Thursday, 30 January 2014


Originally published on my company internal blog.

Gamification is all the rage in industry. It means using game-like elements - such as small rewards and friendly competition between players - to incentivise people to do otherwise mundane work.

Here are eight old-school games that we could adapt for use in our company.


Use the tweezers to extract resources from other departments. The catch is that there are 30% fewer resources than players. If two players try to extract the same resource, the Head of Ops's face lights up.

Game Of Life

Each player takes a car and chooses whether to go the "business" or "technical" consulting route. Spin the wheel to choose a random project that may or may not be in your consulting route. Spend the rest of the game driving your car around the car park, fruitlessly looking for an empty space.


Each square represents a project. When you land on a project square belonging to an opponent, you must give up some of your resources to that project, even if that leaves you without enough resources. Within five minutes of starting the game, it feels like it's lasting forever, and everyone is grumpy and bored.

Happy Families

Players take it in turns to request resources from particular job families - Fran the Firmware Engineer; Will the Web Designer; Beth the Business Consultant. The opposing player does his best to provide staff that match none of the required characteristics.


One player acts as the Technical Architect. He draws a vague picture of a system. With no other information, the other players must try to implement the system within unreasonable budget and time constraints.


Build a tower made out of KitKats. Players take turns to remove one KitKat. When all the KitKats are gone, the game is over and you can't play it again.

Settlers Of Catan

Players hold resources that their opponents need. They trade them to complete their work, even though the trades make no objective sense; for example, three web designers are swapped for two business consultants, to build one real-time embedded system. Everyone feels like they've lost.


Dr. Black sells the company to the UK's largest aerospace firm. Nobody is murdered. The end.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Zen and the art of Business Operations Management #6


Accountants circle
overhead: slo-mo raptors
who swoop once per month.


Numbers may be raked
like sand into peaks, whose grains
tumble back to ground.


Ninjas work at night,
absorbed by secrets. Wise folk
go home for dinner.