Retreats are intentional aspects of our culture that push our company forward. They provide invaluable opportunities to build lasting bonds as a team and focus our collective efforts to work on the business. Taking time to pause from working in the business to on it is invaluable time that allows us to gain traction towards our overall vision.
This quarterly retreat we had key initiatives to move forward and therefore made our office the base of operations.
Our design and marketing teams had goals to also further Birdseye by continuing design, user research, and assisting the development team when necessary. In addition, this team had goals to make progress on our marketing strategy and tooling.
Born out of our own experiences and truthfully frustrations while managing multiple projects across multiple tools (Trello, JIRA, Asana, GitHub, etc..), Birdseye aims to aggregate our tasks into a unified system.
The development team has been excited for quite a while to spend quality time learning Phoenix/Elixir so we spent time doing just that!
Phoenix/Elixir is a technology we hear about often within our community which led to our desire to dive deeper as an organization. For obvious reasons, before we can recommend a production-ready technical solution we need to grasp all aspects of the proposed architecture, deployment strategies, etc.. Therefore, gaining knowledge through an in house product makes the most sense which led to our decision to build Birdseye on this tech stack.
As a team, we spent the first few days sharing the knowledge individuals already had within this tech stack and went through an online course as a collective group. Once the collective group was up to speed, we set out with the goal of finishing the week with a shippable MVP of Birdseye.
The design team spent time refining the Birdseye design system and working with the development team to ensure the holistic vision remained intact.
In addition, the team spent time laying the foundation for our marketing strategy and set up the appropriate tooling to accomplish our vision.
Headway is moving to the Rail Yard Innovation District! As a team, the excitement of our new space is building and we cannot wait until we are officially moved in. Our new space will set the stage for our next level of growth and become an asset that helps us achieve our vision.
We scheduled a walkthrough to show the team what the space currently looked like and give them the opportunity to envision what it would become.
After we were done we headed across the street to Titletown. If there is one retreat activity that we can always count on, it is heading out for some much-needed sustenance. When food and drink are involved we generally have lots of smiles.
We spent time as a group hanging out within an Airbnb we rented near Lambeau which gave us a nightly base since a few folks were staying there. One of the nights I sat there looking around at 8 pm and I suddenly had all of the good feelings about why we do these. People were laughing while telling stories, some people were playing games, and some were simply hacking on software. At that moment, I had an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness. I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity to create this type of environment/culture for our team.
Outside of hanging out at the Airbnb we had planned activities for a few nights.
At times we need to get our competitive juices flowing in the form of some team based games. Our team headed to Battle House to play some scenario based laser tag games. They quickly separated us into team red and team blue.
There wasn’t any shortage of smack talk between the two groups which added to the experience, but also made everyone that much more invested into the mock scenarios. I was on team red and I must admit that we were waxed that day leaving the facility with our egos significantly diminished. We received quite the beating from team blue.
The team enjoyed laser tag so much that we actually went again the following day due to the rain which canceled our planned evening within the Lambeau district. We then split into the same exact teams for the inevitable rematch with one exception.
Team red gained the battlefield asset known as Tommy Byrne, a laser tag veteran with lasting endurance and a motor that doesn’t quit. Whether or not Tommy made the difference we learned two things this day.
First, team red had the ability to dig deep and persist to become the champion. Second, if there was any doubt about who was more competitive between myself and Andrew it was erased from anyone’s mind the second Andrew who was a member of team blue began to lose. Forget this being laser tag, it was as if we were on the battlefield where the consequences were mortal. This made the red team victory that much sweeter!
We headed to the historic De Pere bowling alley to knock down some pins. It had a retro feel which led well to a laid back atmosphere of telling stories, laughing, and growing with one another.
Again, retreats are something we are very intentional about because of what it means to the team and to Headway overall. We took time away from our client work and truly moved forward as a business not only with Birdseye but more importantly with our culture. I’m so thankful that retreats are a part of our DNA and I look forward to recapping many more to come!
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