Gamification and Agile


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Presented at the Lean and Agile Systems Thinking Conference in Melbourne 2012 this presentation covers what games are, what the key elements of a game are, how these relate to our day to day lives and importantly what can we learn or utilise more of from game for Agile Software Development.

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  • Who here in the audience would consider themselves a gamer?Are you only putting your hand up now because of the picture?
  • The reality is gamers have somewhat of a bad rap. The term “gamer” engenders ideas of pasty white teenagers of middle aged single men living their days in a zombie like state in the basement of their parents house spending over forty hours a week with their eyes glued to the pixels on their screen smashing keys on their keyboard.
  • Atari 2600, Commadore 64
  • If you think about it – Board games are often role playing games. A banker? A real estate investor? A detective? A doctor?
  • Six to sixteen netballFourteen to sixteen volleyballBut for you this could have been cricket or rugby, basketball or golf.
  • What about life – is it a game?What about work?Many of you would have heard the of “gaming the system”. How many have done this (where they system is your workplace)?The reality is we are doing it, a lot. Think about some large environments. Take their PMOs as an example. Have you ever gamed the PMO system?I have built systems with the distinct intent that they get gamed. Do you think systems should be built this way? Consider a governance system where it is easy to get incremental funding, but hard to get large funding for projects – say $10m. What do you think people will do? They will try to game the system and will break their work down. Is this a bad thing?
  • When we do Agile – are there elements that are like a game?
  • What is gamification? Gaming rules and dynamics applied to things that aren’t video games to enhance engagement.Most people think that gamification is about making work “fun” – this really isn’t the purpose, it is the outcome, and an indirect one at that.
  • Clear goals and outcomes – clear for board games, sports games, computer games… but what about work? What clear goals do we have in Agile? The meta-goal is to deliver or enhance the product, the timely goal is deliver an iteration or velocity. But what about Kanban or Lean Startup teams? In a Kanban environments the goal could be conceived as delivering to your cycle time but I don’t think that is correct – the goal is to manage your flow in order to reduce variability. In Lean Startups your goal is to learn.
  • Constraints are an intriguing thing. We often think that the world is too constrained, and yet innovation can be driven from highly constrained environments. Take Jugaad or frugal innovation for example – new world solutions born out of the constraints of a third world. Constraints in sports and games.Constraints in life/work? Are we constrained by the need to pay a mortgage? Is this a constraint that is overriding our ability to be fulfilled at work? How many of you have clearly defined constraints at work? Inherent knowledge if rife in the workplace and yet it is only when we identify these constraints and call them out for what they are that we can actually challenge them. We need to move away from the Monkey and Banana problem and move into a world of defined constraints in order to succeed.Constraints in Agile? Surprisingly there are a few additional constraints made – sacred timeboxes and limiting work in progress are such examples. When Kanban talks about defining “explicit policies” this is about defining your constraints.
  • This is my favourite rule – because to me it defines success or not for most games. In sports – referee, scoreboard. It is almost instant.In video games it IS instant. You see immediate results based upon your actions. Work is incredibly poor at this. Think of HR teams that you work with. Of performance reviews, of strategic planning and how they link to your KRAs. As a customer who do you do your business with is almost always as a result of how quick feedback is made. Forbes – Internet Leads “you are 100 times more likely to contact a lead in the first five minutes than at 30 minutes.” Agile does this really well in comparison to waterfall – breaking work down and getting feedback in small increments, getting feedback on the process itself through retrospectives.
  • Games and sports – this is easy.Work is a little harder – do we play the game of life for money or do we play it because we enjoy the game? With Gallup in the US reporting that 70% of employees are disengaged we have a major issue at play. Agile – harder again. Should you force people to use Agile or does it have to be voluntary?
  • You can build your own games too – Just follow the rules! Build a game and test it by yourself. Adjust the timings and instructions until you believe the outcome can be successfully reached. Once you are happy with it pilot it with a supportive group. Incrementally adjust and refactor until it is hitting the mark. Car Change – 1 iterationSnapper – 4 iterationsKanbanopoly – 7 iterations
  • Originally designed by Joshua Kerievsky from Industrial Logic as XP War this game has been adapted over the years to expand on common problems and the new Agile practices.
  • You can build your own games too – Just follow the rules! Build a game and test it by yourself. Adjust the timings and instructions until you believe the outcome can be successfully reached. Once you are happy with it pilot it with a supportive group. Incrementally adjust and refactor until it is hitting the mark. Car Change – 1 iterationSnapper – 4 iterationsKanbanopoly – 7 iterations
  • At the end need to briefly walk through Kanbanopolyand Bigheads
  • Facebook, twitter, linked in,google groups, communities of practice….
  • But this happens in real life – meetups are a classic example.
  • George Clooney – Up in the Air, Sounds like the game of life!Think back to my Cabbage Patch Kid doll. I wanted to have a “one of a kind of a cabbage patch kid” because there was status with having a unique item.Achievements board example earlier is also a status driven motivator.
  • Levelling up.
  • Google is classic example of thisThe Golem Project is one of the more earlier examples of this in action. Twelve years ago, it was the first internet crowdsourcing projects to determine if we could unravel the secrets of evolution through mass computational power.
  • Gamification and Agile

    1. 1. Gamification and Agile LAST Unconference 2012
    2. 2. Are you a gamer? The Agile Revolution Podcast 2 Agile Forest Blog
    3. 3. Are you a gamer? The Agile Revolution Podcast 3 Agile Forest Blog
    4. 4. But this myth needs to be broken The Agile Revolution Podcast 4 Agile Forest Blog
    5. 5. Role players? The Agile Revolution Podcast 5 Agile Forest Blog
    6. 6. Board anyone? The Agile Revolution Podcast 6 Agile Forest Blog
    7. 7. What about some sports? The Agile Revolution Podcast 7 Agile Forest Blog
    8. 8. The game of life? The Agile Revolution Podcast 8 Agile Forest Blog
    9. 9. Gamification and Agile The Agile Revolution Podcast 9 Agile Forest Blog
    10. 10. Games don’t have to be video games • Creation • Role playing • Board • Sports • Work • Agile The Agile Revolution Podcast 10 Agile Forest Blog
    11. 11. Rule #1: Clear goals There needs to be clear and defined goals or outcomes that have to be achieved. The Agile Revolution Podcast 11 Agile Forest Blog
    12. 12. Rule #2: Constraints There must be set rules in place to limit how you go about achieving the goal. By limiting obvious approaches to receiving the goal you are forced to think creatively or strategically. The Agile Revolution Podcast 12 Agile Forest Blog
    13. 13. Rule #3: Real time feedback The environment must provide feedback telling us how we were progressing as playing or when the game is over. Even if we loose it needs to provide us feedback so that we know how close we got, motivating us to try that little bit harder. The Agile Revolution Podcast 13 Agile Forest Blog
    14. 14. Rule #4: Voluntary participation They must be voluntary. No one forces us to play them. The Agile Revolution Podcast 14 Agile Forest Blog
    15. 15. Agile games created for learning Practice War Project Snapper Eurotrip 2012 Rule 1: Clear outcome/goal Kanbanopoly Rule 2: Built in constraints Rule 3: Real time feedback Bigheads Rule 4: Voluntary participation Car Change Game Achievements Board The Agile Revolution Podcast 15 Agile Forest Blog
    16. 16. Practice War Design intent = understand the Agile framework more deeply The team is not Showcases celebrating what Vaowcases they have achieved The Agile Revolution Podcast 16 Agile Forest Blog
    17. 17. Project Snapper Design intent = What does it feel like as a Scrum Master when a project is not setup for success? The Agile Revolution Podcast 17 Agile Forest Blog
    18. 18. Eurotrip 2012 Design intent = Project Management in Agile will always come down to tradeoffs Destination: Louvre Museum Destination: Moulin Rogue Country: France Country: France City: Paris City: Paris Cost:80 Cost:400+ 100 (babysitting) Size: 8 Size: 4 Dependencies: EuroHub->Paris Dependencies: EuroHub->Paris Priority: Restriction: Night and parents only Priority: Destination: Eiffel Tower Destination: Seine River Cruise Country: France Country: France City: Paris City: Paris Cost:150 Cost:280 Size: 3 Size: 2 Dependencies: EuroHub- Dependencies: EuroHub->Paris >Paris Restriction: Night and parents only Priority: Priority: The Agile Revolution Podcast 18 Agile Forest Blog
    19. 19. Car change game Design intent = Get comfortable with change The Agile Revolution Podcast 19 Agile Forest Blog
    20. 20. Achievements Board Design intent = Do Agile practices and method All aboard! Risky business Pepa PiG Show and tell Working on all Superheroes! cylinders Socially bound I don’t mind a good Back to the Future Back to the Future II Back to the Future III From Russia with love game of blackjack too Forward thinking Have a say The Borg Venus Yesterday’s weather Like a G6 was rain The Agile Revolution Podcast 20 Agile Forest Blog
    21. 21. What does this mean for software development? The last decade has been focused on social systems – connections The Agile Revolution Podcast 21 Agile Forest Blog
    22. 22. Game dynamic #1: Appointment A dynamic in which to succeed one must return at a predefined time to take a predetermined action. The Agile Revolution Podcast 22 Agile Forest Blog
    23. 23. Game dynamic #2: Influence & Status The ability of one player to modify the behaviour of another’s actions through social pressure. The Agile Revolution Podcast 23 Agile Forest Blog
    24. 24. Product Status The Agile Revolution Podcast 24 Agile Forest Blog
    25. 25. Game dynamic #3: Progression A dynamic in which success is granularly displayed and measured through the process of completing itemised tasks. The Agile Revolution Podcast 25 Agile Forest Blog
    26. 26. Game dynamic #4: Communal discovery A dynamic wherein an entire community is rallied to work together to solve a challenge. The Agile Revolution Podcast 26 Agile Forest Blog
    27. 27. Game dynamic #4: Communal discovery Online gamers solve AIDS retroviral puzzle for scientists es/zoran/NSMBfoldit-2011.pdf The Agile Revolution Podcast 27 Agile Forest Blog
    28. 28. Where can I find out more? The Agile Revolution Podcast 28 Agile Forest Blog
    29. 29. Where can I find out more? The Agile Revolution Podcast 29 Agile Forest Blog