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Even a modest application gamification can have a measureable effect, the goal of this post is to share a small gamification implementation, its components and show the results.
Each year, HP has a global technical conference for its leading technologists. The only way to attend the conference is for individuals to submit a paper and have it reviewed and accepted into the conference by a committee of peers. About 1900 papers were submitted in 2013. Each paper is reviewed by at least 4 individuals so that a diverse perspective of its innovation can be developed. There were about 300 reviewers involved in performing these 7600 or so reviews. The process takes place over approximately a 5 week timeframe, in addition to the reviewer’s normal workload.
In recent years, there have been a negative trends in reviewer behavior directly impacting review quality. Since the only feedback provided to the authors about their paper (and how to make their work better in the future) came from the reviewers, addressing these trends was important to increasing the value of the process for the authors as well as the corporation as a whole. I led this effort and defined a gamification approach to meet some well-defined goals.
My view is that the first step for any gamification effort is to: Understand the goals. What change is needed and why. The two goals defined were:
When the goCatch team saw the first time a taxi-driver fist-pumping, they knew they were on to something. The reason for the happy taxi-driver was not a great tip or a good fare that he had gotten, but the level up on the goCatch-taxi-app that has been soaring in popularity in Australia.
When Andrew Campbell co-founded the peer-to-peer taxi booking app in Sydney with Ned Moorfield, they didn't plan to gamify the apps. The drivers downloaded their app to see customers waiting for taxis, the customers can see on a map taxis in their vicinity and order them and tell the destination. But drivers started cherry-picking only the long and more valuable fares, and ignored the short ones. The goCatch-team had to come up with an incentive-system in order to encourage the drivers to pick the short fares as well.
And the solution was: points and badges. Yes, I know, it sounds stupid and we are always pointing out not to just simply "pointsificate" or "badgify" and app, but the goCatch-team had to do something. And this fast. For each fare the drivers accepted, they earned points, with the short fares worth relatively more points than the large ones. The points translated into badges reflecting level-ups, which then gave higher ranked drivers priority access to the more valuable fares. Drivers accepting shorter fares can level-up faster.
In today's IT Management software, processing IT incidents or events can be a repetitive task. It is also highly optimized, which makes it a boring task for operators. Repetitive and unexciting means these tasks can lead to demotivated staff and a high fluctuation of operators.
On the other side, administrators who have to optimize IT management often struggle with the overwhelming complexity of the IT environment and with inadequate management tools. The downside of a powerful, but huge, feature set of some toolsets is that they often require significant effort to master their features too. It is even possible that advanced features which could improve or simplify the management of the IT environment are not used, because administrators are not aware of them.
This is in conflict with some of the goals of a CTO or Director of Operations. They usually have these goals:
How can an Operations team achieve these goals while keeping staff motivated? How can they increase the knowledge of the staff?
Gamification platform Work&Play recently launched an interesting gamification design for the largets Russian social media site Odnoklassniki. Over five days developers and testers got involved in Bugathlon, an internal competition on fixing software bugs and learning skills.
Fixing bugs is a boring task, especially when it comes to bugs with low-priority. Those often were not corrected in time because of their perceived insignificance. But, first things first!
It all started a few months before when we, Work&Play, and Odnoklassniki ideated what game design elements to use and how the competition should be. The idea was to package all accumulated low-priority bugs in groups and do a five day Bugathlon to fix them all. For each bug a gamification master set the skills value that the developer need to fix the bug. The contest was scheduled to take place once every few months. And the winner is not the one who fixed the most bugs, but the one who improved the most in his or her skills. With that the whole game was integrated with the Ticket bugtracker in Jira. The original idea looked fun and we created a plugin for Jira. Odnoklassniki collected bugs for the first Bugathlon, and affixed to them a value of skills improved.
The result was this screen:
In the middle is the playing field, it displays the available bugs. Odnoklassniki added stories and pictures of users to them. The idea was to give the error a human face and turn it away from being soulless support tickets. The original idea by Odnoklassniki was even to add significance and drama to each ticket. Odnoklassniki came up with stories such as this: "This girl accidentallyuploaded a wrong picture in her profile, but she cannot remove it. If she cannot change the picture in the next ten minutes, her boyfriend will be upset. Their relationship is in danger!" Because of the high effort to add such stories to each bug, this idea was not implemented.
You can't be timelier than this: today I last minute finished two mandatory corporate compliance training sessions that I had dreaded and postponed and moved back for weeks. One was about Corporate Security, the other on my understanding of the Business Code of Conduct. Thankfully, I don't have to go through another Sexual Harassment training (BTW: shouldn't it be called "Anti-Sexual Harassment training"?) anymore.
But here is the point: all these things are necessary and make sense, and my brain says: "Mario: it is important to know about this and comply." Right! But my gut says: "How boring! Isn't there anything more fun that I can do right now?"