Unlocking Project Achievements

This post originally appeared September 2, 2011 on BetterProjects.net.

As I’ve talked about in the past, I’m a pretty big fan of social media and especially the ways it can be used as a driver for projects. One of the areas of social media that has always seemed a bit silly and frivolous is the concept of ‘badges’. Foursquare was my first experience with them, but now it seems every social media site (except the juggernaught of Facebook) has them. Even non-social sites, like Google News, has them.

But what about for those of us who work on projects? Should we get badges? Over at the Red Earth QA SIG blog, they seem to think it might not be a bad idea. The post lists some badges that QA analysts could earn, some of which are pretty funny…
Dead Parrot - You have an extremely difficult time convincing the developer that their ‘fix’ does not, in fact, fix the issue. After several hours of showing all the ways that the issue still exists, you are offered a slug.Jar Jar - Every bug you submit requires clarification. For this, you are made team lead.
I’ve been kicking around ideas for this post for a while, trying to find some awesome badges for BAs and PMs, but I’ll be honest, my funny-bone doesn’t work well with lists (or at all, if you believe most people). So here’s what I’ve come up with. Use the comments and add your own!

General Badges

  • Newbie = Congratulations! You just landed your first project. Here’s a helmet and a yo-yo. Go forth and conquer!
  • Old Hand = 25 projects under your belt. Most people never make it here, but you’re a survivor.
  • Grey-beard = You’re the person who makes Old Hands quiver in fear. With well over 50 projects down and still not retired, you serve as a warning to others what can happen when you’ve been doing this way too long.
  • Wide-load = Working more than 5 projects at any given time? That’s an average of 8 hours per week or less devoted to any single project. Do you feel that anything is being neglected (besides your personal life)?
  • Extra-wide BC = Your business card width had to be specially sized due to the number of titles you included after your name.
  • Social Butterfly = You’ve checked in at 5 or more industry events in the last month.
  • JetSetter = You’ve traveled for business at least 5 times this month.
  • Home Office = You performed at least 1 hour of work from home every night of the week.
  • Drop the iPhone! = You answer emails between the hours of midnight and 4am.
  • Name Dropper = “This one time, when I worked at XXXX company, we did…” is heard from  your mouth at least 3 times in the same week.
  • Dirty Harry = You’re a hired gun, brought in for your specific expertise… in killing projects.
Business Analyst Badges
  • Smarty-Pants = You have your CBAP or CCBA.
  • Verbose = Your requirements document is 5 pages or more in length to change the label on a field.
  • Buffy, the Requirements Slayer = Your 'stake'holder analysis charts are so comprehensive they include the cell phone #s of the company’s janitorial staff.
  • Scope Creep = Can only be awarded to you by a PM. Occurs when you slip in additional requirements on 2 of the last 3 projects after sign-off has occurred.
  • Cartographer = You’ve created flowcharts for everything, including one on how to decide if you need to go to the bathroom.

Project Manager Badges
  • 4-Eyes = You have your PMP, CAPM, PgMP, PMI-SP or PMI-RMP.
  • Under Pressure = You are the king of schedule compression. At least 50% of your resources on a given project have tasks on the critical path.
  • Braaaaaains = You’ve been the PM on this same project for 5 iterations. Its a zombie. It won’t die, it keeps coming back every time you think you’ve killed it even if you removed its head.