Five Lessons IT Can Learn from Flappy Bird

General | February 17, 2014 | 3 min read

Flappy Bird

Hi, my name is Mason, and it’s been 36 minutes since I last played Flappy Bird. My current high score is 24.

If you are anything like me, playing the latest viral mobile app phenomenon, Flappy Bird, has been equal parts joy, frustration, and addiction. The same could probably be said for the game’s creator Dong Nguyen, who followed through with his promise to take the game down from the app stores last week. Nguyen claims he took down the incredibly popular game due to its addictive nature. He said he designed the game to be a fun time waster, not one that would draw all the (perceivably) negative attention.

While I certainly can respect his altruistic reason for taking the game down, I’m sorry to see IT might miss out on some lessons we all could  learn from the game’s simplistic, yet highly successful, premise. So close out your game, put down your smartphone, and take a look at the five lessons IT can learn from the now “retired” Flappy Bird.

  1. Practice makes perfect

In a game like Flappy Bird, timing and rhythm are key. You quickly realize this after smacking head first into one of the strangely Mario Bros.-looking green pipes. They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the same could be said for mastering Flappy Bird. Practicing the rhythm of tapping to make your bird fly and fall is the only way to continually improve your high score.  The same can be said for working in IT. With technology ever evolving, you naturally become a more skilled IT pro when you frequently work with the latest and greatest tools to proactively manage your IT infrastructure.

  1. Overcoming challenges can be rewarding

Setting a new high score in Flappy Bird can be a momentous occasion for an individual. I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I’ve seen of friends boastfully proclaiming their latest high scores. Many IT technicians say they entered the field because they like the challenge of working with complex and critical equipment in a fast paced, always changing enviroment. Additionally, countless help desk techs have told me there’s nothing more rewarding than helping users solve their problems so in turn, they can stay productive.

  1. One false move can spell disaster

Frustrated game players will tell you, barely grazing the top, bottom, or side of a malicious green pipe causes instant death for your little birdy, not to mention a growing anger in the player’s belly. Similarly, IT teams work under some immense pressure where changing a seemingly nondescript setting here or — the ultimate “oops” — unplugging a cable can lead to a number of unwanted headaches.

  1. Simplicity is everything

If there was a poll of the most common mistakes made in Flappy Bird, I’m guessing the resounding top response would be overthinking. It’s probably a safe bet that many IT professionals would say the same thing in a similar poll related to IT infrastructure mistakes. Simple fixes for problems big or small may not always solve the problem, but it’s best to start by addressing issues with the most simple solution and then moving on to something more complex. That way you don’t spend more time than is actually needed on finding a solution.

  1. Competition makes everyone stronger

The aforementioned Facebook posts from my friends boasting top scores almost always lead to someone saying, “Oh yeah, well, I can beat that!” The game’s rise in popularity can logicaly be directly attributed to its competitive nature. IT team meetings can also become Flappy Birdesque when team members proudly announce how quickly a request was handled or how many tickets they closed this week. In fact, we constantly hear from our customers about creative contests, prizes, or other incentives they’ve come up with to make their teams more engaged, inspired, and to create some friendly competition.

So even though Flappy Bird now rests peacefully in the fallen app graveyard, IT remains running strong as ever. While the two may have completely different endings to their respective stories, the same lessons can be taken from both. Keep these lessons in mind when facing your next IT crisis, and you’ll be in good shape to deal with whatever might come your way.

By the way, it’s taken me about 45 minutes to write this blog, and I’m proud to say I only played Flappy Bird once since I started.

My high score remains 24. Can you top it?

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