The HouseCup is a Slack and Discord bot that utilizes Harry Potter™-style houses to award points to fellow team members to celebrate the small victories and acknowledge good work.
It admittedly started as a joke among the team as most of us are Harry Potter fans but it did not stay a gimmick for very long. Our theory was that 1) introducing gamification like awarding points encourages more engagement between members and 2) people appreciate being validated for good work and are inspired to continue.
After implementing the Slack bot internally, we discovered the results were true and being community strategists, we wanted to share the bot with others for free.
Our team is not unlike others in that we have both in-office and remote co-workers. It’s a work environment that is fast becoming the new normal and with that comes certain pain points that we discovered:
As we started to develop the idea, there were several benefits to building it:
With the concept of assigning houses, awarding points, and earning the eventual house cup of the year, we had the basis of a fun project for our product designers and development team. Our plan was to build a reply bot, a simple method but one that we could easily integrate more features around.
Stability was a large goal of ours since any given server could have thousands of users. We needed to build the product in a way that could reliably scale.
Systems that we built:
Slack is a popular choice for community engagement but trends heavily in the professional industry by helping teams communicate. Discord has more of a focus on personal and gaming communities, and so we wanted to prioritize launching with a Discord bot as well.
With the logic in place and the code base for Slack already implemented, it was an easy transition for us to build the Discord bot as the two code bases between the tools are very similar.
Once we formalized the name HouseCup, the brand team could begin to design the logo and aesthetic of the website. With the roots of the brand within the Harry Potter world, there was a lot of imagery we could associate with. From abstracted landscapes to a play on the house crest, we created a brand style that was playful, handmade in nature, and still a nod to the Harry Potter roots.
We designed and built an accompanying website to detail what the product does with documentation and support available. We spent the most time on a fun exercise of animating the illustrated hero on the first load, all entirely built with CSS.
Our hope for the product was to share the positive impact we had on our own team with others. Friendly competitiveness and show of appreciation can go a long way in building a better culture. After being released, we saw a number of large communities use the bot for their own teams.
Short of two years, we took a look back at the growth of the bot as well as conducting a survey to receive feedback; if people have been enjoying it so far, if it has had a positive impact on their community, and if there are improvements that could be made. We’ve detailed the responses to the survey in an article that goes more in-depth but below is a brief snapshot.