Crowdfire’s journey as a product had reached a crossroad where we had two choices lying in front of us. It was difficult to choose the right one — that choice that would be the best for our users. We could not afford to make a decision based on gut feeling alone; there had to be thorough research and reasoning involved. And that — friends — is how we decided to go on a mixture of work and vacation called ‘workcation’.
After about four hours of drive, we arrived at The Gold Beach Resort in Daman in the afternoon.
During an intense brainstorm session, we discussed ideas, shortcomings of the ideas, and the ways we could solve them. There were 45 of us, and obviously, all of us couldn’t brainstorm about one thing. As the famous adage goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. So we broke down the choices into 8 questions and listed them in an Evernote doc. By the end of two-hours of the discussion, we decided to divide ourselves into teams and every team picked up a question.
Every team had 24 hours to come up with solutions to their respective question and give a small presentation on their research findings to everyone. Before that, every team had to regroup at 7 pm on the very day and share their plan of action with everyone. Soon, the teams huddled in different parts of the hotel and started planning about how to solve the problem.
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The big question: Was it productive? By the end of 24 hours, we realized thatit was never about ‘making a choice’. All this while we had been (unconsciously) working on the one thing and it was a no brainer to go ahead with it.
But now when I think about the previous two days, I realise how important the trip was and how it helped us — as a product and as a team.
We are growing. Fast.
In the past year, we have grown from a team of 20 to 50. One thing is clear:The team strength is inversely proportional to the amount of personal interaction. In the office, we are either bombarded with work, or prefer the company of the people we are already comfortable with or have to cater to family and friends (those who are natives) after work. During the trip, there was no distraction and nothing to divide attention. Result: The new people loosened up, bonds were formed, we worked as well as had fun. Win-win, isn’t it?
The best part about the whole exercise was that there was no ‘Marketeer’, no ‘Developer’, no ‘HR’, no ‘Finance’ — no team whatsoever. Just one single product team — one entity — Crowdfire. We had to focus on one single thing — the problem at hand. Since it was a workcation, the evenings were reserved for fun and party. This also created a sense of urgency because of the deadline and the determination to be the best. This reminds me of the famous Parkinson’s Law which states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. It also taught us teamwork.
During the two days, every one was working on just one thing — building Crowdfire. Believe me when I say this, there’s no greater motivator than the feeling of involvement in the product that you are building. I love the fact there was no ‘manager’ or a particular team responsible to plan the product’s direction. Everyone present there were supposed to bring their ideas — however obvious or complex — to the table. Those who couldn’t make it to the trip were very active remotely. Together, the team has laid the foundation for the new phase of Crowdfire.
As Nischal said, “Productivity is directly proportional to the beauty that lies in front of us”. Besides, when you wanna brainstorm, you need a change of location as it gives a different perspective to us.
To those who are wondering, “We are not funded or cannot afford such extravagance and trips”, I have one thing to say: Hold on! You don’t really have to go abroad or to fancy resorts for a workcation. You can, once in a while, even work out of a coffee shop or a park in your area, or even near a lake or hills. We already have a kickass office with an even better view but there has to be a change of setting once in while. I’ve already stated how this workcation has helped us. We’re back as a more focused and productive team. We’re happier and feel more involved with Crowdfire than ever. So no, it’s definitely not a waste of time. In case you are still wondering “But why workcation?”, here’s why:
If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it’s lethal. -Paulo Coelho
[This article is contributed by folks at Crowdfire]