GPM and the Synergy of Three

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Often, the name of a concept does not give away everything it is about. The same applies to Gameful Project Management (GPM). As gamification itself, it is much more than just adding “points, badges, and leaderboards”* to your operational processes and reporting systems.

Self-gamification as a source

While developing this content for project managers, I will lean on the approach I call Self-Gamification, which is an art of turning any- and everything in our lives into games.

The Self-Gamification approach embraces three well-established and known techniques and methods, which can also be described as philosophies.

These are:

  • anthropology,
  • kaizen, and
  • gamification.

Gameful Project Management also takes roots in these three approaches.

Three approaches embraced by self-gamification and gameful project management

Anthropology, as it stands today, is about the non-judgmental study of cultures. And the same can be done on a personal level. You can study yourself as a culture of one person; you.**

Kaizen embraces breaking anything into small, effortlessly manageable bits. That can be a challenge, the path to reach our goals, or even rewards we give ourselves or others for making those small steps.***

Gamification is about bringing the best of what games give us into real-life situations. It is about bringing the fun factor in what we do besides games. It is also about willing to see what we do in our “regular” lives as games, any project, and any activity.****

Tapping into the synergy of three

Later in this blog series, I will share more on each of these approaches plus refer to the work by those from whom I learned about them.

I will also address the reasons, why I think these three approaches work so well together.

But here is a little summary. Together, all three approaches, methods, and philosophies create a fantastic synergy. It has its foundation in awareness, progresses one brick at a time, to finally built a beautiful and fun house that we would enjoy to be in. It is about being both the designers and the players of what we do, regardless whether we think we want, need or have to do that.


* Yu-kai Chou, Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards

** “Practice your anthropological approach. Pretend you’re a scientist observing a culture of one — yourself. The trick is not to judge what you see, but to neutrally observe how you function, including your thought processes. Awareness and kindness are key.” — Ariel and Shya Kane, How to Have A Match Made in Heaven: A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating, and Marriage

*** Robert Maurer, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, and The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time

**** A great example of resources on how to facilitate and achieve gameful thinking is Game Thinking: Innovate Smarter & Drive Deep Engagement with Design Techniques from Hit Games, by Amy Jo Kim

If you want to learn more

If you would like to learn more about Gameful Project Management, then I invite you to follow the articles in this series and for that to subscribe to the Optimist Writer’s Blog. You can sign up here.

If you would like to work closely with me, and optimize your project management practices gamefully (= in a light, creative, and inexpensive way), then check out my coaching and consulting services on Gameful Project Management as well as Gameful Writing here.

If you want to learn more about the approach that lies at the base of the gameful project management — self-gamification — then check out my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

For the list of all resources, I offer on self-gamification go to this link.