62 Engineers, 1 All-inclusive hotel

Cosima Laube in Conference 6 minutes read July 14, 2017

Early in May this year, all HolidayCheck IT engineers, Scrum masters and line managers from all our locations in Poland, Germany and Switzerland had their regular all-developers meetup.

A great unconference location…

As I was just two months with HolidayCheck back then, I learned one major thing was new about the meetup this time: we all boarded planes with one sunny seaside location… a huge all-inclusive hotel in Turkey.

the all developers meetup venue

Of course this location was not chosen just for fun but to feel closer to our customers, the Urlaubers. And it provided decent conditions for conducting two full days of an Open Space unconference mixed with plenty of opportunities to connect with people one just knew from Slack chat or the GitHub commit history.

“Open Space creates a stable, methodic frame, where many people can work on their issues self-organized and self-responsible. The goal is to work on essential, innovative and solution focused subjects in a short time with a big number of people.” (Bettina Ruggeri, one of my Scrum Master colleagues at HolidayCheck)

… and awesome outcomes for real work-life

one of the sessions at a restaurant

We had over 40 sessions for both days from discussions to live coding and also creating & incubating new ideas and actions. For example a couple of Communities of Practise (CoP) e.g. on Scala or Testing were started or promoted by these intense days at the beach. The reboot of this very blog was another project that was started during the meetup and of course we tweeted about this event because we love to share our knowledge.

The days after the meetup you could hear fun stories and memories being shared almost everywhere. And the weeks after the teams and people earned the fruits of this investment our company made for us: people started travelling more often to other locations, distributed teams started working co-located for a period to get stuff done even better.. and now you simply knew whom to ask for what. One of my colleagues told me with a twinkle in his eye that the FPM rate (flames per minute) on a hot-topic Slack channel reduced to almost zero and the former flaming was replaced by constructive and valuable exchange.

For me as a former software engineer who ‘went Scrum master’ now it was amazing to see that successful gathering happen. I enjoyed connecting with many different people, learning what my colleagues are technically doing, hearing about painpoints as well as our treasures and simply having fun together.