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A brief look at resource determination for gamified projects

A Series In Design & Game-Based Learning Tools And Toolkits

Well after a short hiatus for a few weeks (even gamification experts and writers need a break and a vacation every now and then) we’re back with the next piece in our series on tools and toolkits for designing and delivering game-based experiences and learning.

For this one, I would like to keep it fairly brief as it is a smaller topic and is more around getting you thinking about some of the previous pieces I’ve done in this series, specifically the Company Exploration article. It was briefly mentioned in there concerning team structures, but when you are analysing your organisation and you team structures you will also need to see what resources are available to you if you wish to develop and implement a gamified project.

As with everything in this series, these are all parts of a greater whole and knowing each element will help you make better decisions and deliver better products or services. So, with that, I’ll quickly take you through a few immediate applicable steps to get you going in finding out if have the resources to start a gamified initiative.

What we’ll be looking at is:

  • Checking your resources – asking the right questions to get started
  • Checking your scope – determining how feasible the project is
  • Understanding your resources – what has been before and what is possible now

Once you’ve gone through, you will hopefully have a good starting point in your ongoing development of a gamified initiative within your organisation.

Checking your resources

As with any project, be it gamified or not, you will need to determine what resources are available to you. Just like in a game, you need resources to build whatever it is that you are tasked with to win the game.

Knowing, discovering and assessing what resources you have before you start with your project is the best way to know whether your project is even possible and if so to what extent it can be developed.

Depending on your organisation, there are a great many resources that may be at your disposal, for the most part, these six are the most common to everyone in any organisation:

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Personnel
  • Experience
  • Tools
  • And Support

Finding out how much is available of each of these six resources will be vital to the success of your gamified project. As you get started with your project, you will need to ask the following questions, though you should ask and answer these before you take on some of the steps outlined in previous articles in this series.

  • Is there a (financial) budget for a gamification initiative?
  • How much time is available can be budgeted for this project?
  • Are there specialist within the organisation that have skills; such as programmers, designers, UX testers, etc.?
  • Does anyone (else) have any experience with gamification?
  • What is the wider attitude to this type of initiative? Is it supportive, apprehensive or hostile?
  • What is the wider expectation of the outcomes of the initiative? Consider expectations for results and deliverable – are people expecting an app when you deliver a physical card-based experience?

You should find an answer to each of these questions, and depending on what the answers are, you will be able to judge whether a gamified initiative viable or not within your organisation. The final two questions are a repeat of the process from the stakeholders‘ piece. I’ve added them in here again since your stakeholders are also resources or can sometimes be those that can aid you in gaining resources.

The answers to each of the questions will be unique to your organisation and therefore makes it implausible for me to offer any likely outcomes to what they could be. But to help you in deciding the feasibility of your project about the answers you received is why we have the next part.

Checking your scope

Once you have your responses to the six or more questions, you will have filled-in some of the blanks on whether you would be able to get a gamification initiative off the ground.

At this point go back to your initial idea for the project and cross-reference what is available to you and what you can practically achieve with what you know that you have now. Remember try not to overshoot what is possible with you have, especially if this is your first project. But don’t read that as not trying to push the limits either. Just be aware that if it fails due to a well a thought out plan is something that you can learn from. But burning resources on an idea that was unbelievable from the start without a decent plan will not win you any friends or favours (or let you keep your job).

Check your resources and be honest with yourself and your team on what it is you wish to achieve with what is available to you. Still try to aim for the start, and if you manage to shoot that far with the limitation that you have, then you will truly have achieved something amazing.

In some of the previous and various of the future articles in this series, we’ll help you in creating a strong gamified project plan, so that you can squeeze the fullest out of your limited resources.

Understanding your resources

As you determine what resource are available to you, you will likely achieve two outcomes. One is that you will see what is available to you currently, and two, you will hopefully see what has come before you.

You may find that there have been other projects that were started that could have something to add to yours. Or other that were started and never finished that have some value to you, or some that failed, which can offer you some learning in what not do in your project.

Though do not expect this to always be the case, hopefully, your organisation has an open-mindset when it comes to unfinished or failed projects and hasn’t wiped them all away, cleaning the slate each time and forgetting about what has come before. If that’s the case then there might be greater issues in the general organisational culture that you will need to overcome before a gamified initiative can be started. If previous failures are forgotten then there is likely a culture that doesn’t foster learning or growth and see failures as a negative that is best never spoken of.

If you can view previous projects from within your organisation then this will also help to inform you as to what is possible. This at the very least is initial learning that you can receive from failed predecessors if nothing else.

Final Thoughts

This was a somewhat shorter piece than previous in the toolkit series, but its intent is more to get you started asking questions and thinking about the possibilities and plausibilities of your gamification project.

Use the questions outlines in the previous sections as a starting point and add your own, each organisation is different and you may know or discover other questions that you need answers to before you start developing your project. I would also recommend reviewing some of the previous pieces in this series to help with formulating a project plan.

We will be exploring the process of creating a gamified initiative further in future pieces, specifically in the coming weeks I’ll be looking at how to do product/service research, competitor analysis, brand perception and how to use the various analysis frameworks to determine your position within the market.

And beyond that, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of gamification, the fun parts of seeing what mechanics and elements you should use or want to use to make your project a resounding success.

I hope that this piece has given you some food for thought and helped improve your own methods or at least offered a different viewpoint to consider.

Do check out the other posts on æStranger.com, and do leave a comment or contact us if you have some ideas of your own that you wish to discuss or if you would like to see other topics discussed.

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