A couple of weeks ago our colleagues from the iOS team in Barcelona came to visit us. It’s fairly uncommon for all the iOS developers to be together in one place so we decided to hold an offsite meeting with the aim of creating a distributed iOS culture at XING and building a strong relationship between all of the developers. Here’s the story about how it went.
The location? A castle near Bremen with everything you could imagine, ranging from a bar to a big hall complete with fireplace! We arrived early in the morning, so right after unpacking we had breakfast and started with some team building activities outside. It was pretty cold as you can probably tell from the photo!
After this, everyone met inside again for tech talks, which is something we do every week. As you may know, we launched recently XING 5.0 on iOS, a universal app delivering the best of XING information patterns on both iPhone and iPad. This was a huge team effort involving nearly every single iOS developer. But now we’re organised in different teams, with each one of them focussing on a different XING product or feature, so there’s always interesting stuff to share!
It was almost noon and we were getting pretty hungry, so we started our next activity: social cooking. We divided ourselves up into small teams with the aim of cooking any dish we like, but there was a catch! We had to present the dish using a haiku. The results were just fantastic, as you can see in the photo!
Now it was almost 3:00 pm and we hadn’t coded anything all day, so people were starting to get anxious. For this reason we moved to another location for our next activity: a blazing-fast hackathon. The rules? 2 hours when you should code any kind of game you like using Swift. At first, everyone thought it was just insane, but we ended up having an awesome time. You can find some of our projects on GitHub, but don’t expect polished results as we only had 2 hours to work on things!
After our coding activity, we went back to the castle and enjoyed the rest of day with a BBQ outside, including drinks and games at the bar and melting marshmallows by the fireplace!
Right after breakfast the next day, we started our next activity: a workshop where we ran through different activities with the aim of defining our team values and working principles, which was also designed to help us understand and promote the way we work. It was amazing that we really were on sync with everything already, so at some point we got asked to think outside the box to find ways to promote our work, which resulted in some really interesting ideas!
After the workshop, we continued with tech talks over lunch. Once that was over, our Mobile Engineering Director, Alexander Greim, arrived in order to assist us with the next and final activity. Based on XING’s openness as an organisation, the next activity was designed to answer our questions and provide feedback about a recently created role in our team: Lead Developer iOS!
This nicely rounds off my brief story about our offsite meeting. In summary I can say that we achieved our aim of creating a distributed iOS culture that now helps us to uphold consistency in terms of our team decisions, and we also built a strong relationship that improves our daily work. Did you like what you read here? Visit our website for more information about our team and current vacancies. See you next time!