My first big corporate all-hands. (Job 1 had a rumoured party that kept getting delayed from covid and budget....) 6 months of remote work before I finally get to meet (and touch!) the people I work with in meat space.
Arrive at the hotel (Park Plaza Westminster Bridge), drop off stuff in the room. Go out to the pub for a round of pre-drinks as people trickle in. Back to the hotel for the drinks with the rest of engineering, and up to the hotel bar for a final round, catching the last people who arrived.
08:30, company wide meetings start. Who schedules stuff this early?? So that's a morning doing not much. We try the hotel/conference lunch, and learn to avoid it going forward. Afternoon is a division level meeting (Division > Group > Team), and I do learn: oh, here's what some of the cryptic team names are actually doing, but also, why exactly do they count as "platform"? After work drinks happen, then after-after work drinks happen, and I think a final round at the hotel bar again?
Learning from the previous day's mistake of waking up for company level meetings, I slept in for a bit, only joining for half of it, I go on call (it's great, everyone is here, noone is deploying and breaking stuff). Afternoon is a big group level meeting (mostly) on reflecting the past year. We skip out for dinner further afield (Seven Dials Market), and I go to a music show with a friend. We end up back at the hotel bar.
A full day allocated to the team level. As only 3/4 of our team was here, we just went over a few docs, and crashed a sister team's meetings. We did have a solid half hour (not enough) with leadershp and product to go over prioritization, which was very useful. My weak point (comms) is relfected in the team's areas to focus on (education, driving adoption). And finally comes the big party. Drinks for all, dancing (a rare sight of me?), and chats with even more people. There's a late detour out to a different bar later, and that's it for the night.
3 smaller, more ad-hoc discussion meetings in the morning. I wandered into the wrong one for the first, but our team was tagged for SLOs there, circling back to the adoption issues we were talking about yesterday... The other 2 were just more general Q&A sessions on what you should/shouldn't do when building on top of our internal platform. Finally, it was just a stream of goodbyes and lunch.
Very useful to get some informal chats in, especially with people I've interacted with before, but only more formally through work requests. People are certainly less adversial face to face. Team, or for me, group bonding was the other key thing, you get a better feel of what sort of a person they are, and that will guide future interactions.