Ten Days on the Gamification Road
Gamification has been live on the new SCN platform for more than a week; I participated during the beta testing so saw no need to rush in and try things the first few days, as some would do. After about a week, I tried a few of the new options and found, well, good news and bad news.
Just last month, I attended a Gartner conference, then wrote here about one of their analyst’s views on gamification, including what it might mean to SAP and SCN. At that time, the SCN project had been going on for a while (years it seemed), and was being tested. I didn’t test much until the latter stages of the beta due to my own schedules. I had seen the mechanics and SCN screen updates. What was missing was which bugs would make it to production, which new bugs would be seen be the massive scaling up of a live system, and what user behaviors would change. While the last is intended to be the positive reason for adding gaming features, there’s also the negative sides of users going overboard or getting addicted (see, e,g. FB games like Farmville).
Gartner gave one common example of gaming as the “employee of the month” parking lot, meaning a simple recognition costs almost nothing, and could spur friendly competition to complete employee goals. Designing those goals is an art, so people “buy-in”, but also takes redesign time once the initial bloom wears off. SCN has gone through a few evolutionary stages in encouraging participation (I know; I have the T shirts to prove it).
I see this effort a bit like a scavenger hunt, where users are given lists of things to go get. For days, SCN has been seeing likes and ratings, as well as blog and document creation, spike up. I don’t have the numbers to show how significant this is, but here I am writing a blog to get one of my next 4 completed and pass my own next mission. Are there empty posts or updates? Yes, I think so. Will it kill SCN quality? A little, yes.
After letting the dust settle, I compared the missions in the live SCN system to those in the beta, which were truncated to allow better process testing. I got a instant badge for logging in, and then what?
0 points here. It says “fill our your user profile and add an avatar”. Hmm. mine is already filled out, and I have an avatar. I guess the odometer went back to zero for some tasks.
The “Close” button only appeared on the iPad screen after I located the hidden “flip this card over” button. I did not spot that option during testing, nor did I notice it in training. My bad.
The gear button (found when you hover correctly):
Hmm. As before gamification, this screen says “You cannot upload any more avatars”. How would I complete a task I’ve already completed?
I opened a ticket, only to find I needed to delete one avatar, and load another. Not what the directions say, exactly, but like many computer programming exercises, it is logical.
The second task in the same thread was easy enough, once I flipped the card over. Links provided went right to the pages needed. It’s too bad there was not a comprehension test, since clicking on a page is not the same as “reading it”. As a heads up (free advice), here are the links in the above image for your review:
With those first steps out of the way, getting the next two done was easy enough. Rewarding? Um, sure? What did I accomplish?
After this, I keep being told my next mission is to earn “I was right” by having an answer marked correct. That might be a while. I’m not a high level contributor to the forums (though I spend way too much time removing chaff), and I’m not interested in “I was right” compared to “I said what I was thinking”, or “Here’s a problem and here’s how I fixed it”.
The other next “missions” I see are creating more documents. I did one just to see how the reward mechanics work. But there are many problems with setting quantity goals here – I’ll do 4 blogs a month regularly, but I only create wiki pages when necessary. If lots of users decide to spontaneously create documents, where is the organization, the hierarchy, the taxonomy? My sense is SCN will end up with lots of useless material due to these challenges, which makes search harder and time spent getting good answers much longer.
I’ll eventually be marked right somewhere, I assume. And in a year, maybe I’ll write some nice documents. Has my behavior changed due to these games? A little. Has my attitude toward SCN changed? Even less so. This is an interesting wrinkle, but I’ll keep doing what I do anyway.
Left out one iPad image in the original post.
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David Parrish commented directly:
|Hi Jim. I enjoyed your gamification blog. Thank you. Any clue why I can’t get the third “ready set go” badge to light up? I’ve followed folks, I’ve commented on blogs, and I’ve posted a status update. No badge, no 5 points. Not sure why I care, but I want that badge! Any suggestions?|
Forward and reverse sides of his current “mission”:
Click on the gear icon to flip the image over. The missing requirements:
- Follow 3 other members (2/3 complete).
- Like a good blog post.