Since we try to keep our carbon footprint small, we look for amazing places close to home when scouting locations for our conferences. As a rule of thumb, everyone must be able to get there in one day or less of non-flight travel. This year we chose to rent an amazing villa in Stenungsund, in the beautiful archipelago of Bohuslän on the Swedish west coast.
For three days, we got to hang out together in beautiful surroundings, hone our current skills, explore a few new ones (both within and outside of our comfort zones), and laugh a lot. We aimed for a mix of activities that would allow us to relax and have fun together, but also push us to grow both as individuals and as a company.
The fun and relaxing activities
As a special treat, all our meals were prepared by the talented Fanny Werngren, runner-up in Swedish MasterChef 2023. One of the evenings she helped us prepare our own gourmet meal, sharing some of her magic cooking tricks on the way.
To practice getting in the right mindspace and finding our flow faster Örjan Palmgren took us on a guided meditation walk in the beautiful surroundings.
During one of the afternoons, luckily under a warm late summer sun, we took a boat trip in the archipelago. We passed under the great Tjörn bridge and learned about the scary event when it collapsed in 1980 after a boat ran into it.
The company developing activities
We started off the conference with an internal retrospective. We tend to do retrospectives in our delivery assignments more regularly, but when we get together like this we like to look inward to improve ourselves and factor10. What have we done well lately and what needs improvement?
One of the challenges we face as consultants is to always deliver increasing value to our customers. One session was spent workshopping around how we can measure that value, especially when value means different things to different customers. How do we measure the unmeasurable, so to speak?
We like to collaborate to build and develop factor10 together. Management as a Service is a methodology to distribute management tasks within the company without assigning roles and responsibilities to individuals. During a two-hour workshop, we explored how to design internal services for our personal exposure, talent acquisition, sales, and event planning.
The skill and tech stuff
We’re tech-interested people, so there were of course some tech-related activities as well. factor10 consultant Andreas held a workshop on mutation testing with the purpose of answering the question: “Do mutation tests have a role in our everyday use of Test-Driven Development?”. The answer? Maybe he’ll tell you in an article later on.
We also got some esteemed guests! Erik Corry and Florian Loitsch from Toit swung by from Aarhus in Denmark, to showcase and allow us to test out their low-energy virtual machine platform for embedded devices. At factor10 we’re all about software, but during this workshop things sounded, blinked, and moved in the physical realm, like never before.
Building team spirit as a remote-first company
We strongly believe that working from different locations should not affect the team spirit negatively, that’s why we make the most of every occasion where we all get to hang out together.
Apart from our summer training cam…, sorry conference, we also have a winter conference and several “together days” (where we all work from the same location during the day and go out for dinner in the evening) throughout the year. And, to improve learning and impact (and to have more fun), we aim to collaborate with at least one other factor10 consultant on all our assignments. Come to think of it, we probably meet each other more often than the consultants in many classic companies who work from the customers' offices.