On the first weekend of March, the YLD engineering team headed southwest for a really nice training/get together weekend at the lovely Bickleigh Castle in Devon. We had been wanting to do a training weekend for a while, as the team keeps growing and we wanted a chance for us to get to bond on a different context. And different it was - they even had the castle fly a Portuguese flag in honor to YLD’s heritage. That made me happy.
We started on Saturday morning with a presentation on YLD, its history, mission and future, to which ensued some pair programming work on replicating the functions of a crazy casio calculator that has quite a few quirks. It was nice to see all the different approaches the teams adopted and at the same time how team members sometimes struggled with the quirks of that little machine. Good fun.
Then we dove deep into soft skills and the art of dealing with technical and non-technical customers alike, going over some very interesting approaches and culminating in a really hands on role play workshop. On this exercise we had a team play a client company looking for a new consultancy company to replace their current solution. Some of the members of the client team were only able to do management decisions, while the others only had technical functions.
This led us to find out how hard it is, sometimes, for companies to decide on choosing a consultancy company over another. This was especially true for those playing the management roles, because they had limited knowledge - they never got to meet with these companies’ technical leads and engineers - and only got briefed on the technical side by the people playing the technical roles for their company.
At the end, the management had to make a decision based on the meetings and briefings, and it was interesting to see the diversity on the proposed solutions and what was the final decision and why.
This was my personal favourite for the weekend.
Not all of it was about work, so we got a tour around the castle and property, which is amazingly old, from the 11th century and boasting a functioning renewed 6th century chapel, one of the oldest in Europe. So much history happened in that place, from a queen giving birth there, to some game-of-thrones-styles overtakes.
We, then, held our own Barcamp style event, with presentations by the YLDs engineers on their passions and interests - with some really interesting ones, ranging from craft beer brewing to noise signatures in signals - followed by an amazing 3 course dinner and board games night, with some people getting really competitive :)
Sunday started fast with some hands-on Docker training and great insights from beginner to pro, specially handling some production issues and deployment setups.
Then it was time to get the last breaths of really fresh air, and go back to London again.
We are already looking forward to the next one, again this year. Maybe see you there?