What is gamification?
Gamification is the use of game thinking and mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and drive desired behaviors. 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 like games (by adding a narrative, for example).
Agile is about change. Changing the way we work, the way we build, the way we negotiate. It is about changing the way we change and being prepared for it. Agile gives us many opportunities to improve and challenges to overcome. If you are an agilist, you may be facing some difficulties, including:
- Adoption of Scrum (for new teams);
- Teamwork and communication (you want more);
- Meeting attendance (could be better);
- Agile technical practices (Testing, Refactor, Emergent Design, TDD, BDD, etc);
- Boosting continuous improvement;
- Influencing self-organization.
Let’s be honest, changing behaviors is not easy. If Josh has spent years programming without writing a single test, we cannot expect that he will start right away. It’s very likely that he will quit this practice as soon as something bad happens. Gamification perfectly fits this scenario.
Have you considered that Agile coaching and mentoring is about engaging and driving desired behaviors? How about using Gamification as a way to improve these skills? It is possible, and we have a new term for describing this approach:
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.
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.