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It’s Raid Night! Gamification for Software Test Teams?

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*** Visit http://thinktesting.com for more articles, papers, and presentations. ***
People, processes and technology are the pillars of any company, but without the team nothing gets done. Motivate your people, keep them engaged, and successful projects can happen.

Team building exercises, public and private recognitions; these are not new and are expected – at least on an intermittent, perhaps annual basis. But, then the impact of these activities may be as (in)substantial as bringing in a trainer for a day to lecture from a podium on a given topic. With no practical incorporation into the fabric of the team, little value is added for the organization and its people.

So, what can be done in the workplace, on the project, every day…? Especially with limited budget, no time, and/or overworked, sceptical team members.

The goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviours and stimulate innovation by increasing the feelings of accomplishment, fun, and cooperation through a continuous feedback/rewards system.

In this presentation, we discussed and explored as a group how the ideas behind gamification could be applied to creating high performance software test teams.


*** Now you can delve deeper into these and other software testing and quality assurance topics simply by visiting http://thinktesting.com

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About Trevor Atkins
Trevor Atkins (@thinktesting) has been involved in literally 100’s of software projects over the last 20+ years and has a demonstrated track record of achieving rapid ROI for his customers and their business. Experienced in all project roles, Trevor’s primary focus has been on planning and execution of projects and improvement of the same, so as to optimize quality versus constraints for the business. http://ca.linkedin.com/in/trevoratkins

Published in: Software

It’s Raid Night! Gamification for Software Test Teams?

  1. 1. It's Raid Night! Gamification for Software Test Teams? Trevor Atkins thinktesting.com
  2. 2. 2 Gamification – Last Year’s Buzz?  Games  Single/Multi-player  Special abilities and power-ups  Level-up to get stronger for harder missions  Achievements and unlocking of special items/levels  Casual gaming: Keep players coming back via events, specials, social/community relationships  Industry  LinkedIn  Foursquare  Air Miles  Club cards  Get-one-free  Recognition/Trust: forums, TopCoder The goals of gamification are to achieve higher levels of engagement, change behaviours and stimulate innovation by increasing the feelings of accomplishment, fun, and cooperation through a continuous feedback/rewards system By design, games are goal-oriented, engaging, excitingChange your behaviour?
  3. 3. 3 People… Your most important asset Are they part of a high performance team …? Are they getting meaningful recognition …? What is their career path …? Can we change/improve behaviours …? How do you know you are engaged? Your team?
  4. 4. 4 Why Do We Keep Playing? What makes you like your job?  What do we like?  What do we endure?  What do we want to change? What is ‘success’ for you, your team, your company?  How is success recognized?  Cool opportunities, promotion, $$$’s? How does your team support the above? Your company?
  5. 5. 5 Hurry Up! It’s Raid Night! Tonight we are going to tackle the Release Candidate This is a Big Boss Let’s get the right skills in the Party We have to Grind through some Mobs And a couple of Boss Battles before the Big Boss Cooperate and support each other, no Rushes or Solo’ing Make sure you are Upgrading Call for Medic before its too late Let’s make it an Epic Win!
  6. 6. 6 High Performance Teams A high-performance team is a group of people: With specific roles and complementary talents and skills Aligned with and committed to a common purpose Who consistently show high levels of collaboration and innovation That produce superior results http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-performance_teams
  7. 7. 7 The Test Team – Who’s the Hero? In a team, the team is the Hero! Ask, what is your SPECIALIZATION? Roles give focus/purpose: The Tank: This person has the best defensive abilities and can take the most damage The DPSer: Damage per second classes, are all about doing as much damage as quickly as possible The Nuker: This person specializes in "nuking" his targets from afar with high-damage spells The Petmaster: This person calls upon the assistance of powerful companion creatures The Healer: This person makes sure that the rest of the party doesn't die http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnAdventurerIsYou/
  8. 8. 8 The Test Team – Who’s the Hero? In a team, the team is the Hero! Ask, what is your SPECIALIZATION? Roles give focus/purpose: The Tank: This person has the best defensive abilities and can take the most damage The DPSer: Damage per second classes, are all about doing as much damage as quickly as possible The Nuker: This person specializes in "nuking" his targets from afar with high-damage spells The Petmaster: This person calls upon the assistance of powerful companion creatures The Healer: This person makes sure that the rest of the party doesn't die http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnAdventurerIsYou/ Map these to the team Scripted Testing Exploratory Testing Performance Testing Automated Testing Test Lead
  9. 9. 9 Meaningful Recognition Challenge How to meaningfully recognize someone who: Tests 2x faster than anyone else, consistently and reliably! Designs the minimal set of test cases for maximum coverage? Uncovers the bugs in an area with no test case documentation? Is the technical go-to person for everyone else? Mentors the abilities needed in others to do the above? How to meaningfully recognize a team who: Overcomes (beyond the usual) shortages of time and resources? Adapts rapidly and successfully to significant changes? Ships a system with zero severe bugs found post-release?
  10. 10. 10 Fun or “Cheesy” Ideas? The level of fun (or “cheese”) should fit the team Achievement Badges/Trophies: • “Interrupt-proof!” – can’t distract this team member • “Flying Solo!” – successfully tested solo • “In Utter Darkness!” – successfully worked with no requirements • “Replay Master!” – for high quality bug reports • “Twisted Pair Testers!” – ‘evilest’ pair of testers, pair testing Share the fun (more importantly, the recognition) Give to other team members (eg: Developers, BA’s) • “Unbreakable!” – for high quality code • “Boss-Bug Basher!” – for toughest bug squashed • “Mass-Mob Masher!” – for most bugs squashed • “Neighbourly Neighbour!” – for most collaborative • “Unam-bug-uous!” – for high quality requirements Regardless of the level of “cheese”, recognition should mean something
  11. 11. Visibility and Staying Power Make recognition visible In person, in public Scrums and status meetings Wide-distribution emails (don’t forget anyone) All-hands meetings Make recognition last A team board or wall (leaderboard, progress bars, thank you’s) Laptops (stickers) and desks (toys, trophies) Email “sig’s” (badges, titles), user accounts (avatars) Make recognition make the team want to be a team 11
  12. 12. Career Pathing – Make It Real  An integrated system of recognition leads to real recognition that is meaningful for the individuals, for the team, and for the company  Integrate recognition to add up to a level-up  Levels to be clear, appropriate, measurable, trackable  Beware criteria like the "10,000-Hour Rule“  If you count hours, you’ll get hours  Instead, measure contribution, ability, and improvement against defined criteria 12
  13. 13. A Greater Goal? More fun at work is great Aiming people at the important tasks is smart But, badges are not the point… Software projects let human foibles shine through like nowhere else. Consider these cognitive biases:  Confidence Bias – we tend to overestimate our abilities  Hindsight Bias – we tend to forget that we screwed up last time  Sunk Cost Bias – we tend to not abandon losing causes  Anchoring Bias – we tend to estimate too close to an arbitrary 'anchor', such as an executive's budget  Confirmation Bias – we tend to seek only that information that supports our preconceptions  Bias Bias – we tend to believe we aren't as biased as everybody else Can we gamify meaningful recognition to overcome these unconscious behaviours? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias_mitigation 13
  14. 14. Further Reading  Keep your best people and keep them engaged, Cindy Ventrice  http://www.maketheirday.com  50%+ of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes by 2015  http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1629214  “Gaming can make a better world”  http://janemcgonigal.com/  Twelve Tips for Team Building  http://humanresources.about.com/od/involve...  Gamification Wikipedia  https://badgeville.com/wiki/  Badge Examples:  http://blog.aclairefication.com/2012/01/test...  http://www.scq.ubc.ca/sciencescouts/  http://mylegonetwork.wikia.com/wiki/Beta...  http://www.mapleprimes.com/badges/  http://www.nerdmeritbadges.com/ 14
  15. 15. Thinking Through Testing Thinking Through Testing For our latest updates:  Visit ThinkTesting.com  Follow @ThinkTesting Discussing "right-fit" approaches for software testing We are always sharing our ideas on crafting “right-fit” approaches to software testing. We are sure you will find something you can apply to your own projects and organizational environment. 15

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