Part II – The office golf tournament water cooler effect

In case you missed it, here's Part I.

In an effort to increase the water cooler effect brought on by our golf tournament, I turned to tech to broaden the access from the green to mobile devices. Plus, we specialise in software so it was inevitable to pair the two in our workplace.

In an evening, I was able to create an app to allow users to register for the tournament, add their daily scores, as well as view the leaderboard, prizes and historical winners and losers. The next morning a group of users were beta testing, and by the time Monday arrived, the app was released to the tournament. The speed of development using Outsystems is something that has become less and less of a shock to me since I was first introduced to the platform a year ago. 
What I did find shocking, was after a couple of weeks of playing this game, I was in knee deep creating an app for the competition out of hours. So many ideas were running through my head for additional features, I created a Trello board to keep track of all the development items. 

The app itself became a minor celebrity amongst Kiandra’s golf enthusiasts and a constant discussion point, especially during the fever-pitched final week, which ends in doughnuts. Plus, with the speed of development, new features could be introduced to the app overnight, empowering everyone to come up with new and better ways to make it more engaging. 

Back on the green, new phrases began to enter our collective vernacular. “Two’s get you through”, refers to getting the shortest putt in (worth two points) to avoid receiving doughnuts for the day is commonplace and “stop yapping, get tapping” is a sign someone is lingering too long. 

Time in the office can seem like a blur, with everyone constantly being busy it can be hard to catch up with colleagues from other teams or departments. One of the strengths of the golf tournament is that it is completely role and level agnostic. 

Participants range from some of our most junior, all the way up to department managers from across the business. This random mingling of groups improves relationships and makes you feel part of something much bigger than your project team. 

The scoring system can be at times brutal, and allows for a high amount of variance. You would be wrong if you thought that the same people would win and lose each month. Our Head of Software blew away the competition in the first month, but just two months and two large boxes of Doughboys Doughnuts later she found herself at the bottom of the leaderboard (oh how the mighty have fallen). 

This is one of the only times during the day where are skills align. None of us will be going pro anytime soon, some can’t even putt with their preferred hand and rule # 38 stipulates you can’t bring in your own club. Being on this even playing field further increases this sense of belonging and participation within our team. So much so, we follow the aforementioned 41 rules religiously, any question results in someone immediately racing to check the rulebook. In a sense, we’ve formed a tribe. 

Increasing opportunities for inclusion does not need to be expensive, no ROI analysis was done before introducing this tournament and short periods away from your desk does not result in lesser outcomes. And we utilised in-house expertise (the software development kind) to push forward that engagement even more. It worked, there are significantly more people involved in the tournament from other areas of the business than when it first started. 

Even though we all began bit subpar when it comes to golf, we’re all improving together and witnessing that face to face and also through tech. As the water cooler effect suggests, I can confirm my productivity has increased since the competition was introduced and I’m willing to bet a few doughnuts my colleagues’ has gone up as well.