While Danny got to take part in all those most excellent team building excercises for the first two days of the offsite meeting, I was able to attend on the final day, yesterday (August 18, 2004). It was a day full of buzzword bingo (I lost count of the number of full cards I got ;-), but one thing you can say for Boz (Sr. VP of Product Development), is that he's a doer not just a talker. You know how there's those little survey cards you fill out at every conference? I was pleasently surprised that he (Boz), took them very seriously. After they were all collected, the data was compiled and in the closing session the results were presented. It was very open, honest and sincere. Also, at each session we were to identify specific “next steps” to take and actually assign action items to certain individuals with a real deadline to meet.
I've been to several of these off-site meetings over the years thae I've been at Borland, and frankly, they've been nearly useless. We didn't spend a lot of time actually discussing the business, or the processes, in concrete, directly applicable terms. This one was a total blitz of corporate strategy, competitive analysis, customer feedback, true concrete next steps, etc...
I also have to give a few kudos to Pat Kerpan, the CTO. He lead the technical track and all the CS's (and myself, the lone Principal Architect ;), went through several key development issues, future directions, competitive responses. Pat did an excellent job of both keeping everyone on track and out of ratholes. He also seemed to know when a few rabbit-chases might reveal something fruitful.
While I did, miss some of the opening day sessions, the recap was reasonably thorough, and with a few crib notes from Michael Swindell, I was able to navigate the ocean of TLAs. If you'd like to get a glimpse at what came from these meetings, you can attend BorCon this year and we'll be beginning to talk about some of these things.
Whew! I suppose I should get back to work on helping to get Delphi ready to show at BorCon... See you there!