The offsite concluded in a day (half a day, actually) dedicated to discussing the new structure and practices. This was a day that I planned and executed and thus, was very important to me.
While preparing to this day I had a hard time deciding how to present the concerns we (Tomer, Nick and me) raised and the solutions we discussed. I thought that if i'll point out the concerns and will ask the team to add to it, it might create an uncomfortable situation where we have a long list of concerns that we *have* to find a solution for. This might be stressful.
The other option was to present the solutions and ask the team to discuss them but I was afraid that this kind of discussion won't actually draw people to share their thoughts and opinions.
After some consultations, I decided to go half way - Explain the situation and some assumptions derived from it:
We want to create 2 teams
Each team can handle any feature, regardless of project affiliation
Each team will posses all the relevant knowledge to handle any feature
Now let's discuss.
The discussion was good and vibrant. IMO, we spent too much time on big, philosophical issues, such as: "How to decide which technology stack to use in new projects?". It's important, but it's not day to day. Only in the very last part of the session were these question raised.
During the discussion it was clear that the team felt lacking a decision maker. I stated that I don't feel comfortable making pure tech decisions as I'm not the one that would need to face this decision on a daily basis.
This premise was rejected by more than a few people and we decided that each feature should have one person that will make the decisions. For me it means that I'd need to dive into architecture decisions more often and get to the bottom of things in order to help the team decide.
Bottom line was that I said I'd send a suggestions of the process and practices and we can discuss it. I intend to send the list Tomer, Nick and I worked on, with some adjustments, so all in all - I can say it was a good session.
To summarize the whole week, there's no doubt that the Code Retreat and the outdoors activities were, as expected, the highlight of the week.
The product and the process sessions were very valuable as well, and that concluded a very successful week.
Code Retreat as stress free coding activity
Technical review sessions
More opportunities to bond
Let the visitors arrange some of the activities