Verifa has always been greater than the sum of its parts. As a consultancy house, we strive to offer our customers the collective knowledge and expertise of the whole team. Communication, teamwork and collaboration is therefore vitally important to us. But to be quite honest, and like many other companies, it’s been put to the test these last 18 months or so with the switch to work from home / remote work.
In addition, we welcomed six new colleagues during corona times, bolstering our teams in both Finland and Sweden. So how do we build and maintain our team spirit and communication when working in our own little bubbles? Well, of course we have virtual meetings, virtual socials, virtual ‘donut’ chats in Slack. But you know that nothing beats meeting IRL!
VeriConf is our annual get together when the whole team comes together to work, chill and play together! This year we ‘VeriConf-ed’ in Finland due to the corona situation. We kept close tabs on the corona restrictions and were super excited that in the end the Swedish team were able to fly over and join us. It was the first time for many of us to meet face to face, and it was awesome!
We spent three days in a fabulous villa in the beautiful Finnish Archipelago. As well as enjoying the breathtaking views, amazing local food, and the occasional G&T, we had a packed agenda of introductions, discussions, talks, and activities. Particularly for this year, VeriConf was all about getting to know each other, sharing knowledge, building a kick ass company, and teamwork.
Arrival and settling in with a delicious lunch of salmon soup served with traditional archipelago bread. We played a few rounds of mölkky while waiting for our remaining colleagues to arrive, before officially kicking off proceedings.
After a welcome buffet dinner and toast, Jacob and Andreas gave us a bit of history about Verifa and VeriConf. In the meantime, the wonderful staff at the villa had heated up the sauna and sea water jacuzzi where we spent the rest of the evening chatting into the wee small hours!
After a hearty breakfast, it was Bubbly time. The Bubbly that helps with your release readiness, not the liquid kind ;) Jacob gave us a demo of Bubbly. Bubbly is a project that grew from within Verifa, to tackle the challenge of release readiness. A new startup, Valocode, was formed last year to focus on Bubbly’s development which is now available as an open source tool. This session was a chance to update the Verifa team on the progress and to get their feedback.
A lot of new people have joined Verifa during COVID, so we wanted to dedicate time to get to know each other. The floor was given over to each team member to introduce themselves however they saw fit! And we discovered a whole bunch of passions besides tech - a car hobbyist, a juggler, a tea fanatic, an extreme sports enthusiast, to name but a few.
At Verifa, we’re very open to initiatives for improving efficiency and processes. We use Tempo for Jira to help keep track of our time, pretty important for a consultancy house. Bosse and Ewelina gave a demo of Tempo metrics, a solution they have been working on to help our team keep better track of their time.
With a fresh new batch of recruits onboard, it’s a great time to reevaluate what Verifa is and what kind of company we want it to be. As we basked in the sun by the sea, we discussed what we like about Verifa, what we would want to change or improve, and where we want Verifa to go in the future. It was a great starting point for shaping the company’s future, something that we will carry forward into our weekly all-hands management meetings going forward.
The moment we’d all been waiting for finally arrived. We got to channel our inner hunter and it was so much fun! “Nothing but shooting and throwing for two hours!” they said, and it didn’t disappoint - air guns, rifles, pistols, crossbows, slingshots, throwing axes. Lots of healthy team rivalry as well as teamwork!
After enjoying a delicious buffet of typical Archipelago food and treats we once again took advantage of the sauna and sea water jacuzzi. It turns out that we have a bunch of board game nerds at Verifa, so we dived into our curated collection and played into the night.
The DevOps Challenge is as much a tradition as VeriConf itself. Usually it’s a mini hackathon where the techies team up to create solutions to a given problem. This year we had several non-techies (aka ‘business’ people) at VeriConf so this time the challenge relied on a whole range of talents.
Our two competing teams, Rocket Surgery and Rocket League, were tasked with creating and presenting a winning proposal for a super cool potential customer, Schwifty Spaceships & Sons! The day was spent brainstorming in the forest, ruminating in the sauna with some hacking by the sea! Presentation time arrived all too soon. There were nerves, there was heckling, there was some harsh but fair judging! It was close, but Rocket Surgery just edged it. Champagne all round!
And so our final dinner together, and final chance to hit the jacuzzi or a dip in the sea. Plus some more board games and chat!
VeriConf is a lot of fun, and an important part of the Verifa culture. It’s a chance to (re)connect, learn from each other and just have some fun. And it’s especially important right now, what with work from home and most interactions being on Slack or Google Meet. Just having shared a beer or a coffee with a colleague makes it much easier to share experiences and knowledge.
Our shared experiences and learnings from VeriConf will no doubt help Verifa grow, both for our people and the value we deliver to our customers. Looking forward to VeriConf 2022!
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