Gamify That Project Plan!

GAMIFYGamification, or the integration of game mechanics into non-game experiences, is having a moment in health care. Less public, but equally intriguing, is its increasingly frequent use in corporate settings to promote improved performance and productivity.

Microsoft is one company known for bringing gamification elements into its business processes with positive results. Some examples include gamifying their strategic planning process as well as their quality assurance (QA) process. By offering leaderboards and scores for QA reviews to make it more like a competitive game, Microsoft was able to motivate more and higher-quality testing from its workers. Gamification has worked so well for Microsoft that their research team publicly evangelizes the approach and they now offer their own enterprise gamification solution.

So how do you use gamification in a way that is effective without being over-the-top or patronizing? The Brazen Careerist offers ten guidelines for bringing game mechanics into the workplace. Interestingly, several of them focus on fostering social connections between employees just as much as on encouraging task progress. This approach is shared by BetterWorks, an enterprise software solution that also uses gamification elements and has been profiled in the New York Times.

In that article, Karen Levy, a researcher studying performance tracking, comments that gamification can be effective because it distracts people from the fact that they’re working:

If you distract workers with the idea that they are playing the game, they don’t challenge the rules of the game.

What are some examples of effective gamification in the workplace you’ve seen or heard about?