Two weeks ago our team (Hermes) at work got together in Durham North Carolina to spend time together and plan our coming months. As I’m sure most readers of my blog know, Automattic is a fully distributed company. So while we communicate all the time, it’s rare we get to spend time in person together. That makes the time we do get all the more important.
Even though I’ve only been on a couple meetups, one team, and one company wide, I don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me the awesome people I work with. Since the last team meetup we went on our team has changed a great deal. In fact there are a number of people on the team who weren’t at the Grand Meetup in October so I hadn’t met them yet, so I was really excited for this one.
While I was excited I was also pretty nervous. I volunteered to organize and plan the work we would be doing while together. With the help of my colleague Simon who introduced me to it at our last team meetup, I came up with different activities using Game Storming. This was something out of my comfort zone but very was really fun and seemed to go pretty well for my first attempt. We spent our work days exploring different questions to help bring our large team together and come up with a shared understanding of what our teams contribution to the company goals over all should be, and what we can do to get there.
Although we accomplished a lot work wise during the week, I think my favourite part are the connections we build. When you spend a week working closely, eating meals, and spending fun time together outside of your normal day to day routine, it really seems to speed up this bonding process. A couple team mates have said that after returning from meetups they can now hear the persons voice when reading things they’ve written. It just helps add that extra bit of context to written communication when you have a better feeling for the personality behind the words.
Durham is a neat city. It is really easy to get around, which is great, as it gave us the opportunity to explore it by walking. In the mornings some of us would get together and go wandering. It’s also how we went to most meals as well. The weather was beautiful just about the whole time we where there and I miss my early morning runs and being able to wear shorts and t-shirt.
We were staying right beside the beautiful Duke campus which we walked around. A group of us also spent a lot of time one day taking in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Coming from a place barely hitting spring and seeing all the flowers in bloom and all the green trees made for a memorable time.
Things are in the planning stage for this years company wide meetup and I’m already looking forward to seeing all these folks again.
Here are some pictures from my iPhone of Durham and the people I’m fortunate enough to call team mates!