Gamification Mechanic Monday: option to quit
At the weekend I was playing a game of Candy Crush Soda and I knew part of the way through that I wouldn’t make it. At that point I wondered if there was a quit button, in order to shortcut the further waste of time and lack of chance of finishing successfully. Ironically I hadn’t used it before up until then, so I had to look for the quit option. I had the feedback from having played the level before that if I hadn’t enough moves left, I wouldn’t clear the 4 elements required to win.
In an enterprise situation we may not have the full visual feedback a game gives us, but we may see tell-tale signs that a project is going south. In some cases a quit and restart or a quit and abandon may be the best way forward. In a game we do this automatically without losing sleep or worry over it. When it comes to a work project however, the higher the stakes the more emotional attachment goes in to the need for the project to succeed.
It is easy to quite writing a document and start again, but when you have started a project and the feedback is starting to send a very strong message that what you are trying to do is not working, then the stakes are higher. In a lot of organisations failing at a large project would be considered career suicide and may follow someone for some time, even when you did everything possible to steer the project towards good health and you mitigated risks as much as viably possible. In open-minded and risk tolerant organisations however, the chance to quit and re-start is encouraged, just like you would in a game.
In the games industry the majority of game releases fail or don’t reach enough of an audience to make them viable. Success stories are rare gems if put in contrast to the vast numbers of games released every day. You can do your best, create the best possible game, yet for whatever reason it doesn’t capture the imagination of players, you may still have to let the game go.
What would you be allowed to quit and restart in your organisation?