Switchbox Props

What is Props?

Props is an internal Switchbox project that was developed to create a fun, engaging incentive system that allows our employees to “give props” to their fellow workers and recognize the dedication and effort being shown on a daily basis. This entire system is wrapped in simple and intuitive user interface that makes it both easy and fun to share the love!


At its core, Props is a system that is based on the exchange of points. Every month, our employees are awarded a set amount of points (currently 500) that they can give to anyone else in the company to show appreciation for their hard work. When someone gives props, they indicate the amount of points they would like to give and the person who they would like to give the points to. Props can also contain hashtags, which can let you view all the props that share the same hashtags. Additionally, a prop can also contain mentions, which will notify the mentioned user but not award them points. It’s a cool way of tagging someone in a post while not awarding them points.


Here’s what a Prop looks like:




In this example, the user giving props is @user_switchbox and the card shows their name and avatar image.

A prop can contain any number of recipients, hashtags, and mentions.

Giving Props

Giving props is a very easy process – simply specify the amount of points to be awarded and the recipient. You can add points, hashtags, recipients, and mentions in any order and the system will handle the transfer of points.



To make the process as simple as possible, there are icons at the bottom of the prop box that will show the user the options for their company.


Let’s say that I know I want to give John 15 points for his help yesterday, but I can’t remember his username. I can simply click on the icon to add a recipient and it will insert the ‘@’ character along with a selectable list of all the users in my company.



This functionality exists for points, recipients, mentions, and hashtags (companies can create hashtags that make it easier to find props tagged with that specific word).


If you are well-versed in twitter-style mentions, you can tag users and add hashtags through regular text. The special characters ‘+’, ‘@’, ‘&’, ‘#’ will all open up drop down menus showing available options when typed.

The Dashboard


The dashboard is a list of all activity going on with your company. At the top you can view how many points you may give out and also create a new prop. In the top-right of the screen you can see how many points you have been given, and redeem them for rewards.


The main portion of the page is dedicated to the company feed. This shows the recent activity for your company and the latest props that have been given.


On the right side of the screen is the company leaderboard which shows which employees have earned the most points and which have given away the most points.

Profile Pages

Click a username will take you to that user’s landing page. This is a page where you can view all of their activity and activity they have been tagged in.


The profile page is broken down into three tabs: Props Received, Props Given, and Mentions. Clicking a tab will show you all the Props that correspond to the selected category.



When a user has accumulated enough points (gifted points), they can redeem them for rewards. Rewards are created by company admins and can be anything you want, from gift-cards to free lunches, or even paid days off!


The reward interface is very simple and shows a grid-view of the available awards. Your points for redemption are shown above and individual rewards will show you how many more points you need.


Task Organization – List View vs. Board View

Over the lifetime of a project, there will be dozens or even hundreds of tasks that are created to describe the functionality and features that are to be developed. The organizational structure of these tasks has a significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of the development team and good organization can greatly assist in both the clarity of a task and the status of the project as a whole. Until recently, we have employed a list view for current tasks which essentially creates a single list of all active tasks. These tasks are assigned to a developer at the time that they are to be completed and are checked off when finished. This organizational structure is not ideal in terms of visual clarity, but requires little maintenance or upkeep. When a task is completed, it is simply marked as such, and after a review, is removed from the list.


Teamwork.com, which is the primary organizational software we use for Agile development has launched with a new feature. We are switching to a much more visual presentation of our current tasks which involves a ‘task board.’ Rather than a single list containing all active tasks, the new method will organize active tasks into distinct stages of completion. From Backlog -> In Progress -> In Review -> Staging -> Deployed. This method of organization provides much more information at a glance and will be much easier to not only find information relevant to a specific task/developer, but also the status of the project as a whole.

The board view requires more maintenance than the list view, but the tradeoff in efficiency and readability will help out a great deal moving forward. If you would like to learn more about using the task board view for software development in Teamwork give us a call.