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Acronyms: GPM = Gameful Project Management; SMG = Self-Motivational Game.
Of all four main components of games*, Self-Gamification emphasizes voluntary participation, which seems to me to be sometimes forgotten in gamified solutions and when serious games are developed. (We will consider the game components and their counterparts in real-life projects in a later post.)
When I was exploring and formulating the Self-Gamification approach in the book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula: How to Turn Your Life into Fun Games, I discovered that the main feature of turning anything in our lives into fun games is the following:
We are both the designers AND the players of our Self-Motivational Games (SMG).
Before reading this blog series or the book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula, you might have heard this statement as two separate ones:
- “Be the designer of your life,” and
- “Here is how you play the game called life.”
But I discovered that you couldn’t separate the two. We are both the designers AND the players of our daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and so on games, be it at work, at home, or anywhere else.
That is especially true for project management.
Many brilliant resources on project management emphasize that successful project managers start with managing themselves**.
But how can we do it, I mean turn project management into games?
We can, for example, learn from other players and designers of self-motivational project management games.
Many gamers and skill learners nowadays learn from videos on YouTube and other media, watching how their fellow players play the games (or instruments) they love and succeed playing.
But designers learn that way too. They play other people’s games in the genre they are interested in and eagerly study and absorb each detail for inspiration.
Writers do that too. They learn from their peers and idols by reading books in the genres they write.
The project management game designers have even a better situation. They can learn not only from other project managers in their or different niches, but they can also learn from the game and play (toy) designers. They can absorb almost everything around them like a sponge, wringing out what doesn’t apply and keeping the fun for them bits to implement in their projects and work.
Above learning from others, the following question to yourself and your team (since project management includes team management***) can help to jump-start undoing even the tightest knots in your projects:
- For yourself: “If my project was a game, and I was its designer (which I am!), how would I approach it so that I, as its player, can’t wait to start playing (engaging in it) and enjoy doing so when I do?”
- For you and your team members: “If our project was a game, and we were its designers (which we are!), how would we approach it, so that we as its players can’t wait to start playing (engaging in it) and enjoy doing so when we do?”
When you ask yourself and your team this question, remember that no idea that appears is wrong. The main criterium to find out it is appropriate for you and your team is how fun it is.
In the next blog post, I will address the significance of fun for project management.
* “What defines a game are the goal, the rules, the feedback system, and voluntary participation. Everything else is an effort to reinforce and enhance these four core components.” — Jane McGonigal, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
** “It is a project manager’s job to organise everyone else, and you will be much more efficient at doing that if you can keep on top of your own activities. If you are clear about what you have to do next it will make it easier for you to organise other people and the work of your team.” — Elizabeth Harrin, Managing Yourself: Shortcuts to success
*** “Project management is no longer just about managing a process. It’s also about leading people—twenty-first-century people. This is a significant paradigm shift.” — Kory Kogon, Suzette Blakemore, James Wood, Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager
If you want to learn more:
Check out my coaching and consulting services to work directly with me.
Take a look into my book Self-Gamification Happiness Formula.