In mid January, the TribeHR team took a break from the office life to intrude Hockley Valley Resort for a weeklong team retreat. Our focus was on an upcoming major project that is a critical update to our application and could potentially derail our roadmap.
A team of 15 leaving our office life and staying under one roof for 4 nights might seem like a daunting task. Having the ability to spend 5 full days of distraction free time with the entire team to brainstorm and plan out our biggest product change was invaluable. Yes, the days were long and taxing, but the advantage of being at a resort like Hockley was we were able to take part in team dinners, and other fun activities.
Our team goal was to have a full understanding of what our project means to TribeHR and more importantly understand how it will be implemented into TribeHR. Each individual should have the confidence and knowledge necessary to start the product in the coming weeks.
Our days usually consisted of team breakfast, then spending the rest of the morning in a boardroom with whiteboards, and a projector. We would break for team lunch, and then reconvene for our afternoon session. We broke up our afternoon with a refreshment break to hold us over till dinner. Usually after a lengthy dinner the group would go skiing, skating, swimming or playing smash bros and card games.
At the start of the week we had a list of questions that we wanted to answer, so each morning we would review the questions and plan how we would answer them that day. Some days we would breakout into different groups, others we would tackle them as a whole. We would document our findings and move on to the next question, at the end of each day we would review the questions we answered and then re-prioritize the questions left.
The balance of intense design thinking, hilarious dinner conversations and hitting the slopes with your team members kept the team fueled throughout the week.
As a team we dug through the trenches to come out with a clearly designed product and vision. Our entire development team designed the architecture not like at the office where you might assign the task to a few key members, or schedule a number of meetings spanning a few weeks. Our product team was able to better understand some of the challenges from the development point of view and communicate customer needs and problems. Our design team was able to provide more realistic mock-ups that clearly defined our desired product.
Most importantly, our entire team was in sync; by being part of the discussions the team left the retreat with a clear concise direction. We had also hired a number of new team members; this was a great way of spending time together, getting to know each other and more importantly, laughing together!
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