On the 1st of October, the European leg of the Nooku team assembled at Nooku HQ in Diest, Belgium to have a week of fun and coding.
We wisely planned the first day as a general “assemble the team” day – the perils of international travel soon proved this to be a good idea with me running late getting over two borders into Belgium by car and Stian experiencing some flight rescheduling.
Our favorite thing – coding
Being a gathering of developers, the fun really started the next day when we all got to return to our favorite thing – coding. Everybody had a good stack of tickets to work down and after some basic coordination, we got cracking. This is how most of the days went, coding until we recalled that at some point you might want to grab some lunch, delayed that for a couple of hours, eventually getting some quick food, returning to work for a another set of hours, closing off with a nice dinner and falling into bed around midnight.
During the workshop I learned to enjoy the flat structure within the team and how open everybody is to having their mindset challenged. At one instance we discussed a feature that we thought was good idea. Then, Gergo found a weak spot and instead of protecting the idea, everybody realized that it couldn’t work and, without any ego or clinging, it was abandoned that very second.
When working with the team over the Internet, I often find myself wondering about the quality of the work that I have delivered and it can be funny to find out that the other members of the team worry the same way about their code. There is a difference, though, in how this is approached in person compared to online. I think it is key to why workshops like this build a team at an order of magnitude more efficiently than by working purely online.
It is also why pair programming is such a successful strategy – you make a problem that was earlier “yours” into “ours” and suddenly have two brains in competition for solving the issue while exchanging their knowledge. Thus, “my work” gets more and more transformed into “our work” and that helps finding your place in the team effort that you are a part of.
Nooku Workshops and team gatherings are famous for their ice-cream fests. This one was no different. I brought a good amount of homemade ice cream over and we spent two evenings feasting on it. Belgians do love their ice-cream and their appetite for chocolate appears to be near insatiable – to my surprise, they quickly decided to add chocolate sauce to an ice cream that already was made pretty much, if not entirely, out of chocolate.
The week flew by quickly. I arrived home deeply satisfied not just with the work we had accomplished, but also with the friendship we had nurtured. I’m already looking forward to the next workshop.