Rethinking agile experience and how to game it

21 Mar, 2011
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When hiring a new member to your team, how do you find out if she is really as good as she says? Currently the interview is a standard practice and an assessment is gaining popularity. Thanks to social networks like other intangible factors previously unused come into play: respect and reputation. These can now seriously effect your career (both positive and negative). Let’s take the next step: learn from games and introduce achievements.

Learning games

The book I’ve heard people talk about a lot recently is the book “Reality is broken” by Jane McGonical and it talks about how we can use gaming to enhance our learning and collaboration. Steve ‘Doc’ List posted three blogposts (learning and games, quests and power ups and a compelling vision) musing on how we can apply this to our agile world.

The basic idea is to explore why and how games keep people motivated and engaged over long periods of time achieving certain goals. Games like “world of warcraft” and “Civilization” keep participants motivated and engaged by setting targets that are achievable. These targets are challenging enough to feel a sense of achievement when completed while still not too difficult or too dull to disengage the participant.

Wouldn’t it be great if our profession could achieve the same engagement for our craft? To always have just one more little thing to find out just before you quit only to find out yet another 2 hours have passed. Tom Chatfield points us in a possible direction.

7 Ways to Reward the Brain

Last year Tom Chatfield held a presentation at TEDGlobal. In that talk he explains what games can teach us engagement and learning. He also transcribed this presentation in his blogpost “7 Ways Games Reward our Brains“.

These seven ways are:

  1. Using an experience system
  2. Multiple long and short-term aims
  3. Reward for effort
  4. Rapid, clear, frequent feedback
  5. Uncertainty
  6. Windows of enhanced attention
  7. Other people

Although not in this list, Tom also states games (or anything else that wants to engage people) need to be fun first (most of the time).

Level of Experience

The agile community can try and set up an experience system like that used in games such as “world of warcraft” and similar games. Participants can build up experience points based on what they do. Along the way they get to collect achievements of what we collectively think are worthy, interesting or just fun goals.

We need to find and use new ways of learning and recognition. The old learning system of lecture, exercise and exams is outdated and we should know better by now. We only have to start using what we already know. How do you think we can incorporate this knowledge into our agile world?

It’s your move now!


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