kicked off the idea that it would be cool to build an application to streamline the whole process.
The idea for an application was left sitting in a corner for a while, but when I joined the Infinum team last summer as a new Rails developer, my mentor decided to put it into action. My first assignment to learn the ropes was to build a simple Ruby on Rails application called Extra. After I successfully finished the project, I was awarded my first Extra.
So what is Extra?
Extra is an internal company application used by all of us here at Infinum. The purpose of Extra is to reward and praise people for good work. This can be for an official project we are working on or something more personal, like giving an Extra to someone for making some really good cheese sandwiches.
To put it simply, Extra has become our way of giving kudos to each other.
How does it work?
Only Infinumers can give and receive Extras. We do this by utilizing our single sign-on system called Infinum ID. When you want to add an Extra, you simply select an employee and write a reason why they receive it. It’s really simple and straightforward.
As we use Hipchat for all our internal communication, we've built in support for Extra using the Hipchat API. That way, when someone receives an Extra, a notification is displayed in the main chat room on Hipchat for everyone to see. By default, the application sends an email notification to the user who just got an Extra. Luckily, for the over-productive members of our team, email notifications can also be disabled on the user profile page.
Another interesting feature of Extra are all-time and monthly top lists. They are here primarily for entertainment purposes and not nit-picking who got the most Extras.
It is very important to give positive feedback to people when they do something well. It keeps them happy, makes them feel good about themselves and motivates them to do their next project even better.
Too often people adopt the attitude that it's perfectly normal to silently accept good work and give flak when their expectations are not met. Simple and small things like Extra help a lot in keeping such behavior as far away as possible from our fast growing company.
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