Tag Archives: #anthropology

Gameful Project Management: Qualifications

Reading time: 5 minutes

When we teach something, we often contemplate and report about our experience with the subject at hand.

I might be the first person to use and define the terms “Gameful Project Management,” “Self-Gamification,” and “Self-Motivational Games.” But this is not the sole reason why I think I am qualified to talk about turning project management (or anything else) into fun games.
Let’s consider my experience with game-related topics and project management, one after another.

Why am I qualified to teach turning anything into games?

My “serious” interest to games, game design, and gamification started only a couple of years ago.

The first time I turned anything consciously into a game was only five years ago. It was before I heard the word gamification, and before I started reading books on game design and game thinking.

I am a non-gamer without any qualifications in software, game, or gamification design, nor in psychology. I may well be the first person of this kind to explore gamification and apply it to herself. And to teach it.
My lack of a game-design background is, in fact, an advantage. Because if I can turn my life into fun games without having studied gamification or psychology in detail, then so can you.

I believe my primary qualification for explaining and teaching Gameful Project Management and Self-Gamification is the enormous fun I have had turning my life into games; experiencing happiness multiple times every day while doing so; and never wishing to stop designing and playing my self-motivational and uplifting games.

My experience with project and team management

My first experience with project and team management goes much further back to my school years in the former Moldovan Soviet Socialistic Republic. It started with managing sewing projects for girls younger than me and help them sew various things for their dolls. I organized our meetings, made sure I had some extra material and tools with me. And I taught them how to do it. My skills were quite elementary, so I often needed a “consultant.” And my mom took this role happily on.

I was also the head of Oktiabrionok, Young Pioneer, and Komsomol* groups first in my class, and later in the whole school, I was attending.
I don’t remember leading any teams during my university years, but there were many projects to take care of both at home (helping my mom and my sister, after my father’s death) and for my studies.
After several years of work as a researcher at the Institute of High-Frequency Electronics of the Technical University Darmstadt, I was appointed as the coordinator of our laboratory and its clean-room. Since then I lead small and large teams, both within a single organization and a global working group of an international community (the latter for almost twelve years).

The projects I managed or helped managing varied from small, through medium, to large, both for the private sector, but also for such organizations as ESA, NATO, and German and other Defence organizations.

Today I manage various projects at home and for my business. The teams for these projects involve my family and entrepreneurs who help me with my book and online course projects and also help me with navigating marketing and publicity world.

Even if I had such a colorful and long-range of experience with project and team management, I am still an unofficial project manager**, meaning that I never had formal training in project management.
The closest (but still quite remote) that came to such a formal training was summer came with training courses for schoolchildren who volunteered as heads of their Komsomol* school committees in Moldova during Soviet times. It was fun to recall those times. I must say that among others, I learned many soft-skills there that still make sense and are also taught today all over the world.

Apart from that, I participated in training courses on disciplines and tools that had to do with the project and organizational management. Examples are SAP*** and S1000D****.

I also taught numerous S1000D training courses, including the topic of Business Rules, which are the knowledge base of all decisions (many hundreds of them) on how to implement this international specification for technical publications.

I also lead various teams as well as the Business Rules Working Group (BRWG) of the S1000D community (the latter, as mentioned for almost twelve years). I am still a member of this group. BRWG is responsible for developing concepts for S1000D implementation and S1000D project management.

Required by the art of my work, I also studied various technical standards, such as ISO***** necessary for establishing quality assurance processes in a semiconductor device production environment, as well as the development of software documentation.
Now, as I write a book that deals with project management, I reach out to my currently favorite teachers — books (and sometimes articles) — to learn more about this multi-dimensional discipline.

I did read books on project and time management in the past. But now, after having been turning my life into fun games for several years, I have become aware of something in the most of the resources on project management, of which I haven’t been aware before.

I will share with you what that is in the following blog post (“Gameful Project Management and Its Focus on Success instead of Failures”).

References:

*

** “If most of your work time is spent on projects and you’ve never been exposed to formal project management training, you are an unofficial project manager.” — Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, James Wood, Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager

*** SAP: www.sap.com

**** S1000D: www.s1000d.org

***** ISO: www.iso.org

If you want to learn more:

Sign up to Optimist Writer’s Blog to follow the Gameful Project Management series.

Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.

Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

Go to this link for the list of all resources I offer on Self-Gamification.

GPM: Achieving Improvement Without Forcing It

Reading time: 4 minutes
Abbreviation: GPM = Gameful Project Management

Recently when I shared my project on Gameful Project Management and its non-judgmental core, the person I told about it asked me what I thought about change management. After a few minutes more into the conversation, I understood that with “change,” she meant improvement. So what she asked about was how to adjust project management to achieve improvement.

Why is the word “improvement” tricky?

I hear the question about improving what we do or even ourselves a lot recently. Even kaizen, which is one of the techniques I practice every day, and which is part of the Self-Gamification approach, translates as “continuous improvement.”

However, this expression can be understood as if improvement was a goal of kaizen. But I experienced that it should not be a goal. If it is a goal, then I label the way I am now — or the status of my projects — as not good enough. However, labeling something as bad or not good enough is not only stressful and confusing, but it is also counter-productive and not meaningful.

What is the best way to improve something?

As it turns out, the best way we can improve anything, including ourselves, is to stop trying to improve it.

That is what Gameful Project Management can do for you. It enables you to achieve improvement without forcing it.

When you approach each of your projects, as well as the project management project itself, as if they were fun games — of which you are both the designer and the player — then each moment of your work (and your life) will feel like the best you had so far. And then, the next will be even better. Improvement will become an effortlessly reachable by-product; not a forced and hardly reachable goal.

The anthropological foundation of the Gameful Project Management

As we discussed in the previous blog post, Gameful Project Management is based on Self-Gamification approach, which relies on the synergy of anthropology (= awareness and non-judgmental seeing), kaizen (= breaking everything into small, digestible, and doable bits), and gamification (= bringing fun game elements into what we do).
And the foundation of it all is anthropological, that is non-judgmental seeing of any of your projects and the status in them.

Today, anthropologists apply an approach they call “cultural relativism, an approach that rejects making moral judgments about different kinds of humanity and simply examines each relative to its own unique origins and history.”*

This approach is one of the foundations of anthropology, and it “is the comparative approach, in which cultures aren’t compared to one another in terms of which is better than the other but rather in an attempt to understand how and why they differ as well as share commonalities.”*

What to look at while applying anthropology

So, next time you think of improving something, or even improving yourself, stop, and look at everything in front of you non-judgmentally. Look at and become aware of:

  • Where you are in the project and in general.
  • What your circumstances and those in the project(s) are.
  • What you have at your disposal right now at this moment.
  • Where you want to go with your project(s) — that is what are your goals in the project.
  • Where the customers of your project want you to head with it.
  • Where the step you just took directs you — it might be away from the set goals, but don’t judge what you see.
  • What the various ways are, with which your brain judges the situation you and your projects are in, and also how you judge judgment and complaint, both yours and that from others.
  • What is the best next step to take toward your goal — criteria for such a step are: it should be small and effortless to take, and it should be fun.
  • How you can appreciate each small step you take. Remember, it is not about keeping a strict account (Note: a topic for another post). It is about appreciation, awareness, and having fun.
  • Other that might have come to your mind as you read this list.

Do all that non-judgmentally, in other words, without labeling something as good or bad and without dramatizing it, but simply iterating from one step to another, discovering the fun in every step of the way, as you usually do in games.

Yes, this is also possible in project management.

References:

* Cameron M. Smith, Anthropology For Dummies

If you want to learn more:

Sign up to Optimist Writer’s Blog to follow the Gameful Project Management series.

Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.

Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.

Go to this link for the list of all resources I offer on Self-Gamification.

Get your free Self-Gamification e-book copy today

Hi,

I hope you enjoy turning your projects and activities, and your life, into fun games.

I have some news that I would like to share with you here.

From today and until coming Sunday, I am running a free e-book promotion on Amazon for my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula: How to Turn Your Life into Fun Games.

You can get the e-book for free starting with today (immediately, Sep. 6, 2019) and until including coming Sunday (Sep. 8, 2019).

Here is the link to the Kindle page of this book on Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SV46VPP

If you are purchasing on another Amazon site, then search for “Self-Gamification,” and you should find it easily.

Please remember that this free e-book promotion finishes in only two days. Thus, I invite you to get your free e-book copy now.

By the way, if you don’t have the free Kindle app yet, here is the link to it for your convenience: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=free+kindle+app

I wish you a beautiful and gameful day and weekend,

Victoria

P.S. Those who purchase one of my products on Self-Gamification can join the Self-Gamification Club (a secret group on Facebook). If you get the e-book through this free promotion, then you are not eligible to join the group. If you want to join the Sel-Gamification Club, then you can buy one of the other products I offer on Self-Gamification. You will find more information on that both in Self-Gamification Happiness Formula and on the page introducing Self-Gamification Community here.

Support Yourself With Self-Gamification

Sometimes we need help and a pat on the shoulder in the middle of the day, when everyone else is busy with their days. How can we then help ourselves to motivate and uplift our states of mind?

With self-gamification, of course! By consciously turning our lives into games, we become resourceful and brighten our days. Gameful life also reduces the fear of reaching out for help.

Here is a quck reminder what self-gamification (=turning life into games) embraces:

  • non-judgmental, anthropological study of ourselves, the world around us, and our thought processes while we interact with ourselves and the world,
  • breaking everything (challenges, wishes, dreams, moments, tasks, projects, you name it) into small, effortlessly digestible and doable bits,
  • the creativity of game designers eager to create the most fun game for their favorite players (themselves).

 

P.S. If you would like to learn more about self-gamification then click here or on the image below:

P.P.S. If you already acquired this book (or another product on self-gamification: the book 5 Minute Perseverance Game or the online course on Udemy  Motivate Yourself by Turning Your Life into Fun Games), then I invite you to join the Self-Gamification Community. You can find more about it here.

Listening to Oneself Like a Game Designer and Anthropologist

Our tiny kite flying over a beach in Hals, Denmark, July 2019

Writing a non-fiction book often leads to the discovery of many great books during its research.

But what I find fascinating and even more inspiring that after publishing my non-fiction books, I discover more and more inspiring resources on the topics of these books. It is also the case for my latest book, Self-Gamification Happiness Formula: How to Turn Your Life into Fun Games.

One of the many brilliant books on motivation, gamification, and serving those we serve with compassion, which I recently discovered is Game Thinking: Innovate smarter & drive deep engagement with design techniques from hit games by Amy Jo Kim.

In the foreword to this book by Raph Koster (whom I quoted many times on fun in the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula), I found the following quote:

“That’s really what game thinking is about. It begins by pushing you to look at what your users actually care about, through its process of interviews and job stories. It asks you to listen — really listen — when users tell you what problems they have, and what solutions they wish were out there. It does away with hoary generalizations and made-up personas and goes right to the people most likely to want a solution from you, and teaches you, the designer, how to ask the right questions.” — Raph Koster in the foreword to Game Thinking: Innovate smarter & drive deep engagement with design techniques from hit games by Amy Jo Kim

This inspiring and revealing quote for gamification designers got me thinking and gave me an idea. The game thinking and gameful attitude to life do not only help us ask the right questions to those we serve but in self-gamification, it can also help us ask ourselves the right questions.

In the post last week, I reported how turning my life into games for several years facilitated my resourcefulness and made it effortless and fun.

When we turn our lives into games, besides that, we learn also being both honest and kind with ourselves, and be both simultaneously. I discovered many times in my life that I can’t be truly honest with myself without being also kind to myself. And vice versa, if I try being kind but resist the truth, then the kindness is not present either.

Really listening to ourselves does not mean listening to our thoughts. Those thoughts, especially when uncomfortable and reprimanding, are just an indicator that something is calling for our attention. Real listening to ourselves means, instead, seeing ourselves anthropologically, that is non-judgmentally. And kindly. If we practice such listening with ourselves, then the true and kind listening with the others will come naturally.

I am finishing this post with the quotes of two other authors, whom I frequently quote in the Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, Ariel and Shya Kane:

“True Listening is actively listening to another with the intention of hearing what is being said from the other’s point of view.”

and,

“This act of listening is enough to pull you into the moment. However, you have an incredibly facile mind. You can race ahead in your thoughts and finish another person’s sentence before he or she gets to the point. Or you can take exception to a word he or she uses and stop listening altogether. If you pay attention, you will see that there are many times when you have an internal commentary on what is being said rather than just listening. If you can train yourself to hear what is being said, from the speaker’s point of view, it takes you outside of time and into the current moment.” Ariel and Shya Kane, Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work: The 3 Simple Ideas That Will Instantaneously Transform Your Life

And here is one more quote. It is about awareness and the art of being here. I can’t quote all these brilliant gems of wisdom often enough:

Awareness is “A nonjudgmental, non-preferential seeing. It’s an objective, noncritical witnessing of the nature or what we call the ‘isness’ of any particular circumstance or situation. It can be described as an ongoing process in which you are bringing yourself back to the moment, rather than complaining silently about how you would prefer this moment to be.”Ariel and Shya Kane, Practical Enlightenment

 

P.S. If you would like to learn more about self-gamification then click here or on the image below:

P.P.S. If you already acquired this book (or another product on self-gamification: the book 5 Minute Perseverance Game or the online course on Udemy  Motivate Yourself by Turning Your Life into Fun Games), then I invite you to join the Self-Gamification Community. You can find more about it here.