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By :
Richa Goel
Hrushikesh Wakhle
One of the core strategies is to reward players who complete some
valuable activities with points and badges.
Other approaches also exist, like using some game elements of
competition to stimulate employee performance, or making some
tasks more engaging like games
(by adding a narrative, for example).
Agile Gamification
Agile gives us many opportunities to improve and challenges to
overcome.
If you are an agilist, you may be facing some difficulties, including:
1. Teamwork and communication (you want more);
2. Meeting attendance (could be better);
3. Agile technical practices (Testing, Refactor, Emergent Design, TDD,
BDD, etc);
4. Boosting continuous improvement;
5. Influencing self-organization.
Agile Gamification refers to the use of game mechanics and
rewards in an agile software development setting to increase
team engagement and drive desired behaviors.
And by using the gamification strategies, we surely can gamify
agile software development frameworks and methodologies like
Scrum and XP.
Examples of Agile Gamification programs and tools:
 Agile Leagues: an open-source gamification platform for
gamifying agile teams;
 Mastering TDD – Test Wizards: a program for boosting test-
driven development (TDD) or other technical practices;
 Sugar Kit – Training Teams: an approach for training teams in
new technologies;
 Building continuous improvement – Metrics Ecosystem with
LEGO: a game for creating a culture of continuous improvement.
1. State your business goals
Start by answering stating your business
objectives. Which problems do you want to
address? Which practices do you want to
boost?
2. Define your target behaviors
Think about what you want your team to do.
What behaviors do you want to stimulate?
Which activities are they going to perform?
3. Get approval
When starting a gamification program, it is important
to get approval from both your superiors and the
players. Remember that you cannot force someone to
play. Play is a voluntary activity!
4. Know the players
If it is your team, you probably already know them very
well. But anyway, you can ask them suggestions and
what they are expecting from your gamification
program. It is also a good idea to run (ask them) the
bartle test of gamer psychology to better determine
their characteristics.
5. Build or buy it
Decide whether your going to build or buy your gamification
program. If you decide to build it, there are several gamification
frameworks out there that can help you focus on your busineses
objectives only and forget about specific gamification mechanics
(like badges and leaderboards – believe me, they can be hard to
implement). You can also try Agile Leagues (please contact me to
request access).
6. Run and measure
Start running your program and make sure to measure the actions
performed by the players. If it is a software, it will be easier. You
can track several attributes and player behaviors. There are also
some things that cannot be tracked, and that’s why you should
interview your players and ask for their input.
 7. Constantly make adjustments
 Do not forget to inspect, adapt, and
constantly improve the experience. Add new
content, fix bugs, increase feedback, change
the rules to make it more difficult. Don’t
forget to consider the metrics and attributes
measured in the previous step.
Define the activities that you want your colleagues or coachees to perform
more often, and then group them into domains (areas of improvement).
Examples of domains include:
 Collaboration
 Communication
 Meetings
 Software engineering
 Testing
Examples of activities include:
 Write unit tests
 Write test before code
 Read about design patterns
 Demonstrate a feature in the sprint review meeting
 Pair program for 1 hour
 Players are going to report their actions manually by telling the gamification
program (probably software) what they are doing. How can we prevent cheating
and ensure that all activities are executed as agreed?
 Peer activity review is about spreading the responsibility of reviewing the activities
throughout the team. Instead of a manager/mentor/leader checking whether the
players have actually completed the actions, the team members themselves will be
responsible for that. For example:
 Say Josh reported a unit test activity and added a description: "I wrote a unit test
for component X." Rob, his colleague, knows that he is working on that
component, so Rob accepts the activity. Notice that Rob is not going to check
whether Josh actually wrote the test, because Rob trusts him.
 The peer activity review mechanism has several benefits:
◦ It boosts self-organization and trust. Players are not going to feel that they are restricted to
the acceptance of a manager or game administrator.
◦ Little time is spent reviewing the activities, because the team members are the ones who
know best what everyone is doing.
◦ Self-regulation is boosted because the players themselves will establish their own stringent
standards for accepting or rejecting the activities.
◦ They will have fun because you can reward them for reviewing activities.

 Focus on intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards
(money, stocks, prizes, and commissions) work
best for simple tasks. Software development is
complex and creative work, and people tend to
prefer intrinsic rewards over extrinsic ones
(intrinsic rewards include recognition, status,
altruism, honor, mastery, and purpose).
 The classic triad of game elements used in
gamification is called PBL (points, badges, and
leaderboards). Most gamification programs apply
these components because they are highly
effective and they will likely help you achieve
your business objectives.
Points:
 They are used to encourage people to do things in
order to collect them.
 The assumption is that people will buy more widgets
or work harder in exchange for points.
 This is a simple approach that occasionally works to
motivate those people who like collecting things or
who like competing against each other.
 Explicit and frequent feedback is a key element in
most good game design, and points provide feedback
quickly and easily.
 By understanding the nature of points, you can use
them in ways that meet the objectives of your
gamified system.
 Badges:
 These are a "chunkier" version of points. A badge is a visual
representation of some achievement within the gamified process.
◦ Example: A Unit Tester Badge for writing 1,000 unit tests.
 Badges have five motivational characteristics:
 They give you a goal.
 They provide guidance as to what is possible within the system.
 They provide visual markers of what the users are capable of.
 They are virtual status symbols and affirmations of the personal
journey.
 They are "tribal markers" in that users with the same badges will
feel connected.

Badges, Points, Rewards only
 Something completely NEW
 Fits every context
 We can expect good results with Agile.
 Moreover, we will have an even better
outcome with Agile gamification!
 Both of them stimulate collaboration,
communication, teamwork, creativity,
improvement, and self-organization.
 Agile gamification, if implemented correctly,
will be lever to boost motivation,
engagement, and behavioral change.
Agile gamification

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Agile gamification

  • 2. One of the core strategies is to reward players who complete some valuable activities with points and badges. Other approaches also exist, like using some game elements of competition to stimulate employee performance, or making some tasks more engaging like games (by adding a narrative, for example).
  • 4. Agile gives us many opportunities to improve and challenges to overcome. If you are an agilist, you may be facing some difficulties, including: 1. Teamwork and communication (you want more); 2. Meeting attendance (could be better); 3. Agile technical practices (Testing, Refactor, Emergent Design, TDD, BDD, etc); 4. Boosting continuous improvement; 5. Influencing self-organization.
  • 5. Agile Gamification refers to the use of game mechanics and rewards in an agile software development setting to increase team engagement and drive desired behaviors. And by using the gamification strategies, we surely can gamify agile software development frameworks and methodologies like Scrum and XP. Examples of Agile Gamification programs and tools:  Agile Leagues: an open-source gamification platform for gamifying agile teams;  Mastering TDD – Test Wizards: a program for boosting test- driven development (TDD) or other technical practices;  Sugar Kit – Training Teams: an approach for training teams in new technologies;  Building continuous improvement – Metrics Ecosystem with LEGO: a game for creating a culture of continuous improvement.
  • 6.
  • 7. 1. State your business goals Start by answering stating your business objectives. Which problems do you want to address? Which practices do you want to boost? 2. Define your target behaviors Think about what you want your team to do. What behaviors do you want to stimulate? Which activities are they going to perform?
  • 8. 3. Get approval When starting a gamification program, it is important to get approval from both your superiors and the players. Remember that you cannot force someone to play. Play is a voluntary activity! 4. Know the players If it is your team, you probably already know them very well. But anyway, you can ask them suggestions and what they are expecting from your gamification program. It is also a good idea to run (ask them) the bartle test of gamer psychology to better determine their characteristics.
  • 9. 5. Build or buy it Decide whether your going to build or buy your gamification program. If you decide to build it, there are several gamification frameworks out there that can help you focus on your busineses objectives only and forget about specific gamification mechanics (like badges and leaderboards – believe me, they can be hard to implement). You can also try Agile Leagues (please contact me to request access). 6. Run and measure Start running your program and make sure to measure the actions performed by the players. If it is a software, it will be easier. You can track several attributes and player behaviors. There are also some things that cannot be tracked, and that’s why you should interview your players and ask for their input.
  • 10.  7. Constantly make adjustments  Do not forget to inspect, adapt, and constantly improve the experience. Add new content, fix bugs, increase feedback, change the rules to make it more difficult. Don’t forget to consider the metrics and attributes measured in the previous step.
  • 11. Define the activities that you want your colleagues or coachees to perform more often, and then group them into domains (areas of improvement). Examples of domains include:  Collaboration  Communication  Meetings  Software engineering  Testing Examples of activities include:  Write unit tests  Write test before code  Read about design patterns  Demonstrate a feature in the sprint review meeting  Pair program for 1 hour
  • 12.  Players are going to report their actions manually by telling the gamification program (probably software) what they are doing. How can we prevent cheating and ensure that all activities are executed as agreed?  Peer activity review is about spreading the responsibility of reviewing the activities throughout the team. Instead of a manager/mentor/leader checking whether the players have actually completed the actions, the team members themselves will be responsible for that. For example:  Say Josh reported a unit test activity and added a description: "I wrote a unit test for component X." Rob, his colleague, knows that he is working on that component, so Rob accepts the activity. Notice that Rob is not going to check whether Josh actually wrote the test, because Rob trusts him.  The peer activity review mechanism has several benefits: ◦ It boosts self-organization and trust. Players are not going to feel that they are restricted to the acceptance of a manager or game administrator. ◦ Little time is spent reviewing the activities, because the team members are the ones who know best what everyone is doing. ◦ Self-regulation is boosted because the players themselves will establish their own stringent standards for accepting or rejecting the activities. ◦ They will have fun because you can reward them for reviewing activities. 
  • 13.  Focus on intrinsic rewards. Extrinsic rewards (money, stocks, prizes, and commissions) work best for simple tasks. Software development is complex and creative work, and people tend to prefer intrinsic rewards over extrinsic ones (intrinsic rewards include recognition, status, altruism, honor, mastery, and purpose).  The classic triad of game elements used in gamification is called PBL (points, badges, and leaderboards). Most gamification programs apply these components because they are highly effective and they will likely help you achieve your business objectives.
  • 14. Points:  They are used to encourage people to do things in order to collect them.  The assumption is that people will buy more widgets or work harder in exchange for points.  This is a simple approach that occasionally works to motivate those people who like collecting things or who like competing against each other.  Explicit and frequent feedback is a key element in most good game design, and points provide feedback quickly and easily.  By understanding the nature of points, you can use them in ways that meet the objectives of your gamified system.
  • 15.  Badges:  These are a "chunkier" version of points. A badge is a visual representation of some achievement within the gamified process. ◦ Example: A Unit Tester Badge for writing 1,000 unit tests.  Badges have five motivational characteristics:  They give you a goal.  They provide guidance as to what is possible within the system.  They provide visual markers of what the users are capable of.  They are virtual status symbols and affirmations of the personal journey.  They are "tribal markers" in that users with the same badges will feel connected. 
  • 17.  Something completely NEW  Fits every context
  • 18.  We can expect good results with Agile.  Moreover, we will have an even better outcome with Agile gamification!  Both of them stimulate collaboration, communication, teamwork, creativity, improvement, and self-organization.  Agile gamification, if implemented correctly, will be lever to boost motivation, engagement, and behavioral change.