×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How DirecTV Overhauled Its 800-Person IT Group With a Game

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the hopefully-not-russian-roulette dept.

Bug 85

mattydread23 writes "Most gamification efforts fail. But when DirecTV wanted to encourage its IT staff to be more open about sharing failures, it created a massive internal game called F12. Less than a year later, it's got 97% participation and nearly everybody in the IT group actually likes competing. So what did DirecTV do right? The most important thing was to devote a full-time staffer to the game, and to keep updating it constantly."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

85 comments

"Game?" (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45079055)

It doesn't sound like a game. It sounds like Choose Your Own Adventure: Powerpoint Edition. At the risk of snarking with one of the oldest lines ever on the internet...

Pics or it didn't happen.

Re:"Game?" (1)

lipanitech (2620815) | about 6 months ago | (#45089861)

A lot of companies are starting games like this to raise moral, make work fun to up attendance and to get employees to collaborate.

Re:"Game?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45092425)

It's worse than paging through a few powerpoints. Much worse. F12 is a blight on our IT organization.

The videos are mostly terrible and usually have little if anything to do with IT. There are a precious few good videos they lifted off Youtube or TED. But it's 95% crap.

Just about everyone in IT hates this damn thing. We were recently told we must strive to achieve a certain point total in the game by the end of the year, with a strongly implied "or else".

Fortunately there are glaring flaws in the "game" which allow us to mostly bypass this managerial wet dream. You can turn a video on in your browser, minimize it while it runs, get the points for watching the video, then repeat for the next one. Then we have to take quizzes on the videos. The quizzes are so mind numbingly stupid you can easily pass them without watching the videos. Everyone does this just to get the points we need in the dumbass game so we don't take a hit on our bonuses next year.

97% participation rate? Yeah, because we all know it's going on our performance review. But for all the talk about embracing failure, nothing has changed in how things are done. And the senior leadership continues to ignore the things that really need to be overhauled. Our ridiculously stupid and buggy time keeping systems eat up HOURS of peoples time every week just keeping things straight since we have to "bill" our time, as I imagine lawyers do, into two different systems manually. Our change management process generates a whole lot of digital paperwork and wasted time attending approval meetings that nobody pays attention to until their name is called. But it all means nothing because the people approving the changes don't understand anything about what they are approving, and the documentation doesn't have to actually have any details about what you're changing.

But hey, let's play games, watch stupid videos, and give away iPads instead of working on the real problems.

97% participation, so what happened to the rest? (1)

seifried (12921) | about 6 months ago | (#45079127)

So the people that didn't participate.. what happened to them?

Re:97% participation, so what happened to the rest (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#45079155)

We do not talk about those people.

The computer is your friend. Trust the computer.

Re:97% participation, so what happened to the rest (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079615)

Happiness is mandatory!

Re:97% participation, so what happened to the rest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081465)

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Re:97% participation, so what happened to the rest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080281)

So the people that didn't participate.. what happened to them?

They went on Obamacare

temps / contractors? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#45081195)

who get locked out of a tool that other people in IT get to use. Also as a side point they can't really move up as much now.

F also stands for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079187)

FIRED! Thanks for sharing your fails.

Re:F also stands for (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079643)

Therein lies the problem with getting people to be honest about their mistakes so the business will never learn from the experience and adjust process or improve training to avoid them in the future. Too many organisations are hampered by a chain of managers who all have a covery-your-ass attitude and always want to make sure there is a ready scapegoat that isn't them. It also means they won't permit any risk that could possibly have an adverse outcome which by its nature is what a risk is so you are stuck with the same old even if it sucks. The expectation that everyone will make the perfect decision every time is unrealistic but too may gutless managers will sacrifice you to save their own skins rather than defend you. Of course they shouldn't be asked to do that day-in day-out or repeatedly for the same thing.

Re:F also stands for (1)

GNious (953874) | about 6 months ago | (#45079849)

Soo... F12 = We're going to fired 12 people, participate, or have your named added to the short-list ... ?

Shit company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079197)

Why would anyone still work at DirecTV? They're among the worst-of-the-worst employers in the country. Lots of masochists?

Re:Shit company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080183)

Dish rated top of the 'bad places to work' list. I can't imagine DirecTV is a good place teo work.

Do you think companies are actively competing to see who can mistreat their employees the most? Maybe this could be tied to performance reviews for management!

I had a manager who dragged out the old 'you can have a vacation any time you want, it's called being laid off or quitting' line. He was fired by the layer of management above him last month.

Re:Shit company (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 6 months ago | (#45081133)

Saw the CEO of DirecTV on Undercover Boss a couple of years ago. He seemed like an extreme penny pincher and preoccupied on "efficiency" metrics.

Re:Shit company (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083533)

The problem with those worst employers rankings is when it also includes a company's call center group, which is underpaid, disgruntled, and as a very high churn rate.

Most likely the IT, engineering, and regular ops type people have pretty nice jobs and are fine to work for. Being an engineer at one of these worst voted companies i can tell you the engineering and actual technical jobs are just fine to work for, its the customer service jobs that suck and greatly drag down a ranking

Train - Profit (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#45079201)

I'm sure the next company those staffers move to will appreciate the pre-training and screening that DTV invested in.

Thriving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079215)

Go have a look at what "Thrive Metrics" (linked in TFA) actually does. Yikes!

I call (5, Insightful)

networkzombie (921324) | about 6 months ago | (#45079251)

Bullshit. I've seen plenty of articles like this, and I've worked at many companies that have made the same claims. All of them were bullshit. It is a condescending attempt to re-train employees. There is a Forbes article about this that is more detailed. It shows how they want employees ideas without paying them for those ideas or giving them any credit. My favorite is the quote "It is no longer enough for IT organizations to deliver and operate systems on time and on budget. Now, we must deliver competitive advantages". Well, you could knock me over with a feather. I didn't know that I should be delivering competitive advantages. I thought you were lucky if I got your email working. How about if a few Direct TV employees chime in and comment on what was in these videos that became the awesome F12 game that stirred competition between employees and increased productivity, or to quote, how management addressed your "fear of failure." I'm sure all that showed an increase in productivity earned a raise in salary.

Re:I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080195)

We need management to bring competitive advantages to the table.

Can we outsource management and executive jobs?

Re:I call (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#45081365)

>they want employees ideas without paying them for those ideas or giving them any credit

Do you live and work in the Western world?

Are you independently wealthy?

If your answers are Yes and No respectively, you should not have any expectation of pay beyond salary or credit beyond "attaboy!" If this bothers you, please seek asylum in your preferred alternate society.

Re:I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082621)

And how do you think the assholes attaching their names to someone else's work became independently wealthy?

Quit being a patsy and make these assholes stand or fall on the merits of their own work instead of just giving them yours.

Re:I call (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#45082775)

If your answers are Yes and No respectively, you should not have any expectation of pay beyond salary or credit beyond "attaboy!" If this bothers you, please seek asylum in your preferred alternate society.

"Yes... it is perfectly acceptable for one group of people to exploit another without compensation. If this bothers you, it must be because you're mentally ill. Love it or leave it, trolololoooo..."

You know, we had a civil war to get rid of people like you. Do we need to come out and burn your plantation down? This is America -- flip over your currency sometime. It says 'E Pluribus Unum'. It's not latin for 'Every man for himself'.

Re:I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083427)

Wait... we had a civil war to get rid of capitalism? That is news to me. And 'E Pluribus Unum' has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Quit making up stupid rants that get you upvotes on Slashdot but are intellectually vacant.

Re:I call (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 6 months ago | (#45086831)

You are being compensated.. with your salary.

Plus, with so many people here arguing against patents and copyrights, it would seem to me that that would also lead to the argument AGAINST being paid *extra* (beyond salary) "for your ideas".

Re:I call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45087899)

No, no, you miss the point, copyrights and patents are bad when you want to defy them, but they are also the path to easy perpetual wealth - you just have to have an idea, write it down, send it to your government, and then they make people pay you (and your estate) money, lots of money - forever!

We all want to have the cake and eat it too, don't we? Can't we vote people into office who will give us that?

Apparently not, but there always seems to be hope in the new generation that they can make it happen - I hope they succeed someday.

Make it stop. (5, Informative)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 6 months ago | (#45079289)

Just make it fucking stop. As someone who works in a Fortune 100 company and deals with this bullshit - just stop. None of it is cool, and none of it helps the bottom line. It's just bullshit the higher ups think up to seem like they're doing something valuable.

I'll take a page from Office Space.

When you come in on Monday, and you sit down at your computer does anyone try to get you to play the most boring fucking "game" in the world to get you to do stupid shit that contributes to meaningless metrics?

No. No man. Shit no man.I believe you'd get your ass kicked saying something like that, man.

Re:Make it stop. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#45080009)

Yup a middle manager who is actually 100% useless trying to make it look like he is actually doing something at the company.

It's just proof that Direct TV is still very top heavy and still needs to cut a LOT from the top and middle to become more profitable.

Re:Make it stop. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080325)

Just make it fucking stop. As someone who works in a Fortune 100 company and deals with this bullshit - just stop. None of it is cool, and none of it helps the bottom line. It's just bullshit the higher ups think up to seem like they're doing something valuable.

I'll take a page from Office Space.

When you come in on Monday, and you sit down at your computer does anyone try to get you to play the most boring fucking "game" in the world to get you to do stupid shit that contributes to meaningless metrics?

This is what we get when there are too many MBAs in US businesses. It's the same as having too many lawyers. Frivolous lawsuits, endless litigation over BS stuff. Too many MBAs and you end up playing games to give the business a "competitive advantage." In essence the MBAs are saying "we can't think of enough ideas to keep our inflated salaries, so let's go to the little people and see what we can exploit them for."

Re:Make it stop. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 6 months ago | (#45080689)

So stop working there.
I could make more money by taking one of those jobs, but I don't even accept interviews from them. Why do that to yourself?

The minute I saw 800 person IT Group I knew that would be a hell hole.

Re:Make it stop. (1, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 6 months ago | (#45082757)

Just make it fucking stop. As someone who works in a Fortune 100 company and deals with this bullshit - just stop. None of it is cool, and none of it helps the bottom line. It's just bullshit the higher ups think up to seem like they're doing something valuable.

Actually, the core problem was not the game - but communications. For whatever reason (corporate culture, most likely) people would make mistakes but not share what happened (and how they fixed it). The whole reason for the video sharing platform was to create and share videos of these mistakes so people don't keep repeating them over and over and over again. (While an individually probably won't, someone in the satellite office might).

DirecTV chose to gamify how they communicate within themselves. It's just one possible solution out of many ways to increase communications and to avoid doing the same mistake over and over again. Some companies can't reproduce the results because they don't "fit" like DirecTV did.

In the end, it's really just a way one company chose to fix a structural communications problem within the company.

The minute I saw 800 person IT Group I knew that would be a hell hole.

It depends on the company - there may be a real need for it - like I think this count at DirecTV would include real helpdesk personnel, who may make up a good 750 of those 800 people who answer customer calls about technical problems like receivers failing or other thing. Or it may be supporting the installers out in the field.

Or it could be that managing programming, uplinking and downlinking and local ground based systems is really hard (needing 1 or 2 IT people per major city to manage stuff like local chnanels and programming?).

wtf (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079457)

Ok, so you got 97% of your IT guys to watch videos in exchange for Hokey tickets and other, unspecified, incentives. That is really... sad

I'll tell you now that if I send my developers a video every single one of them will watch it. With no incentive other that an implicit "this will make you a better developer." If you have to pay people to read e-mails/watch videos that leadership sends your leadership has already failed.

More importantly though there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about he role of IT which is to keep everything running all of the time. In other words, "fear of failure" or risk-aversion is a very good thing in your IT staff. Training them to be less risk averse is not a good thing and not something that you actually want.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080213)

More importantly though there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about he role of management which is to keep everything profitable all of the time. In other words, "fear of losing money" or being a snake in the grass is a very good thing in your management staff. Training them to be less crime averse is not a good thing and not something that you actually want.

More importantly though there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about he role of software developers which is to keep everything on schedule all of the time. In other words, "saying no to last minute customer changes" or never complaining about working 100 hours a week is a very good thing in your software development staff. Training them to ask for days off is not a good thing and not something that you actually want.

Not just business...govt. too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079471)

This sounds like more of this top down let's make the work place a happy fun time fuzzy place. Bottom line is, the worker drones still know they can be fired on a whim while they plaster a fake smile on their face. Anyone remember Mission Statements? The Mission of this business is to provide fullfilling ear wax removal to the customer, or whatever. About 15 years ago the State of California Consumer Affairs Department charged are state licensing boards to waste a bunch of time coming up with a Mission Statement. I'm sure the edict had limitations on how short or long it could be. My profession's board dutifully played into this sherrade. Never mind that the law creating the board gave already gave it a 'mission," the board has something like 30-40 duties and requirements.

This is one reason I like working on my own.

Re:Not just business...govt. too (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 months ago | (#45079675)

Bottom line is, the worker drones still know they can be fired on a whim while they plaster a fake smile on their face.

I've had 15yrs experience as a blue collar labourer and 20+ years experience as a degree qualified "IT" professional. If you are a seasoned professional yourself and feel you are being treated as a "worker drone" then I'm pretty sure your boss is not to blame. Begging for respect on Slashdot isn't going to help you obtain it in the office, you have to earn it through your words and deeds.

And no that does not mean "sucking up to the boss". It's your professional duty to do what I wish every public servant on the planet would learn to do - speak truth to power without fear or favour. If your boss does not respect that then the arrogant prick is tarnishing the reputations of the individuals who make up his team, including yours..

Having said that, it does appear that some of the activities conducted at the board level of multi-nationals such as "mission statements" could be undertaken by a studious pre-schooler.

i work for directtv and i love (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079473)

my 2 hour after lunch nap.. err game points winning thing

Kindergarten mentality? (3, Insightful)

HnT (306652) | about 6 months ago | (#45079607)

Maybe I missed something here but this looks very much like kindergarten teachers giving "golden stars" to the eager beaver kids with the added edge that the overall scores are public and it is a work environment where "less golden stars" can quickly be perceived as (or abused as) a list of who will get fired first - which is the only reason anyone is doing it in the first place, not because it is "such a fun GAME" and not because the work culture and how fuck-ups are seen has actually changed.

They might as well have just told people it is mandatory or you can find a new job, because in effect that is all it looks like to me.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45079913)

That's because you're an insecure 40-something programmer/engineer who wasn't capable of moving into a management position before he hit his peak. The only difference between managing children and managing adults is how you speak to them. You might find this condescending, but it's the truth.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (2)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about 6 months ago | (#45080137)

Actually - what is more condescending is your implication that everyone wants to move into management.

(And yes, I'm a 40-something programmer... Have been for nigh-on 25 years, and happy to remain that way)

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080719)

You've been 40-something for 25 years?

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080961)

Until you lose your job and can't find another one because no one wants to hire 40-something programmers.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | about 6 months ago | (#45100099)

Fair point... I've been unemployed twice since I turned 40, and it hasn't been easy finding new positions

That said however, my skill set is rather on the niche side, so as long as there are (legacy) systems to be taken care of, I should be OK (for now)...

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (4, Funny)

Nikhil Mahajan (3018943) | about 6 months ago | (#45080153)

That's because you're an insecure 40-something programmer/engineer who wasn't capable of moving into a management position before he hit his peak. The only difference between managing children and managing adults is how you speak to them. You might find this condescending, but it's the truth.

And we have a manager amongst us.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080237)

How could you tell? The ability to demoralize everyone with one sentence, or the aura of pretentiousness that evokes the image of a plantation owner in slave-era mississippi?

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080347)

The unwavering belief that he has found the one available "truth" in a vast, infinite universe is what gave it away for me.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | about 6 months ago | (#45082473)

Hate to admit it, but I'm a VP (ie. Manager) of a technical team. I was a programmer for a lot of my life, and have been in management twice now. First time I wanted it SOOOO BAD. Thought being a manager was the best thing that could have happened to me. Then I ended up working for a boss who wouldn't let me run my team. He was the guy everyone is talking about. He had authority, but showed no leadership. At one point, he asked me what a leader meant to me. I told him a leader was someone people follow. He blew a gasket at that one. I was impeaching his authority, and saying, in effect, I'm a leader and you're not. After that I decided that management wasn't what I wanted, and went back to the tech side. Stayed that way for another 10 years.

I got to my current job not because I wanted to be a manager, but because that was what the company I work for needed me to do. I was under no illusions. For those of you who are not managers, you have your own problems. When you are a manager, EVERYONE's problems are your problems. Even so, I took the position and have been largely happy with my decision. I still get to do architecture. And I get to influence a lot of people I could not influence if I was strictly an architect or coder. My coding skills have languished, but my architecture skills have matured.

And for those of you reading this that are going to turn me into a caricature of the Dilbert pointy haired boss, I consistently get outstanding feedback from those that work for me. I've gotten personal letters from consultants who left saying I was the best boss ever. I won't continue to brag about it, but suffice it to say that you CAN move into management, AND add value to your organization, AND treat your reports well, AND keep their respect, all while maximizing you and your team's value to the organization.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45083683)

And we have a manager amongst us.

A bad one too. If you treat the people you lead like children, they will act like children. Then you'll feel justified and self important, but you'll be a failure, because your team will under perform. Of course, you'll find some way to blame someone else and get in the boss. That's was successful bad managers do.

Re:Kindergarten mentality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080273)

And you are a douche bag.

nearly everybody...actually likes competing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080255)

So the good people who think this is stupid left the company, and only the stupid people who think this is good are left?

don't need a game to do my job... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080265)

Do your job correctly and competently and just simply be honest about your failures. That isn't that hard people. I sure as shit don't want to fucking waste my time playing some stupid ass game, when I have real goddamn work to do. Now leave me alone and keep your stupid games away, I have a room full of servers to keep running.

Whatta... (1)

Mirozake (3389131) | about 6 months ago | (#45080359)

Sometimes these posts are just for hating.. What's wrong with gamification.. I think it can be incredibly effective for teaching employees certain things. I'm not saying I know enough about this story to say it worked or it's even a good thing at all but why take something totally down without even thinking twice..

Re:Whatta... (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 6 months ago | (#45080505)

Because when you attach something to worker performance, calling it a game or not makes no differences for it really is just another way for management to use it against workers.

"Bob, I see your not moving up in the standings, why is that?"

"Well, I've been trying to actually help people and have not had time to play. Beside, I'm not into gaming that much"

"I see, well unless you move up in standings I may have to give Jane that raise, she's really been playing hard, and if you don't play, there's no pay"

This is a world where we all have to start acting like Winston, on the outside a perfect comrade, on the inside dreaming of something better. We play the game, but I doubt most intelligent people see it for what it is, another method of controlling people.

Re:Whatta... (1)

Mirozake (3389131) | about 6 months ago | (#45081589)

I agree that most management, especially upper management, in most companies (especially very big organizations) are thinking parallel to what you are saying here (the scene from where Neo is standing in front of his boss comes to mind from the movie Matrix) :) However, management is a necessary thing to do many times, well, in order to manage the project in hand (sorry to point out the obvious). A good manager must know, especially in the world of IT, you need to take care of people who are working on the project, get out of the way on things you're not the expert on, etc. etc... In my opinion the most important role of a manager is to enable communication between his team and for him to communicate current information to people himself. This current information is not alway easy to communicate in a large group. This information/teaching can also include agreed (by not just management) processes for a team to work together. I believe in looking for ways to best communicate these agreed processes and to teach them as easily as possible. I think gamification can be a good way to do this sometimes. Gamification does not mean playing games. If we look at gamificiation parts we'll see that it parallels papers written in how to best educate. I can't go into that in a short text but quick research will reveal that. About the world you paint, it is not the entire world my friend. It's true there are a lot of organizations you might have to live that but there are also places you can experience a different world. I think it sucks that so many organizations fit in your description and we shouldn't have to look so hard to find a more functional organization. I also think a sure way to change that is for good people to not settle for the world you describe and leave and go work for an organization that appreciates you more.

Re:Whatta... (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 6 months ago | (#45082041)

Good thoughts.

" In my opinion the most important role of a manager is to enable communication between his team and for him to communicate current information to people himself. This current information is not alway easy to communicate in a large group. "

I've worked in the corporate/business world for over 30 years and in all that time, I've found that what you described above to be the exception, not the norm. I'll openly admit I am somewhat jaded after all this time working for companies and management that fail to see the talent they have, the piss poor way the manage that talent, and the indiscriminate way talented people are discarded, because they don't fit some "model" of approach to work. (oaky, maybe really jaded).

Still, you got me to look at this a little more and I come back with a less then comfortable view of gamification. I found this one definition from gamification.com

Gamification is a business strategy which applies game design techniques to non-game experiences to drive user behavior.

I consider myself a rather intelligent person and that sentence makes little sense other then the the last phrase, "drive user behavior". No warm fussy from that. So I look a little more and find this viewpoint "and thousands more are using gamification to drive key business metrics." and then there is this "The aggregated data on the performance of each player will make promotions, bonuses and layoffs more transparent and fair. This will have the effect to undermine the power of a manager."

Having just finished reading an fascinating story called "Manna" [marshallbrain.com] I could not help but see parallels in the application of this new paradigm. Now my performance is monitored on a constant basis (what happens when I have a bad day?) and I wind up in an open competition with fellow employees for resources or raises. I'm not against competition, I compete in Eventing, but it is a style of competition that suits me much more then other type of score keeping activities. What i see in gamification is openly pitting employees against each other. As this is about work, not fun and games it becomes much more serious.

Personally I do not see something like gamification as a good thing for employees, but it is one for top level executives and owners. Sure, I can (and did) go to a place where my talents are appreciated without the micro-management normally found. My concern would be, what happens when those places become less and less. Somehow, when big business thinks something like this si really good, it does not bode well for the rest of the working population. (but again, I'm jaded and at this point in my life I'd rather work/own an equestrian center then program).

Re:Whatta... (1)

Mirozake (3389131) | about 6 months ago | (#45090723)

I like gamification in the sense that it makes interaction fun. If some evil corporation takes it and makes it so people are going against each others throats (hard-core competition) rather then working together (collaboration) then I'm not for it. I'm not even clear how that's gamification (making the process or whatever more fun etc). I guess now that we discussed it shortly I'm clearer and I can say "I like gamification for teaching, communicating and making electronic interaction more FUN". I've been interested in the subject and I took a class online (https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification). So, when I talk about gamification I'm talking about the subject matter of this class (which I recommend highly if looking for basics on the subject). Also, I just looked up a little more online and I now see that corporations are taking this term and using it to suit their old school workings somewhat. Oh well. In my opinion what they're doing is not necessarily good gamification. I mean after all if it's making our lives less fun I think the whole thing looses its purpose, rght? I'm pretty sure games are suppose to be at least somewhat fun. :) p.s. why won't my line breaks appear.. :)

Re:Whatta... (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about 6 months ago | (#45090881)

I'll check out the site. I think your views on gamification match mine. Way back when I taught programming I used gaming at the end of a class to help review material and maybe let people remember something from the class. Was it gamification? maybe, but I know it was popular and it worked.

As to line breaks, check your account/profile settings for posting messages. You may have it set to display as "HTML" instead of plain old text. When in html mode you have to provide your own line breaks using the br tag. In plain old text you can still use simbple html tags like bold or italic, but you don't have to worry about line breaks.

IT Professionals? (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 6 months ago | (#45080475)

If these are such good IT professionals, how long would it take one of them to throw together an auto script that would "watch" the videos for them, sending clicks for all appropriate buttons, etc.?

I think the high score competition would show you who your best internal hackers were.

Re:IT Professionals? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 6 months ago | (#45080723)

That would show you who the mediocre internal hackers were. The best hackers have made sure they never score too high, just high enough to always get that raise or to get those incentives at the normal rate.

What Are they Talking About? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45080637)

I feel stupid, but I can't get a grasp on what this is about? What failure are people fearing? What is the game supposed to accomplish, is it to make people watch some videos? If so, what is the point/content of these videos?

I'm getting a sense that this entire story is an over glorification of an HR pet project that is being attempted in order to get employees to watch orientation videos. It really would be great if there were a Dish employee around to tell us what's really what, but if the article is to be believed, they're all too busy playing this mystery game to be posting on Slashdot.

My Last job gave GOLD STAR STICKERS! (5, Interesting)

Cobol God (157835) | about 6 months ago | (#45080847)

My last job the district manager changed and threw out all the promises of the last one. Told me he did NOT care what the last guy said and that he did NOT care how good I was with the business that people skills were more important than being knowledgeable. Top it off he started a GOLD STAR AWARD where we got GOLD STARS for doing an excellent job where we got gold star stickers by our name on a post it board in the employee lounge. I complained about being treated like a kindergartener and that's when the demotion started. Took me off the top of the promotion list, moved me to part time and shifted my office to another one 45 minutes drive from my home vs the one I was working at that was less than 5 min from home.

Why would a GAME improve a situation? I had one employer who thought taking us IT department to a paintball match would be fun. Was told by a fellow employee DO NOT shoot at the boss, the last guy who did was fired for it. Boss shows up with this super expensive automatic paintball marker and rest of us get single shot pistols. It was management vs the IT dept. Wanna guess what happened to every IT guy who actually shot at management? I was let go and a friend who accidentally hit the foot of a supervisor was demoted for "demoralizing the company with his attitude" because he was actually firing AT the opposing team.

I guess that is what is "effective management" in todays world.

NetCraft Confirms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081151)

I think you're massively misinterpreting the facts. With a username like Cobol God, I think that you and many of your team mates were highly and increasingly redundant which lead to office moves and dismissals.

I know that there are still a few bastions, but seriously dude; NetCraft confirms COBOL is dieing!

Re:NetCraft Confirms (1)

locotx (559059) | about 6 months ago | (#45082021)

I will agree that management just needs "a reason" to get rid of you but you don't know about the situation to make a judgement like that.

that IT staff needed a union (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#45081539)

as an union will not stand for BS like that.

Re:that IT staff needed a union (1)

Cyrano de Maniac (60961) | about 6 months ago | (#45081675)

as an union will not stand for BS like that.

You're completely correct. A union would demand entirely different BS, and make you pay them for the privilege of dealing with it.

Re:that IT staff needed a union (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45082167)

True, but at least then you couldn't be fired for doing exactly what your boss told you to do.

Re:My Last job gave GOLD STAR STICKERS! (1)

psithurism (1642461) | about 6 months ago | (#45085045)

I had one employer who thought taking us IT department to a paintball match would be fun

Sorry that your experience sucked. I just thought I'd say that we did this with my office once and it went great. I was on the opposite team from my manager, so we shot each other quite a bit. Also, a co-worker, on the same team as our manager, shot our manager in the back. We had a big laugh about it back at work and no official repercussions happened, but speaking of being treated like kindergarteners, though, I think that employee's mother was told about the incident.

mandatory christmas dinner (1)

Cobol God (157835) | about 6 months ago | (#45101867)

Well I think we were not viewed so much as employees as "things". We HAD to show up for Christmas dinner for them halfway through December. It was NOT optional you HAD to show up. One year my supervisor hosted and his house was maybe 5000-6000 or so square feet with a huge hand laid brick driveway that he JUST had done. Another year one of the owners had it at his house. No raise that year but he had his home theater redone and big wall of McIntosh audio for his theater.

I should have left when I was told even though I was salaried that every time I worked less than 40 hours a week I would be docked a minimum of 1/2 a vacation/personal day. I was 20 minutes late one day and lost half a day. Did NOT matter the last week I probably worked 55-60 hours not including working 10+ hours on documentation at home EVERY weekend.

I have a game for them (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#45081211)

Now they should turn signal quality into a game. With their static bitrate feeds, a wall of text looks great but confetti falling at the superbowl creates pixels the size of cats. So, every time someone adds a channel to their 10 trillion channel lineup and wastes more bandwidth on something 2 people are "watching" aka fell asleep on the couch, they light your desk on fire. Every time someone launches a pathetically inept satellite that can support like 1Mbps per channel, crash it into that engineer's house. Then every time someone loses signal because of snow or rain, that customer is allowed 24 hours to hunt down the original installer of the dish with a crossbow. Eventually the game would make it so everyone wins and they wouldn't be such a complete joke of a provider.

Re:I have a game for them (1)

operagost (62405) | about 6 months ago | (#45085997)

I thought you always lost signal in the rain with a dish. I've never seen a system that didn't. Seriously, 100%, of an admittedly small sample size. That's why I'm still wrestling with Comcast.

Re:I have a game for them (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about 6 months ago | (#45086177)

this might depend on the frequency: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Absorption_spectrum_of_liquid_water.png [wikipedia.org]

Re:I have a game for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45095163)

No, it doesn't depend on the frequency in any practical sense. How this got modded up is beyond me. This is the difference between scientific theory and engineering practice.

Rain fade ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rain_fade ) is real. Both Dish and DirecTV lose their sat locks if there is enough rain or snow in the atmosphere, and I have never seen the exception to this but I have seen plenty of them lose signal. This can be improved to some degree by more accurate placement (the signal locating screens on base systems suck in terms of true precision, but so does the mounting hardware.)

But it depends far more on the size of the actual satellite dish and the ability to reflect more gained signal back to the horn during adverse weather. But who wants a six foot dish, in terms of expense or size, for digital DBS programming?

Portal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45081403)

The cake is a lie!

They did this because their IT is a joke (1)

metalheadsunite (1207724) | about 6 months ago | (#45083459)

Back in 2007 my friend and I worked in a crap call center for them and we got bored and found out that all of the shares for all call centers CORPORATION WIDE had effective permissions set to "EVERYONE" meaning that any one person could modify everyone else's files. This included IE favorites and any files on the roaming profile, as well as drop zones for operating system ISOs and installer programs used by IT. Would have been extremely easy at that point to steal everyone's password in the entire building, or just destroy everything, and wreak havoc corporation wide. They also only had restrictions on executables locally but you could craft up batch files to circumvent that. We did the right thing and tried to tell them but he got suspended over it and they threatened to make us "disappear" if we told anyone so I just walked out that day. At any other company all operations would have stopped until this was fixed as it was a severe issue but apparently it was just business as usual for them. A move like this doesn't surprise me. Their IT management is a complete joke. They can play games as much as they want but this is how IT debacles like AOL's internal problems get started.

Re:They did this because their IT is a joke (1)

metalheadsunite (1207724) | about 6 months ago | (#45083505)

Not to mention that the director of IT at one particular building is such an idiot that he couldn't even keep kiosk computers in the lobby running for more than 2 weeks at a time before they got virus infestations and permanently bluescreened. Had he never heard of Deepfreeze? I was only 20 years old at the time but could have run circles around him with a little common sense.

On Competition in the Workplace (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about 6 months ago | (#45084223)

Friendly competition in the workplace: Good. If done right it leads to better morale and an overall better work environment.

I've been on the other side of this competition fence in the work place. It's not cool. I had a manager, and I'm still trying to figure out if he did the following intentionally or if he was a moron. He hired 4 IT temps and told us all he only had two permanent positions.

Now, I'm not a cut throaty back stabbing type so of course I got singled out. One day I came into work to find my manager waiting at my desk to go over the work I did yesterday. Apparently someone had come along and sabotaged all my work. Needless to say he didn't believe me when I said it wasn't me and 2 weeks later with continued sabotage and I was gone.

Good times.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...