Everything that went wrong last year - and why that’s a good thing
Let's be honest, it's easy to write about success. But what about reflecting on failures and how we turn those negatives into growth? Here are a few ‘warts and all’ examples of process, technology, vision and policy mistakes at Gravitywell that have helped us improve as a team.
We worked on projects for too long without breaks, which made us take a step back and find a development model that works for us. We’re now using a loose agile structure, with 2-week sprints, clear milestones and structured planning time, but without too many ceremonies.
We lost time fixing Jenkins, which was much more of a pain to set up and maintain than we’d expected. This led to us switching to CircleCI, which has been an absolute joy and greatly sped up our CI/CD process!
We didn’t complete our hackathon project, which showed us that we needed to reprioritise and clean up our processes for hacks and proof-of-concept projects. We started setting up continuous deployment in the first sprints of each project and tightened up our review timelines so things could get deployed faster and catch blockers earlier.
We didn’t have enough time for regular testing, specifically within very fast-paced projects, which led to more bug fixing than we wanted. Because of this, we started allocating time and people for testing in different ways; now each discrete feature goes through self-review, peer review and internal acceptance testing before making it to production.
We didn’t become a BCorp, which had been one of our goals going into 2022. We’re still committed to getting there, but last year we were reminded that we want to be working towards genuine impact rather than labels or bragging rights. We’ve integrated ethics and environment into conversations both internally and with clients, and we’ll keep taking steps to do more good.
We worked in a bare office until we realised how much a creative, welcoming space matters to us all. We’ve now revamped it with plants, fairy lights, cosy sofa space and some art prints, and we’re feeling the benefits of an office with personality.
We jumped in at the deep end with a new tech stack on client projects, which challenged us to think on our feet and learn fast. There were some early hurdles in learning the best practices and understanding the documentation, but we’re now saving tons of time and leading the way with a great new stack!
We worked too hard, and eventually realised that we needed a break. A week of pure R&D in the summer helped us disconnect and come back refreshed and excited — and with new ideas for innovative tech!
We drowned in Google docs and Dropbox files and decided to tackle it by swapping to Notion. It’s been amazing and now functions as our central company knowledge hub, housing technical documentation, business information and innovation ideas.
We were too busy to write until Hugo
complained mentioned it enough and we realised that something needed to change. We realised that context-switching was holding us back, so we swapped from taking 1 content hour per week to a half day per month, and look: an article!
All in all, we had a great 2022 and a huge amount of that is because of the mistakes we made along the way. We’ve changed and improved so many things recently because we’ve taken the time to acknowledge what isn’t working, and listened to the whole team’s ideas for solutions.
The start of a new year is often focused on making resolutions and looking forward, but if we first take the time to reflect on past hurdles that we’ve overcome already then we can give ourselves a pat on the back for how much we’ve already achieved! It’s easy to overlook things that go well and instead focus on what more there is to do - but acknowledging our progress helps us to feel more positive and confident about what’s yet to come.
We’re looking forward to another great year here at Gravitywell!