New Concept – Gamification of Dev/Ops

Credit: killerzombierobot (link below).


It’s been quite a while since I’ve paid attention to my own site. Apologies for not creating content for the GNS3 crowd, but life happens and it takes something like an ephiphany to even put pen to paper. Since the last article, a great deal has happened including being involved in DevOps and loving the role as communicator.

I’ve moved on from that company and went back to my real love which is in Education. In this space, I see a real value to integrate core concepts of “soft skills” that is truly lacking with current technical talent. The criticisms I’ve had with highly intelligent, and technical people is the lack of social skills to get ideas across to business owners and application owners.

Ironically, my fiercest foe did show me that no matter how communicative a person can get, if the manager doesn’t like you, the ‘sovereign state’ that is middle management will be so averse to your life-altering concepts, that they collectively would rather bury themselves in spreadsheets and charts than get to the real meat which is putting into practice practical solutions and alleviate the hemorrhaging of operational functions that can be eliminated forever. In retrospect, it is quite possible to master one’s environment and even build systems around the failings that is a very human experience.

Carrying all these memories, I wondered how can any of this help Education in general. It actually occurred to me while attending the AWS 2019 Conference in Seattle, WA. It was there I realized the ‘gamification’ of Agile is the next logical step to get millions of millennials to embrace ‘soft skills’, understand why creative writing and English classes are supremely relevant (over technical superiority) and the ‘white paper’ has been resurrected in the world of Industry for it’s simplicity and adaptability.

You see, there were so many brilliant technologists, that it took someone like me to read all the technical posts on message boards to come up with “The Official Getting Started Guide to GNS3 1.0“. As I recall the term ‘Getting Started’ was not even widely used until I penned the 80 page document that pulled together the very best of a community that would be famously known for developing it’s own support arm for the GNS software platform. At the time, that actually ‘killed’ my job as the Manager of Support Services, where I literally wrote an article so clear and concise, that engineers around the world bought into learning for the sake of learning new networks.

Then I took it a step further and integrated partners like Solarwinds, Auvik and other lesser known vendors to create an ‘integration guide‘ which was a how to, extending GNS3 into spaces not previously conceived.

Now after all that, I went to a fortune 300(??) company and realized what was missing in DevOps teams is a person that can write to the ‘audience’. True story: A middle manager asked me to write about the new code our team was working on and I asked “who is my audience”. The manager looked at me blankly and said ‘it doesn’t matter who the audience is, what matters is what I think your work is.’ I knew right then and there, I was in trouble…

At any rate, I went ahead and wrote the paper in APA format and I handed out the 8 pages to senior VPs and VPs as well as my immediate directors. That white paper was circulated down all verticals and all of a sudden, a low level engineer captured the attention of the entire Operations Support on a single white paper.

Where am I going with this? It’s simple. I’m integrating my lessons of people I had to deal with in DevOps with my love of “gameification”. Dungeons and Dragons is the perfect system for a number of reasons. I will highlight two main ones:

1.) The dungeons and dragons scheme allows a player to develop their character very much like a person develops a personality within the DevOps team.

2.) The scrum master is a seasoned ‘war’ veteran of many failed Agile Scrum meetings (*raise your hand here*).

The twist to my methodology is to deliver small 3 x 5 cards that have two messages faced down in front of a desk in a meeting room.

The face cards will have the following information:

1. Something positive.

The positive thing is something like; “You are our new Subject Matter Expert (SME) of Cloud. Congratulations!”

2.     The negative thing is immediately following: “You are also Mega-Narcissist Wizard level 7. That means any conversation in this room during the duration of the project has to somehow point back to yourself or your contribution or both.”

The SCRUM Master sets up the room, and the project as if the project came down from ‘high up’. It can really be anything, but getting students to understand their immediate feelings as if you are just hired and working through Agile is the experience we are shooting for.

All those things in consideration, the point is how the SCRUM master interacts with blithely ignorant higher execs and middle management that has some idea of what the team is doing, but lack the experience to really know for sure how it will turn out.

Its the team and the team members that know directly how it all comes together and it’s the team that decides important metrics to delivering acceptable content.

Getting back to AWS conference, I’ve asked members from Carnegie Mellon, Athabasca, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and members of my own organization. They were all amused and felt it’s relevant when developed correctly.

Of course, during this process, it’s the support of total strangers and the ‘divine’ principal of the universe to allow this to grow, but if it does, this will certainly bridge that gap. Essentially, I’ve seen many changes in technology, but the thing all people miss are the small people that have great ideas and no voices. Hopefully creative people will be rewarded for such innovations. But even I know as Gemaliel the Elder once said:

“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” – Acts 5:38–39

Therefore dear readers, if this is a great idea, support it. But ultimately, I’ve learned whatever has been accomplished by me was actually THROUGH me for a larger purpose.

My suggestion is, if you have a great ‘card’ to contribute to this card deck and you actually have Dungeon Master skills, help develope an actual “land” filled with corporate language and verticals I can incorporate to my experiments. I also plan on recording my initial experiments to add to the use of this concept.

Send your e-mails for this to a new e-mail :

Subject line: “Idea for 1st DnD/SCRUM Game”



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