We were often asked by business colleagues and clients what we did for the entire 2020 without events. Everyone experienced a year without offline events as best they could, and we are no exception, but even such a difficult situation has a way out.
In one of my previous articles, I already wrote that I will tell you about all our experience with events this year. In this article, I, just the same, will do this. Although we did not work with business events at the same pace as in previous years, nevertheless this period turned out to be quite eventful. So let’s go …
New Year – New Opportunities! …?
2020, as it was for everyone, we started after a corporate party, after holidays with our family, after a year that was successful for us. We were inspired by new plans, tasks, conferences. If back in January we were returning to a working mood, then in February conferences began for us. But here we will not go to a banal listing of everything in a row, but we will divide the events into blocks by subject.
At the beginning of the year, we managed to attend personally (offline) some conferences, including:
Fifteenth Conference on Free Software in Higher Education;
C ++ Siberia 2020 (Philip Handelyants “Reviewing C ++ Code through the Eyes of a Paranoid”).
By April, something incomprehensible in business began to happen – some of the planned conferences fell off faster than anyone had time to adapt to the changes. Thus, we have successfully flown the entire spring offline season. It’s good that business colleagues quickly found their bearings and some of the organizers took the conferences online. This helped our speakers not to waste their energy and to deliver prepared reports. And already in May we began to slowly keep afloat and keep active.
So my colleagues made reports at the DevGamm online 2020 conference (Victoria Khanieva “Static Analysis and Unity Projects: why and how” and Georgy Gribkov “The quality of the game engine code: is it really that bad?”)
In June, we are absorbed online and are trying to find our niche by participating in some trial conferences. So we managed to appear on DotNext Online, C ++ Russia Online and C ++ on Sea (Yuri Minaev “Hypercritical C ++ Code Review”).
After the summer period, it becomes clear to us that online in general not our format… We decided that we would keep online only for speakers, but we no longer participate as sponsors. Until the end of the year, we managed to capture the following conferences online as speakers:
NDC TechTown (Yuri Minaev “How not to choke on a big old project”);
Data Fest 2020 (Victoria Khanieva Anti-Report: Does Static Analysis Need Machine Learning?);
DevFest 2020 (Maxim Zvyagintsev “How did we send static analysis to the clouds?”)
And a couple more offline conferences:
TestCon Moscow 2020 (Nikita Lipilin “What’s interesting about testing a testing tool”);
SQA Days 27 (Georgy Gribkov “How to make life easier for yourself and for developers: static analysis in action (using the example of Unreal Engine 4)”).
In addition to conferences, our speakers liked the performances in various podcasts.
CppCast – PVS-Studio Static Analysis (EN)
Generic Talks – PVS And Its Trees
Frontend Youth – C ++ for dummies
Cpp.chat – Episode # 73 – with Yuri Minaev
Pure Virtual Cast – 03.12.2020
Senior Software Vlogger
Podcast featuring both Philip Khandelyants and Yuri Minaev:
Generic Talks – PVS-Studio
Of the new formats, we tried webinars: ITVDN – Typical errors in the code on the example of C ++, C # and Java… A good opportunity to prepare a speaker in the presentation of material before large conferences.
Of course, due to the smaller number of business events, we also came up with our own formats. This is how our brainchild was born – a video marathon. You can read the whole process of creation and relevance of the format here.
Well, it seems not bad for such a “lean” year, but we did not think to stop there. We devoted most of the last year to our team, its cohesion, development, maintenance, etc., so we smoothly move on to the next section.
Yes, we have always had corporate events, but our favorite word was “optimization”, since we wanted not only to go out of town and have a rest, but also to achieve additional goals that helped solve the internal problems of the team.
I think it’s not for me to tell you about the difficulties with remote communication, interaction, constantly increasing stress and burnout. Depending on the appearance of a particular problem in our team, already on a significant scale, we organized field sessions to solve them.
We opened our corporate events on two holidays – February 23 and March 8. Everything is as usual here, the girls were preparing a surprise for the boys, the boys for the girls. We prepared gifts and treats for the guys, and on March 8 they decided to test us on the speed of reaction and ingenuity by organizing a quest for us.
Also in March we managed to get some adrenaline and went to go karting.
Then there was a long quarantine burden that seemed like an eternity. At the beginning of summer, we began to slowly return to the office, but the reality was already completely different.
When the restrictions became less stringent, we tried to make the most of the summer, both at work and outside. They mastered new skills: archery, quad biking, kayaking, horse riding, picnics and much more.
In addition to some kind of summer respite, we devoted time to introducing new employees. We organized off-site events in order to get acquainted with the internal structure of the team, but we did not stop there and in the fall we dispersed to teams: C ++ department, C # department, Java department + Tools & Devops and marketing team. What for? It’s very simple: we went through communication training separately.
We also managed to capture some thematic events. So just before the start of the autumn quarantine measures, we arranged a Halloween-style party ahead of schedule.
What 2020 showed
Let’s talk a little about dry statistics. In 2019, in total, we captured ~ 40 events (36 business areas and several internal ones). In 2020, this figure fell, but not much. We managed to participate in 23 business events and arranged 13 internal ones. A total of 36 events.
Yes, the diagram shows that the number of business events has become much smaller, and we compensated for them with internal events. This is not to say that the team was so problematic that we needed as many trips: D No! Internal activities overlapped many goals, which later helped to maximize the development of employees, their cohesion and productive work. Plus, constant activity helped to understand that without investing in your team, you cannot achieve results. Without buying participation in online conferences and other events / projects, we have invested these funds in our development, which we do not regret. Yes, we were unable to complete some business goals, but this is better than getting financial losses, a burned out team and still unattainable business goals.
2020 is not a sentence: D You yourself understand that any difficulties are, first of all, points of growth. Yes, there are very difficult cases, but now is not about that. Last year turned almost all areas upside down, and everyone was adapting in their own way, introducing new techniques, processes, systems, etc. We went headlong into the internal development of the team, and it’s cool! The main message of this article is that regardless of the conditions, be creative and proactive. “Something doesn’t work, because this quarantine / remote control / colleague / supplier is in the way, otherwise we would have earned hundreds of millions” – so-so excuse, but to try to see not the consequence, but the problem of the situation, and then a few more solutions to offer. This is great! This helps to transfer experience to other companies or to receive it, to come up with new solutions, which then enter the world markets. Of course, such a view of situations leads to development, which is very valuable in modern reality.
PS All activities were carried out in accordance with the decrees and orders of the governor of the Tula region. And yes, we’re fine. We continue to work actively and successfully. We wish you more activities and health too!