Offsite Day – the perfect tool to have a retrospective and team event at once. Read about the experience of our team resulting in gaining incredible motivation and creativity.
“You’ve achieved success in your field when you don’t know whether what you’re doing is work or play.” – Warren Beatty
Our team, the Globetrotters, have discovered the perfect tool to
and all this in just one single day – it sounds incredible, a little bit like magic, but it works!
The solution is simple: having a happy Offsite Day!
Of course, you have a retrospective every now and then in the agile world. This works too and has almost all the effects mentioned above – but only in a short term like a sprint or even less. The effects of an Offsite Day last for months and change the mood, the motivation and the orientation for the whole team.
Actually, we are doing the Offsite Day every two or even three months. But that’s enough for us to get all the advantages of this event.
Other people of our company always mention, that we are looking so happy after such a day and indeed we are.
Of course, you have to prepare such a day thoroughly – you’ve got to set up an agenda and collect all the topics every member wants to speak about. That guarantees the success of the undertaking. But don’t worry if you don’t have enough topics to fill the whole day beforehand – when you start feeling comfortable with an open and focused mind the right and urgent topics will come up automatically.
And you have to be literally offsite on this day – no emails, no daily business, no tickets – just time for internal organization and clean up. This freedom should be prepared too: please do no updates or critical changes on productive systems before that day and plan the meetings, phone calls and conferences around that date.
Offsite means also the change of the building – the change of scenery is really important to get a distant view of the things and guarantees no physical interruptions.
And you should make yourself comfortable – this should be a combination of retrospective and team event. Good meals, drinks and a little distraction rise the motivation
extremely. And still you have a very concentrated and productive atmosphere all the time – unbelievable, but it is true, we experience this every time.
Especially in our team it is crucial to get together now and then, because we are physically separated. A part of our team is in our office in New York and the other part is in Bochum, Germany. So we are trying to arrange an Offsite Day for all of us each time the team is complete.
On this date we have the chance and the time to talk about the everyday pain points and obstacles and the ways to avoid or prevent them. We are also talking about the dreams and what could be the short term and long term future of our product. And of course we have just having a good time together as a team. Yes, the social factor is very important and should not be underestimated. In our case we are crossing borders and oceans, chatting about the commons and the differences of the cultures, languages and lifes.
Usually we do the Offsite Day at the Unperfekthaus in Essen. This is a perfect meeting area for us with an open, hip and alternative spirit and artistic ambience. There we have everything: enough rooms to meet, perfect tasty food and drinks and also some distractions like table tennis and a football table.
But the last time when we went there we haven’t looked up the program of the house and found it crowded with people from some piercing and tattoo convention. At least we had an incredibly yummy breakfast. After that we decided to go somewhere else – nobody of us was really interested in taking part of a tattoo or piercing workshop.
Dominic, our product owner, has proposed to go to his place and we did it without hesitation.
There we had several hours of concentrate and productive working and discussing. Now we have set up our minds and plans for the next months and are on the same page concerning the team goals and motivation. There came up several dreams and ideas just in case they can catch fire in the minds and become reality. And some of them definitely did!
We finished the day with an early dinner at Cigo’s, a good croatian restaurant near Kemnader lake – we were so stuffed from the breakfast, so nobody wanted to have anything for lunch before.
We have talked, dreamed, discussed and laughed a lot, gossiped a little and had an unforgettable day which we will definitely repeat in the near future.