Hey!Pie is SCRUMptious with Blockchain A-La-Mode

Another Story from the Near Future, by Consensys

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash


The basic idea for this story has been rattling around at ConsenSys since at least 2017. But only after a team from Washington DC (and elsewhere) took the initiative to build a working demo did the story crystalize into action. We hope that team builds a real business around their original work, so that agile teams like ours can be their customers.

The Story

Here’s the thing. Everyone on our team was tired of the old way of getting recognized and rewarded for work. You have to either suck up to a boss or win some kind of sick popularity contest to secure your place, get your bonus, and maybe get cut in for equity in the venture.

Then someone got the clever idea to turn our daily scrum into a tool for getting paid.

Early on, we figured out that if we were faithfully adding our *Yesterday* and *Today* work to a Slack Channel called “Daily Scrum”, we didn’t need to have an actual standup meeting…so long as everyone read it.

Now, thanks to Hey!Pie, a cool Slack App plugin, none of us would miss reading the scrum unless we were literally in a coma. Why? Because it’s how we get Pie. Hey!Pie transforms our Slack scrum channel into a real-time, organic feedback and reward mechanism that relies entirely on “inflation economics.”

Here’s how it works:

In my daily scrum post, I can add “/pie” and then a number like “#100,” followed by a description of something I accomplished. I can also include a link to a GitHub pull request or any other URL where evidence of my awesomeness on this “key result” lives.

When I hit enter, everyone on my team gets a Slack message showing my /pie proposal: “@John proposes they get 100 Pie for publishing the Hey!Pie story to Medium yesterday.” And there is a field right under the message where one must enter a number, which defaults to the figure I entered (100 in this case).

If the others enter a number smaller than I proposed, they are effectively limiting the inflation of our “Pie”, which our team will use to calculate our bonuses and equity later. And they’re essentially giving me tacit feedback about their opinion of either the quality of my work or how important they think that work is to our success.

If they enter a bigger number, they are saying, “Dude, you are too modest…this work is awesome, and I’m happy to dilute my Pie to reward you…here’s 150.”

When everyone has entered their Pie Awards, Hey!Pie takes the weighted average and adds it to my share of the Pie…depositing Pie tokens into my Ethereum wallet.

Bonus Pie

Teams can use Hey!Pie to share out any number of reward schemes, from base pay to crypto to venture equity. The calculation is the same. At the end of a predefined period, an ethereum smartcontract fires and runs this equation: (n/N)*P, where n=the number of Pie shares I accumulated, N=the total number of Pie shares my team awarded to each other, and P=the total amount of whatever pool of value we are playing for in this context (Bonus, Equity…actual Pies!).

If P is funded in cryptocurrency, then blockchain does it’s magic, and we all get our Ether or ERC20 tokens or whatever instantaneously.

But in our current case, we are using this Hey!Pie channel to determine our quarterly bonuses. We aren’t sales people, and merit bonuses are traditionally tricky for people like us…and they usually come down to how well you are liked by the boss. But with Hey!Pie, every day on Scrum we inched along to our respective bonuses, and if you were in danger of not getting a very good one, you saw it coming a mile off. No surprises.

The inflation game works well, because we know two things every time we award each other with Pie: 1) That the award comes at a cost of diluting our overall Pie; 2) Smaller slices of a bigger Pie is more pie. So if someone does something hugely awesome for the team, and we give them a lot of Pie, then we believe that the contribution is likely to increase P.

In our Bonus case here in the USA, we are paid in old fashioned dollars. So our finance people have to take our Pie holdings in a report that Hey!Pie generates and pay us out the traditional way ..but at least we have an immutable record of our legal right to that Pie. (And we all signed a OpenLaw contract that is a legal agreement governing the payout terms both in a court of law and in the blockchain smart contract.) So now the finance team simply has to decide how big that value for P will be. And for that, it’s pretty handy that the Hey!Pie report summarizes all our key results against OKRs. This gives them data-driven reasons for maybe pumping up that Bonus pool!

Setup is Key

Hey!Pie has a web-based control panel, which made it easy for our team to set up governance for our Pie. The first thing we set was a “target” amount of pie. This figure shows up in Slack as an alert if we have given each other more slices of Pie than that, so that we can keep an eye on inflation. And we can see how close we’re coming to the max value by looking at the figure posted in each Slack message prompting us to Award Pie to someone. This gives us a sense of the “price” of awarding each other more Pie.

The control panel also let us set up who gets to award Pie (both inside our work team and others we want to have a say in our reward system) and whether anyone has more weight than others in setting the final Pie award for each proposal. This defaults to everyone being equal, and my team kept it that way…except for one Board member that was willing to do the daily Scrum awards…they had a 1.5x weighting.

Multiple Pie Makers

It turns out that most of the time, contributions reported on the daily Scrum really are individual, but sometimes the result I’m reporting in my “/pie” post is hard to claim as just my work. In this case, I can add a list in the form “@teammate” after /pie. If I only add a single “#100”, then I’m proposing that everyone get 100 Pie tokens each. But I can add different “#” amounts after each person in order to propose individualized awards.

This is also handy for awarding our whole team for something like all of us doing an event or meeting.

Tipping Pie

One of my favorite ways to use Hey!Pie is to just give someone on team some of my Pie. This doesn’t inflate the Pie but it also doesn’t feel the same as it would if I were to show my appreciation in cold hard cash. After all, until the bonus is actually calculated, the amount of Pie I have is in a kind of “Schrodinger’s Cat” state…not quite real yet. Easier to gift.

So Much More than Meets the Pie

This is a pretty simple application right now, but it is easy to see how Hey!Pie could incrementally add awesome features to make it more and more essential…and not simply for small team self-management but for mesh organizations (and even hierarchies) trying to be more data driven about how they set goals, make decisions and enable people to serve each other.

Our team of designers, developers and writers at ConsenSys in Durham, NC writes user experiences “from the near future” as a way to explore novel and (we hope) unexpected ways of using web3 technologies to change how people live and how businesses organize themselves. Some of these stories we build into beautiful open source (apache2) developer kits, with functional modules that you can use to build your own offerings… ‘lego kits’ for web3. Will soon have our own publication, but until then, find our stories on ConsenSys Media, and on John Wolpert’s Medium page.