Increasing Agility with Gamification
Agile with gamification is all about rolling the dice to learn how to roll with the punches.
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Gamification is an approach where principles and practices of gaming are used in a non-game context. In this article, I’ll explore how you can increase agility with gamification.
In my work, I apply gamification in a business and team working context. I use practices from gaming to support professionals that are working together increasing their agility to deliver more business value. Adding game aspects to their daily work enables change and fosters continuous sustainable improvement.
Gamification is a great way to engage and involve people. Which is an essential ingredient if you want your organization to adapt to change and improve. Gamification strengthens agility and can give a boost to your Agile transformation.
Games vs. Gamification
Both games and gamification have value, but when it comes to self-assessments and organizational change I prefer to use gamification as it gets people involved to create their own Agile journey.
There are significant differences between games and gamification:
- Games are often used to learn new things and to practice, where gamification intents to inspire and encourage behavior change.
- Gamification focuses on the intended outcome and the results, where games give attention to the rules and the process.
When it comes to enabling change and improvement, I use gamification because it matches with the Agile mindset to encourage self-organization, experimentation, and continuous improvement.
Gamification in Agile Self-Assessments
The Agile Self-Assessment Game is a gamified approach for reflection. It’s a behavioral game that helps to initiate and reinforce positive behavioral change in organizations.
Where often games have winners and losers, I prefer to play games in such a way that people don’t feel like they have “lost the game.” For me, winning is not the main objective to have people play games; it’s sharing and initiating change that I aim for.
The Agile Self-Assessment Game is not a game in the strict sense of the word where people play “by the rules” and where there are winners and losers. Actually, with most of playing suggestions included in this game, everyone wins the game if they share and collaborate. There are no losers.
I decided to use the term “game” for the assessment approach described in my book, The Agile Self-Assessment Game, although I’m applying gamification in it and using it as a gamification tool in my workshops and when coaching organizations. I’m expecting that by calling it a game it will appeal to people and that it becomes something they are willing to try out.
The benefits that I have seen from using gamification in Agile self-assessments are:
- People like to play games, and it brings out their natural desires to socialize, self-express, and collaborate
- Gamification provides a different perspective and culture, which leads to new valuable insights.
- Playing games with teams stimulates collaboration and helps to build relationships.
- Gamification is a way to visualize what’s happening which helps people to align and decide.
- You can create an environment with gamification where people feel safe to speak up and be open and honest.
Assessing Your Agility
Agile methods and frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe or LeSS, don’t tell you how to increase your agility. They provide practices, roles, and activities, and a structure which fits them together. But they are not recipes that can help you to truly become Agile.
If you want to truly become more Agile and Lean, my recommendation is to frequently ask yourself the following 3 questions to travel your Agile journey:
How Agile and Lean are you already?
Where do you want to become more Agile and Lean? And why?
What can you do to make the next step?
An Agile self-assessments is a practice that teams and organizations use to explore how well they are doing and come up with ideas to improve their agility. They can be used to do startup check or readiness/maturity assessments to determine how Agile or lean you are and to decide what the next steps in your Agile journey will be.
There are many different ways of doing Agile self-assessments. There is a list of tools and checklists for Agile self-assessments that I maintain, at the time of writing more than 70 different Agile self-assessments are listed.
Teams can use Agile self-assessments to decide what practices they want to use and how to apply them in a way that helps them to do their work efficiently and effectively.
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