VeriConf 2023: Barcelona, Spain
Bringing the crew together to learn, grow and chill under the sun at VeriConf, our annual offsite!
Published on Tue Sep 26 2023
VeriConf is our annual offsite bringing our whole crew together, from Finland and Sweden, creating the perfect blend of work, relaxation, and learning. This year we jetted off to Spain, staying at the beautiful Masia Vallfort, a beautiful medieval farmhouse dating back to the 15th century, nestled amongst the vineyards just outside of Barcelona.
As well as enjoying the awesome views, chilling by the pool, and the occasional glass of cava, we got a ton of work done! Here’s what we got up to.
After enjoying a delicious breakfast on the veranda and untangling ourselves from a human knot (!), we created the agenda for the day by voting for the proposed sessions.
VeriConf 2022 Retrospectivepermalink
The first session was a retrospective of VeriConf 2022. While it’s easy to be swept away by a flood of great ideas and initiatives during the event, it’s important to evaluate whether we were able to effectively execute them.
Looking back at the four most important things for us to improve/start/stop:
- Improve financial visibility: financials are now included in our in-house metrics dashboard.
- More company get togethers: we held two VeriMeets in Lund (JulLund) and Gothenburg (VeriGoth) since last VeriConf.
- Improve upon our Continuous Delivery workshop: we’ve had quite a bit of interest in how we help teams improve their software delivery performance, continuous improvement for continuous delivery.
- Stop working alone: we now have consultants working together on some customer projects, which benefits both our customers and our employee’s wellbeing.
We all agreed that we need a new streamlined approach to OKRs - Objectives and Key Results. This approach should consider the limited time available for consultants to work on OKRs.
First, we reviewed and set the company-level Objectives. Then, we agreed on one Initiative per Objective and assigned two volunteers to each Initiative. Any ideas are added to an Initiative backlog.
We established a more agile process:
- Initiatives update at our weekly Friday meeting
- If an Initiative is complete:
- Quick retro on how it went and how it moved us closer to the Objective
- Start a new Initiative towards the same Objective
- If an Objective is complete, book an Opt-In meeting for:
- A retro
- Agree a new Objective
- Start a new Initiative
This way we have a limited number of Initiatives running in parallel, and can be more focussed, moving us closer to our Objectives. Let’s see how it goes!
Jacob presented an update on an internal project, Coastline, about building internal platforms, followed by a brainstorming session on use cases. You can check out the original presentation at DevOps Finland meet up here [video].
Wine tasting at Pares Balta
Winery Tour & Tastingpermalink
During our stay in the Penedès region, known for producing 95% of Spain’s cava, it would have been rude not to try some! We had an amazing experience with a tour and tasting at Pares Balta. We had the opportunity to explore the vineyards, learn about the process of making wine and cava, and visit the cellar where the cavas are aged. To top it off, we got to taste 8 of their wines.
After some chill time by the pool, it was time for Powerpoint Karaoke! Powerpoint Karaoke is an improv game where you give a presentation from a slide deck you’ve never seen before. It’s fast becoming a VeriConf tradition. Prior to the event, everyone prepared a slide deck. During the game, presenters randomly selected a deck, and much hilarity ensued. Here are our slide decks if you want to have a go, or create your own!
Please let us know if any of the images are yours and copyrighted, and we will delete them.
Laroy, Albert and Zach wowing us with their Powerpoint Karaoke skillz
Day 2 kicked off with a demo by Mike on VeriSec(ure). Mike’s finishing his Master’s Thesis with a focus on security. VeriSec(ure) is a website created by Mike that provides practical information and opinions on security tools and practices, tailor-made for Verifa.
Instead of trying to prevent people from building insecurely, we should enable them to build in a secure way.
We reviewed the key points discussed during VeriConf 2022 and identified areas for improvement and new situations that require attention moving forward.
- Metrics is our internal dashboard used to measure employee well-being and company health. Now that we’ve incorporated company financial data, the next step is to create forecasts for both financials and consultant projects.
- VeriMeets are smaller company gatherings. In addition to VeriConf, we’ve decided to hold two VeriMeets per year: VeriHel - Christmas in Helsinki, and VeriLund - Easter in Lund.
- VeriFridays and Opt-ins. VeriFriday is a designated 20% work time allocation for personal and company development. Opt-ins are open sessions throughout the week for sharing, brainstorming, and discussing burning topics. Due to customer commitments during the week, neither were being effectively utilised. As a solution, we shifted Opt-ins to Fridays, and they have been fully booked so far!
- Customer training workshops. In addition to ongoing consultancy work, we have also conducted customer training workshops that were well-received. We decided to continue offering these workshops as they provide a valuable project for employees on the bench and as an added benefit for our customers.
Pub Quiz: the victors, Team Delique (Laroy, Jacob & Lauri)
This year’s VeriConf concluded with a somewhat challenging pub quiz, organised and hosted by Quiz Master Andreas. After 14 rounds covering various topics such as music, history, food, geography, and a sprinkling of DevOps and sysadmin, the victors emerged triumphant. Congratulations to Team Delique, the nerdiest of them all!
We say it at every VeriConf and VeriMeet, but it’s worth repeating: the most valuable aspect of these offsites is simply spending time together, sharing knowledge, brainstorming ideas, and having fun. By spending quality time together, we create an environment that encourages open discussions, promotes collaboration, and ultimately leads to a more productive and enjoyable experience. Looking forward to VeriHel, when we get to create more awesome memories together!