In Woodstock, Cape Town, better known as the Hipster Mecca, resides the famous Old Biscuit Mill. This is where the team of Polymorph went for the monthly team day.
This was not any Team-day though, the goal of the day was to strengthen the team spirit between the team members and test the communication skills of the Polymorphers. How would we be able to do this in the hipster infested place you ask? Well, hidden between kitch and cluttered shops there is a company by the name of Hint Hunt and they provided us with the facilities we needed to tackle our goal of self- and team improvement.
To fully understand how we did this I need to explain to you what exactly it is we did there: Firstly they divided us into groups of five. We then got sent into a room where they locked us up for a week without food or water. (Just kidding!) They locked us in a room filled to the brim with clues of a made up murder and 60 minutes to solve the case. Every object and tool was part of the solution and the only assistance we had was a TV on the wall that every now and again would give us abstract clues. Every clue was hidden in books, random symbols and mathematical challenges. This did not only test our problem solving skills, but our communication and trust in one another. (It also tested our patience) The clues did not come easily and although some of the teams did not make aka “Team Almost” (hence the name) the experience, self- and team improvement was rewarding enough.
When I look back at the experience I see how this is almost a mirror of the daily challenges we experience in our projects and just like in Hint Hunt, building an app has all of its hidden clues, secret tricks and tools and without the necessary communication you can create a mess that could not only slow the project down for yourself, but for the whole team. Looking at this from a developer’s perspective I now have a newly developed appreciation and respect for our heroes in the background, the Agile managers. Although it is in their job description to give the glory of task completion and bug fixing to the developers we never realize the hard work they do to not only keep you motivated, but by bringing a team of people with different ideas and ways of thinking together and keeping them on track without letting it seem obvious. This may not seem as difficult to the untrained eye, but when you are stuck in an office sized room with your team and a certain time limit to solve a problem (which is quite mind boggling) you then and only then will understand the daily crossfire they work with daily.
In a nutshell the overall experience was great and the vibe among the team members was especially positive. When reflecting back on the day’s experience I would say that we have not only reached our goal of improvement, but also had a lot of fun. We ended the day at Woodstock with a delicious meal and good conversation.