Gamify complex projects by applying simple solutions

Big-scale projects can get scary. If you’ve ever worked for a medium-to large-sized company, chances are that you’ve had to take on a project that just seemed like a monstrous boss from a Souls game. Massive, unpredictable, and very hard to tackle head-on and without preparation.

Even if you’ve never played Dark Souls, even if you’re not a gamer at all, I’m sure you know the feeling all too well. Luckily, the business world has taken inspiration from gaming and came up with solutions for these very intimidating situations.

The ultimate goal is to not deliver behind schedule, reduce errors and maintain quality. So, here’s how to achieve that.

Rule number one: you never enter a dungeon without a map. It’s easy to get lost in all the caverns and pathways leading to side quests, and to lose track of the big picture. Let’s just say that when it comes to big, important projects for big, important clients, you want to make sure that everything is perfectly lined out, ahead of time. Study the assignment, the schedule, the requirements and the procedures. Don’t let anything surprise you.

Get. Those. Resources. Ready! Sharpen your pencils, reserve time slots, do (or have someone do) background research, check team availability and try to get all aspects of the project covered. It doesn’t matter if you’ll be making an app, running an ad campaign, migrating your company to cloud, shooting a movie or launching an exhibition — all of these projects require everyone to be on it 100%. Which can be achieved by thoughtful preparation ahead of time.

When a swarm of enemies is just too large to beat, lure them out one by one until you’re done with the lot. The same goes for big, complex projects — it sounds enticing to just jump in, but this usually ends badly (remember Leroy Jenkins?). Especially if you’re working in a large team, the sub-division of tasks and clear assignments and responsibilities will make everyone feel informed and in the right place.

Repetitive tasks are hell. And with big projects that are worked on by several teams of dozens of people, it very often happens that some actions are made repeatedly, without even knowing. That means a waste of important resources. During the mapping phase, you were able to identify these pain points, so bring them up during important checkups, to make sure that people stay aware of the overall workflow and progress.

Just like during a tough boss fight, when facing a big challenge, make sure to step back and clear your head regularly. There’s nothing like taking a walk in the nearby park (or even around the block) when stuck on something — the space and fresh air often come with new ideas and perspectives that will help you move forward.

Teamwork is encouraged when you stumble upon a task that’s too extensive / too difficult to handle on your own. Involve a more experienced colleague or a fellow specialist to get a set of fresh new eyes and the extra muscle it takes to take the obstacles down. Don’t dwell on things you can’t do on your own, turn it into a team challenge! If you need some tips on efficient teamwork, you can read our article on teamwork here.

Make sure to have a clear overview of the status and progress of each individual part of your project. Is the planning ready? Have the designs been submitted? How are the coders doing? Are there any significant hurdles to be aware of and worked on? All this will help you make sure that any possible delays and issues can be spotted early and solved on time.

Now you should be ready to face even the biggest of projects with confidence. It’s great to be able to draw inspiration for your work from completely different words, because sometimes the rules are surprisingly similar. So good luck, warrior!

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