Plan your gamification drive

We've written separately about running a gamification drive to crowdsource documentation and build a documentation-first culture. Since then, several DataOps champions like you have been using our office hours to learn best practices of launching gamification drives. One question that came up frequently in these conversations was how to plan and scope a gamification drive to create the greatest impact.

To solve this, we've created a gamification planner: a one-stop-shop to help you plan and execute your gamification drive to the tee. 🎯


Before you dive into the specifics of executing a gamification drive, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill:

  1. Answering your 3 Ws: why, who, and what?
  2. Define clear ownership: Who are your champions? Who's doing what? Are you creating team goals or individual goals?
  3. Create your gamification calendar: When are you going to launch? What are the key milestones? How are you planning to keep the excitement up? Define your communication medium and plan.
  4. Pre-launch prep: Proactively identify all events that can potentially lead to the gamification drive failing, and plan how to avoid them.
  5. Scoring criteria and prizes: What are you incentivizing? What are the prizes?
  6. Communication plan: How are you planning to keep the excitement up? What mediums will you use to communicate?

In this article, we will be covering the first four points. You can read the previous gamification article for more on scoring criteria, prizes, and communication plans.

Answering your 3 Ws: why, who & what

Why are we doing this gamification?

While the cool prizes at the end of the gamification drive can act as short-term motivators, don't forget that your overall goal is to create a long-term documentation-first culture. Cultural behaviors are often driven by intrinsic motivation. Thus, it is important to identify the why β€” the larger purpose associated with your gamification drive β€” and use it as the north star to create team alignment and drive intrinsic motivation.

To define your why, you could zero in on problems that everyone in the team relates with. For example, here's one scenario:

Today, our sales, marketing, and finance teams have defined "customer" and related terms differently, causing data brawls. This causes tension and stress while reporting numbers at the end of the quarter. Last quarter, the company even sent out incorrect numbers to the board, creating a lot of embarrassment for the CEO and eroding trust in the data team. We want to ensure that this never happens again, so we are launching a company-wide exercise to create a foundational single source of truth about all our business metrics.
πŸ’‘ Top tip Since most use cases have a very strong why behind them, a good practice is to make your gamification part of your wider use case.

Who is the target persona for this gamification?

Are there natural teams that we can divide them into?

Define clear personas and teams that can help achieve the objectives of the gamification drive.

For example, in the scenario above, embedded Data Analysts in the Finance, Sales, and Marketing teams would have the most knowledge about how different metrics are defined, so we want to target them as participants.

πŸ’‘ Top tip Keep a very clear target persona in mind when you want to launch a gamification drive. The more specific you get, the better your chances at success.

What steps do the participants need to follow?

Remember that if you do 1 (why) right and create a strong purpose for your gamification drive, most participants will want to do the right thing and contribute. However, they will be stretched for bandwidth and so, as an organizer, it is important that you make it crystal clear what you need them to do.

For example, in the above scenario, you could say that this is what you want an analyst to do:

  1. Sign up with Atlan (if they haven't already).
  2. Look at the list of terms they are responsible for (on which you have tagged them as an Owner).
  3. Set the term's certificate to Draft while they are working on it.
  4. Add a description and a README to the term, following the documentation standards that you have created.
  5. Share the term with a team member for peer verification.
  6. Verify the term once it is finished.
πŸ’‘ Top tip Your process should be crystal clear for the participants. Don't leave room for confusion around what they need to do to win!

Defining clear ownership

Every gamification drive needs champions who are engaged and inspire their teams to work towards the objective. Before you launch your gamification drive, you must identify these champions and highlight their responsibilities. We typically recommend finding champions who are naturally enthusiastic and high-energy.

If you can break your gamification drive into natural teams, we recommend finding at least one champion per team. The idea is that whether you are creating individual or team goals, there's a person in the organization that the participants can approach and ask questions.

Other qualities that make good candidates for champions:

  • They have support from the leadership to drive this internally.
  • They are dependable and approachable for the team.
  • They have high energy and are enthusiastic.

Creating a gamification calendar

As you prepare to launch a gamification drive, you will end up answering multiple questions for the organizing team, the participants, and the stakeholder.

  • When do we go live or launch?
  • What are the key milestones?
  • When should we send out emails?
  • How often do we check in with the team?

To efficiently keep track of all the key events, it's best to plan in advance and add them in your gamification calendar (which is part of the gamification planner).

This has two benefits:

  1. You will be very organized during the weeks of the gamification drive.
  2. Clear identification of timelines and responsibilities will help you in discussions with your team.


Pre-launch prep

The age-old quote "if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail" has incredible merit β€” both in life and in gamification! Before you launch your gamification drive, you should proactively identify all events that can potentially lead to the drive failing and then plan to avoid them.

There are three key areas of consideration:

  1. Organization prep: As an organization, are we prepared for the gamification drive? Do we have everything we need internally? For example:
    • Have we identified the priority assets/terms that we want to drive in gamification?
    • Can we tag the priority assets in Atlan, for example using custom metadata?
    • Do we have a clear action plan?
    • Have we identified champions?
    • Do we have clear scoring criteria?
  2. Product prep: Do we have a clear understanding of the user flow for participants on the product? Have we taken stock of dependencies on the product? For example:
    • Will we need to crawl the assets required for the gamification?
    • Have we tested out the expected user flow, in particular the steps participants need to follow to win?
    • If we want to share certain things in weekly announcements (for example, most active users, trending terms, etc.), can the product help provide those through an API or the reporting center?
  3. Leadership and stakeholder alignment: Have we brought in all the relevant stakeholders in the discussions? Some other considerations could be:
    • Is there a key leader in the company that team members respect who can champion the "vision" for the drive and how it will help the company? Have we gotten their buy-in? Can they call out the gamification drive and recognize champions in company events?
    • Do members from other teams need to be involved? If so, are the leaders in the teams bought-in, and will they encourage their team members to participate?

The idea is for you to proactively identify all issues (organization-led and product-led) that can potentially lead to the gamification failing. Then, you can plan to succeed.

We have created a Gamification Planner that helps you think through all these points and keep them in one place as you gain momentum with your gamification drive.

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