Chris Lowis by Chris Lowis

Week 431

After enjoying the Easter bank holiday Monday we got stuck in to some work for our client GDS before taking Friday out for a self-organised “away day”.


We continued our work simplifying the Manuals Publisher application. In particular we:

We also tracked down and fixed the source of some intermittent build failures in the continuous integration environment that were caused by us incorrectly specifying which types of build agent should be used when building the project on Jenkins.


On Friday we took some time out of our other work to hold an “away day”. We try to organise one of these every three months and they provide us with an opportunity to think about where we are going as an organisation and what we want to achieve. We also use them as an excuse to have some fun as a team.

We started the day in a meeting room at The Office Group in Kings Cross. I’d prepared an activity based on a blog post by Wendy van der Klein to help us think about the purpose of Go Free Range and what working for it means to us. We talked about the history of our company and tried to put ourselves in “the empty chair” - a technique for giving a voice to the company itself rather than reflecting our own thoughts. We collected together the results of these exercises and looked for common sentiments that we all shared. We’re still reflecting on how best to present these, but it showed us that we all consider the cooperation, mutual respect and opportunity to learn and develop as key things that make us who we are as a group.

It felt like a useful exercise, but one where we may have benefited more from having an external facilitator to guide us through.

We then had a great couple of hours at ClueQuest an “escape room” near Kings Cross. We had 1 hour to solve the clues and escape the room which we managed, in mission-impossible style, with 1 second to spare!

Go Free Range celebrate escaping the ClueQuest escape room

In the afternoon we concentrated on some nearer-term objectives and in particular how to balance client and company work and manage the different commitments we’ve made.

I think we had a very productive, fun day and enjoyed the change of pace.

If you have any feedback on this article, please get in touch!

Historical comments can be found here.