Having Fun Leaving Your Comfort Zone at InVision’s xcon
It’s this time of the year, where DevCon takes place …. No - that was the case until 2017! Now we have xcon at InVision and xcon takes place four times a year! The week starting on 11 June 2018, almost all InVision colleagues came travelling to our headquarters in Düsseldorf, like in former times. Sorry for this nostalgic rewind but I am now with InVision for 11 years and have experienced every single DevCon resp. xcon from the very first one.
Initially invented for gathering all developers from our R&D sites in one place for some days of happy hacking once a year, xcon has now become a company-wide, huge open spaces session. There were colleagues from all our international offices in Chicago, Derry in Northern Ireland, the UK, France, Spain, Leipzig and of course Düsseldorf.
Monday morning: xcon kick-off
It is always such a great pleasure to meet all the other colleagues that you normally just chat with on Slack every day. Or to get to know all the newbies that joined InVision during the recent months. The gang of 101 InVisioneers (of 130 in total) rolled in Monday morning to get the whole thing kicked off in our Digital Garden. With a warm welcome and short opening presentation held by Peter, our CEO, we directly dived into the topics that we all submitted and collected beforehand in our Github repo for xcon. 62 projects were presented in total and let me say this upfront: 52 of them were finished on Thursday evening! It was a mixture of workshops, work related issues, projects with direct use cases within our work contexts and a handful of very promising evening activities. 😉
Swarming out after lunch
After the bunch of topics was presented, lunch was a perfect break to recharge fresh energy for starting working in different teams. And this is one of the special xcon factors: Teams get formed by the people themselves, following their interests. Everybody can choose which projects they want to join regardless of his or her daily work context. Leaving the comfort zone is intended and the result is cross-site and cross-team collaboration with people having fun together while exploring and learning in a playful way. Another special factor is the delicious food by our InVision Chefs who provided tasty, healthy and varied meals for lunch and dinner the whole week, plus an extensive breakfast buffet every morning. 😋
Being spoilt for choice
I cannot describe all of the 62 xcon projects, but just to mention a few:
- we had a team that developed a training feedback mechanism for our e-learning courses of The Call Center School,
- another team prepared and planned the upcoming UK user conference that will take place in London later this year,
- another colleague offered a one-day injixo product training for new colleagues,
- we did a photo shooting with all employees for building a new team page on our website,
- we had two workshops offered by our Learning & Development and our Lean Thinking coaches: “Powering up our communication skills” and “Know yourself, and the habits of your team mates”,
- and one group created an Erlang calculator smartphone app for our staff scheduling product injixo.
In the evenings, we had a casino resp. a range of table top games, one colleague introduced to us the secrets of pipe smoking, some visited the Rheinturm, the telecommunications tower in Düsseldorf. On Thursday night, a group went to a lasertag hall, others watched the opening ceremony and the first game of the Football World Cup in Russia. And on Wednesday evening, we had organized a coding workshop on SmartHome/IoT that was conducted by trainers of our partner Codingschule.
Friday: First presentations then the Big xcon Bash!
The four days passed by very quickly and on Friday morning we all came back to the Digital Garden to present our outcomes - more or less drained and tired. But it was absolutely amazing and energizing to see all the results and to experience how motivated and passionate every team had been working on their projects during the week. Even if every group just had a couple of minutes for their presentations, it took about five hours in total to get through all items. This is the point, where everybody was convinced that we deserve a big party after all that. And this is exactly what happened.
The team that organized the Big xcon Bash did a great job! We had an excellent BBQ on the terrace. A magician mingled with the crowd and showed some fascinating card and other magic tricks. A bartender mixed fresh cocktails and they were yummy, pixel-hearted cup cakes going round. Some played beer pong or table soccer and the DJ did its best to keep people dancing all night long. Finally, everybody had lots of fun with the retro photo booth making pictures that already went down in InVision’s history. 🎉
Next xcon is happening in September 2018 - already curious what’s up then…
Check out our xcon video!