How we work in teams is key to how we exist in today’s workplace. But how do you try out different strategies? Usually the culture at work is already set. How could you try new ways of working together with lower risk?

I recently did something that I didn’t think I would do: I joined World of Warcraft. The way this started was by responding to @sleepyfox on Twitter about an agile class inside WoW. I’d been thinking a lot about the use of wargaming and simulation for learning. My hypothesis was that these types of simulation may not be exactly like a real-life experience but it is a low risk way of trying out a lot of different things.

In other articles I’ve written about the need for tacit knowledge transfer in communities of practice. As head of product operations at Cognizant, it is important to figure out how to do this for our product management community. Product managers have a particularly hard task of learning on the job but anyone would benefit by learning in the same way.

Why not try new concepts of working together out in a game? Why not see what management and teamwork principles transfer between us?

Growth hacking the guild

@sleepyfox’s point is that running a guild, or cooperative group of players, in WoW is very much like running any team with a common goal. The ‘release’ is the successful completion of a dungeon or raid. It requires leveling up characters. Ensuring they have all the armor, enchantments, potions, ‘food,’ and other items needed to successfully raid. Gaining these requires questing and leveling up various in-game ‘professions’ like alchemy, enchanting, fishing, and cooking. You also need a mix of characters of different races and classes that bring different skills and abilities to the team. The main difference between this and the world of work is that everyone in the guild is a volunteer and not paid (except maybe in treasure from a dungeon encounter).

So far during our weekly team meetings we have discussed how we will work together, the process to accept new members, and get the word out with this article. There are interesting challenges with such a geographically distributed group (I’m in the US and most people are in the UK).

Now I just need to learn how to play!

So far I’ve been able to get to level 11 with my dwarf paladin Ashbuster and there is still so much to learn. I’m only at 3 deaths so far! Probably a lot more deaths before I do too.

Come join us!

To join, contact me on Twitter, @sleepyfox on Twitter, or sleepyfox at gmail dot com.

I hope to see you out there. I promise no TPS reports.

Chaotic good product manager, Head of Product Operations @ Cognizant