traffic-lights.pngAs evidenced by many of the entries in the Ultimate Wallboard contest, teams devise countless clever ways to provide feedback.

In addition to displaying important metrics and current status, a key aspect of information radiators is nofitying members of events that require immediate action. This concept is also known as extreme feedback.

For that reason, information radiators are not just limited to wallboards. Teams connect everything from traffic lights to police sirens to ensure critical events are clearly communicated to the team as they happen.

Extreme feedback for continuous integration (CI)

Probably the most common use of extreme feedback is for build notifications. As soon as the build breaks, teams have to move swiftly in order to resolve the issue and not hold up any downstream activities.

This wallboard is complimented by a simple build siren (right).  Since this is centrally located everyone is immediately aware of the build breaking.

It’s virtually impossible not to notice the build is broken when the string of lights (below) runs directly over your head.  If only they pointed to the person responsible for the break.

The team at Cloudera uses a set of red and green lava lamps (below) as extra encouragement to fix the build quickly.  Since the lamps take a few minutes to warm up, the goal is to fix the build before the red lamp starts moving.

Want to hook this up yourself?

There are plenty of great examples of connecting extreme feedback devices out

Thanks to Janusz Gorycki, if you are using Atlassian Bamboo, you can now setup your own extreme feedback device for build notifications.

Inspired by Kohsuke’s orb, the new Bamboo Arduino Board Connector plugin sends build status information a simple circuit board which can control any type of feedback device.  Check out the full details for hacking Bamboo with Arduino.

Other sights and sounds

Several information radiator entries also include audio notifications as well.  For example, the wallboard from Willow Creek Production Systems plays a sound and lights up an “On Air” sign in the corner when a new ticket comes in.

The wallboard at AdMob plays “nuclear launch detected” in
an ominous Protoss voice whenever new code is deployed and a sweet “cha-ching” when someone drops in a large deposit.

In addition to ringing the cash register and playing “you’ve got mail”, the Gynzy status board even chirps when someone tweets about them.

What’s on your wallboard?

Every day, we are giving away an Ultimate Wallboard T-Shirt to one of the entries submitted that day. So, what are you waiting for?

If you have a sweet wallboard, status board, story wall or any other form of extreme feedback, we want to see it!  Just 10 days left to enter the Ultimate Wallboard contest today.


Beyond the wallboard – information radiators...