Software Process and Measurement Cast (www.spamcast.net_

Software Process and Measurement Cast (www.spamcast.net)

Gamificaiton increases process adoption rates by increasing engagement and generating community. However, the concept of gamification can feel theoretical without an example, even though many of us use game mechanics all the time, such as Foursquare, Stack Overflow or Ebay. Let’s use the plan I working on to gameify the Software Process and Measurement Cast community as a working example to consider how we would use game mechanics to drive engagement.

Software Process and Measurement Gamification

(Working Draft)

Goal:
Generate increased involvement by the SPaMCAST’s audience with the Cast.  Involvement includes posting comments, providing conference reports, submitting guest columns, re-occurring columns and sponsorships.

Community/Players:

  • Audience: Today the majority of the audience is non-participative, but there is a high number of multiple downloads per visit suggesting that the majority of the audience members are Explorers and perhaps Achievers (from Bartle’s Test).  These assumptions need to be tested.
  • Motivation: Feedback from similar podcasters indicates that giveaways for interaction can attract spikes in listenership.  Rewards will include review copies of books, copies of my book and badges.  Leaderboards will be used to track progress.
  • Culture: Phase 1:  IT culture tends to be a meritocracy that is shaded toward introspection, therefore some mechanism to track reputation would be valuable. Reputation in this case is an assessment of the quality of the responses that player. Early on, the leaderboard might be the only option until reputation tracking can be coded.  Phase 2: Execute an audience survey to generate an audience-culture profile.

Game Mechanics:

  • Levels                                   Base Level (rolling six months)

Initiate                                    4 Comments

Participant                          10 Comments

Thought Leader                 50 Comments

Contributor                           2 Guest posts (essays, book or conference review
must be approved by editor)

Columnist                              6 guest posts (essays, book or conference review –
must be approved by editor)

Levels currently assume that we do not have mechanism to track reputation.Rewards to the leader in each category will be made twice annually on a special podcast using review copies of authors books and sponsored swag.

  • Challenges: The challenges are presented at the boundaries between levels by presenting an extra step that the player must take in order to pass to the next level.
    • To pass from Initiate to Participant:  Provide interview question(s) for upcoming interview,
    • To pass from Participant to Thought Leader:  Participate in a recorded group discussion (Special Show).
    • To pass from Contributor to Columnist: Commitment to create a monthly column and nomination by three listeners (or quarterly poll)
  • Leaderboards: Leaderboards will be used to track all categories separately.  Leaderboard will be posted on a special page on the website.  Postings will be updated on a weekly basis and the top five people in each category will get a call out on each essay show.
  • Badges: Virtual merit badges will be provide for Initiates. Physical and Virtual merit badges will provided for all other levels.

Initial Measurement Goals:

  1. Comments:                                        50% increase in six month rolling average
  2. Content Contributions:                 25% increase in six month rolling average
  3. Listenership:                                      20% increase in average monthly download numbers
  4. Stickiness:                                           Under discussion

The gamification plan for the Software Process and Measurement Cast is a work in progress.  The intent of sharing the plan was to show that using game mechanics does not have to be overly complicated, but it does require planning.

We use gamification to promote engagement and to encourage players to continue using the process (i.e. stickiness).  To understand if it is worth the effort we are expending to plan, execute and maintain the game mechanics, we need to measure the results.  In the example above listenership and engagement (comments and contributions) are relevant measures, however measuring time on the site would not be relevant. One very simple measure of feedback is if no one is interested in the game. Then there is a mismatch between the players’ culture and the game they are being asked to play.

PS – Ideas, thoughts and comments are welcome.  The plan is actively being fleshed out by the SPaMCAST team.

Daily Process Thoughts:  Gamification Theme

The What and Why of Gamification

How Can We Implement Gamification?

Gamification: Game Mechanics

What Does Gamification Look Like?

Gamification and the Bartle Test