Weeknotes 69–72: Retreat and reflect

The Convivio team escapes to the country for our first annual retreat…

Just as we have regular retrospectives on projects to improve the way we work, we also have quarterly 1-day retreats and an annual 2-day retreat to do the same for our business.

Last week was our first annual retreat, and we took ourselves off for a few days to a converted stone barn on a farm in the Cheshire countryside. We (of course) had good food and wine, but then also

Here’s some of what we got up to:

  • Reviewing where the company is financially after its first year — result is better than we’d expected
  • A mega-retrospective on our main new business work in the year, looking for common patterns in the ones that got away and working to improve our approach for the future — whether that’s in rejecting opportunities earlier or doing better presentations/proposals/etc.
  • Discussion on what to set as a rate for a pay-rise; plus how to go about developing a standard way (formula?) for calculating pay and pay rises in future
  • Setting our main goals (we call them ‘big rocks’ in the footsteps of Stephen Covey) for the next quarter, plus reviewing how we’ve been doing with big rocks in year one. Decision was we’ve been setting goals that are too big and long term, and we need to ensure they are clearly written, achievable within 3 months, and within our control.
  • Gathering ‘problems to solve’ that stand between us and achieving our big rocks, living our values, serving our motivations and so on. All businesses have problems in their way — we like to get ours out in the open and solve them together. OH @Convivio — “Wow, that’s great. We’ve got loads of problems now!” :)
  • Looking at expanding the sectors we serve, and how we might go about that. This is particularly relevant as risk management for next year onwards as the government sector could be very risky
  • Improving our approach to professional development. We’ve been too busy doing the doing, and not enough learning new stuff, so we started looking at how to change that in year 2.

We had these discussions in the big open plan living room in the barn, or out on country walks to combine the work with exercise and fresh air.

Lewis and Joe chatting on top of the hill that we reached after trekking across fields from our barn. From here you can see the more industrial world along the Mersey.

It came across that we’re all proud of what we’ve achieved in a one year old startup, eager to improve it further — and absolutely bloomin’ knackered after a year’s hard work. We’re going to need to give ourselves some good R&R over the next few months.

Other News

Lewis wrote up another case study about our work planning and prototyping a mobile app for a startup.

I’ve started gathering our work to date on better contracts for digital projects into a form that I can publish and share. I’m doing this on Github and calling it COAST — Contracts for Open & Agile Software Teams.

I went to the Agile in the City conference in Bristol. It was a great event, with a lot of very useful &interesting sessions and good conversations. I’ve taken lots of notes and will write up some blog posts soon.

Now we’re past our first year in business we’ve started putting in deeper foundations. As part of that we set up a pension scheme, with contributions matched by the company, and that launched with this month’s payroll. We’re feeling very old.

That’s all for these weeknotes — see you next time for the continuing adventures of Convivio…

Convivio is a digital agency that brings people together to deliver successful digital services.

Find out more at www.weareconvivio.com

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