Gamification – Making Work a Game

Gamification: Turning regular activities at work into games.

Gamification stands in contrast to what people call serious games.

Serious games are activities or games that are outside of normal work. These games can help you with estimation (Planning Poker), road maps (Prune The Product Tree), and team dynamics (Speedboat). Serious games often incorporate crowdsourcing, sometimes to scale efforts that might otherwise be difficult for teams to do alone, and other times to elicit information that people might otherwise be unable or unwilling to provide.

Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality Is Brokenstarts with the following proposition about gamification:

  • Since the launch of World of Warcraft, players have clocked more than 50 billion hours of time playing this online game.
  • People play World of Warcraft because, for whatever reason, they find it rewarding, despite the lack of tangible, real-world benefits of playing it. (Unless, of course, you count the people working in the underground economy of “gold farming” for massively multiplayer online games.)
  • Therefore, if you could somehow recreate the experience of playing World of Warcraft at work, you’d increase their motivation on the job. In other words, if businesses could capture even a fraction of those 50 billion hours playing World of Warcraft, they’d be very happy with the increased productivity.

Bottom line? Gamification turns daily work life into a game with hopes to reap the benefits that games usually bring to extra-curricular life, to the work environment.

Who knows, maybe we’ll all be doing game-like activities at work in the near future. On application development and delivery teams, we’ll get power-ups when we check in code without issues. We’ll earn merit badges when people give high marks to an application’s user experience. When we double the number of automated tests, we’ll “level up” enough to qualify for membership in the Guild of Puissant Quality Professionals. – Tom Grant

So… does this sound too futuristic? Or is it possible?

[Read more on how good Scrum is like the World of Warcraft.]

[HT: Computer World UK]