Here comes the sun, here comes the Hoodies: Hoodie Offsite #2
Note: all pictures in this post (except #4 and #38) were taken by Lena Reinhard and are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
The year is 2014. Europe is entirely occupied by Winter.
Well, not entirely …
One small island in the Atlantic Ocean still holds out against the cold. And seven people, armed with laptops, whiteboards and post-its, have arrived: to fight the wind, to embrace the sun, and to bring their beloved project further along …
Hoodie is still manufactured by a remotely-working team. Thus, these offsites are very important for us: they’re the only time in the year when we all meet in person.
And like last time, we had a fantastic time together. But we were even more productive than during offsite number one.
After everyone had landed safely, we took a look around our house and did the first shopping tour (one of many to follow – you won’t believe how much food and water seven people need). The next morning, we sat together after breakfast and decided to try out another system for timeboxing: pomodoros. We talked about the topics we already had collected the weeks before, decided who would join the debates and development rounds and which deliverables we’d aim for, wrote everything on post-its, sticked them to our wall and gave it a go.
And, wow, we did a lot. We started and finished our work on 24 main- and 20 subtopics, some of them one, others two or three pomodoros.
On some of them, we worked on in smaller groups of 2-4, others were discussed by the entire team sitting on our terrace looking at the sea (and our notebooks on the table).
Others were good for a discussion with everyone sitting on the couch in the evening, having a can of ginger beer. And some could even be gotten done during board meetings – in the pool.
“It’s not allowed to work after swimming.” — “That’s why I went into the pool so early.”
Well, and besides, we shipped an entire app. After GitHub’s announcement of better organizations, we spent an afternoon building an app for an even better view over organizations’ activities: the birth of Ubersicht.
And we talked a lot. This time, we were seven people (last time just five), so it was a good time to get to know especially our new team members better. When you’re used to working without the presence of other people, it’s a very new feeling to just see them all day, (almost) all night. An amazing one, if you ask me.
“This won’t look good.” – “HackerNews doesn’t look good either!”
We had again reserved some time for the fun parts: playing beachvolleyball (it was beachvolleyball, even though it didn’t always look like).
Going for a walk down to the lighthouse.
Cooking and eating together.
Sitting on a rock and watching the waves.
Looking at the sky and stars at night.
Discussing which island(s) we could see from our terrace (spoiler: Fuerteventura it was).
Painting a Hoodie-Flag which will accompany us on our trips from now on.
Making an excursion around the island.
Standing right above the ocean, watching the whitecaps.
Standing in the ocean.
Hiding in the rocks.
Walking along sandy beaches.
Lying in the pool and being awesome.
Having a picnic in the dunes.
Hiding from the wind (and the bright sunlight).
And, as last time, there was lots of “me-time” for everyone.
This time we often used for just having some time alone.
And, of course, there was lots of hacking time.
“Can you invite me?” – “I don’t know. Can we trust you?”
So, which impact did Offsite number two have on Hoodie as a project?
First, of course, it brought the team much closer together.
It was a very good time to define the project’s and each member’s personal goals.
A time for heart-to-heart talk, having coffee together in the hammock and bringing up new ideas while laying besides the pool or walking along the beach.
As experienced during last offsite, this week spent together usually has a long-lasting impact on the way we collaborate – it takes us closer together as a team, and reminds us of why we’re all working on this project (and how). It helps us set priorities, both personally and as a team, and thus this time can’t be valued enough.
“Where’s it hosted?” – “In Sheffield.”
The second, very important thing is that we shipped a lot.
Especially very complex topics or those which are about philosophy and long-term ideas and impact, are often easier when discussed in person. There’s always a huge impact on this side of our offsites’ effects, because it leads not only to new repos, issues and commits, but also to an update of Hoodie’s “big picture” and all those small steps leading to it.
The first measurable impact of all this will be published in the next months – and there’s a lot more things to come.
We still got a long way to go.
And we’re very much looking forward to going it with you.
All pictures in this post (except #4 and #38) were taken by Lena Reinhard and are licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.