Using New Monopoly Visa Debit Card Gadget As A Project Management Tool

In their latest edition of Monopoly “Monopoly Here and Now Electronic Banking“, Parker Brothers has made some changes. Players now use a Visa debit card to keep track of their bank balances.

I can’t find any detail on how the system works but I’m guessing its one of two possible modes.

  1. The card reader/writer contains all the smarts and keeps track of how much is on each card, which just has a unique ID.
  2. The cards keep track of their own value and the card reader/writer just transfers value.

Either way, I’ve come up with a way that you could turn this hardware into a simple project management tool.

The usual number of tokens in a monopoly game is 8, which is a reasonably large team for a project. I’m making some naive assumptions about the equivalence of hours to reduce the calculation required.

So a project manager starts with a budget of hours in a card. The project has three cards to represent its state.

  1. One card which is charged with the ‘budget’ time for the project. (this card is given to the project manager by someone the project manager is accountable to).
  2. One card that is charged to 0 which tracks the ‘spent’ time.
  3. One card that is charged to 0 which tracks the ‘spill’ time.

The rest of cards are charged to 0.

In a regular meeting with the team the project manager allocates tasks and charges each of the cards with the allocated time from the ‘budget’ card and hands each task card to the resource.

So each of these cards now represents a task that can be physically handed to a resource. It may even have an id on written on it that can be tracked in a bug tracker.

When the task is completed (on or ahead of schedule), the resource goes to the project manager with the “task card”. The producer moves the consumed time into the ‘spent’ time card and moves the remainder onto the ‘spill’ time card.

When the time is up for a task and it has not been completed, the project manager hunts down the resource, transfers the value of the ‘task’ card into the ‘spent’ card and then can allocate extra time from the ‘spill’ time card, which may go negative if there is no existing ‘spill’.

At any point in time…

  1. If the ‘spill’ card is negative then the project has gone over budget.
  2. If the ‘spill’ card is positive then the project is under budget.

At the end of the project, if the ‘spent’ card does not equal the starting ‘budget’ then something has gotten lost.

If the ‘budget’ and ‘spill’ card run out before the project is completed, the project manager has to go to someone to get the extra budget.

Or you can just roll your own strategy.. I think the important concepts in this idea are

  1. Physical representation of a task.
  2. Ability so see at any point in time the time budget state of the project.
  3. Formalised handover from one task to another.
  4. Limited number of task cards, so enforces some constraint and requires some thought by the project manager.

The real world of course does not work this way and unless the resources were locked out of their machines without a positive task card, its non enforceable – but its a fun idea.

About James McParlane

CTO Massive Interactive. Ex Computer Whiz Kid - Now Grumpy Old Guru.
This entry was posted in Rants, Web2.0. Bookmark the permalink.

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