Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(empo-plaaybizz) Hey, .@theappslab - proposal writing is kind of like Starfleet Commander

No, I haven't posted a lot here lately. My normal goal is to post one item on this blog every weekday, but I haven't quite reached that level of blog writing over the last week. In fact, this is my first post since Friday, and it's almost Wednesday.

There's a reason for this, to which I previously alluded. Remember my new (old) job as a proposal writer? Well, I've been heavily involved in a rather large proposal, which we completed at 9:15 pm on Tuesday night...or roughly two hours ago.

As you can tell from the fact that we completed the proposal so late, proposal writing is not necessarily an 8 to 5 job. I was working on the proposal until 9:15 on Tuesday evening, and I was working on it until midnight on Monday evening, and I was working on it fairly late on Sunday evening, and...well, you get the picture.

And I certainly wasn't the only one writing this proposal. At one point I tried to add up the names of people who made a contribution to this particular proposal, and I came up with over three dozen names. Now that's quite a team, and it takes some effort (and some fairly consistent Outlook message tagging and flagging) to keep everyone moving in the same direction. While I was certainly writing my share of the proposal (although there was one person who wrote HUGE portions of the proposal), a lot of what I was doing was shooting e-mails here and there, and responding to same.

Between the writing and the e-mails and the use of the other tools, I found that I was spending my days, and some of my nights, working on this proposal.

And then a few days ago I began thinking more about gaming. Because while I was spending my days (and some nights) working on this proposal, I also found that I was spending my nights (and some days) playing Starfleet Commander.

Now Starfleet Commander happens to be a game on Facebook which three of my co-workers are playing. In [WHOOPS, "If"] you're not familiar with the game, it's a game in which you allocate resources (ore, crystal, and hydrogen) to various tasks which help you build different kinds of spaceships, colonize planets, and basically cause mayhem in the universe. To be an effective Starfleet Commander player, you need to coordinate various resources, dispatch different kinds of spaceships between planets, and make sure that all of your ships and planets are concentrated on your strategic goals.

Does anyone else see the similarities between my day job and my nighttime play? Luckily I didn't start to confuse the two:

"Craig, I need that security information so that I can destroy that Atlas class cargo ship."

"Hey, can that Artemis class fighter support NCIC/III software?"

But there certainly are similarities between shooting up the universe for fun and profit, and getting a major proposal out the door.

Now I've previously mentioned how the Oracle AppsLab in general, and Paul Pedrazzi in particular, have looked at games and the way that they can be incorporated into making better enterprise software. Now perhaps there may be a germ of an idea in the parallel between completing a game and getting a job done. Now the dozens of us who were working on this proposal were certainly motivated to do so, but could we have been more motivated if we could capture planets for completing proposal sections?

Of course, we still have to win the proposal, and then we have to deliver the solution. If we deliver early, will we get extra hydrogen?

Well, I'd muse on this some more, but since I don't have to work on the proposal any more, I need to search for some ore, crystal, and hydrogen...
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