Felix Morgan ·
Feb 07, 2020 · 4 min read
We gathered team members from all over the world for a week of intense coding, fondue, and fun in Austin, TX as we sprinted to deploy Lagoon into Kubernetes and kick-off 2020. At amazee.io, we don’t believe in having a fixed engineering team and support team because we know that having the same people build and support our hosting platform means a higher level of fast and expert support for our clients.
This structure means that building new ambitious projects can take some time, so we decided to speed things up by hosting our engineers from across the globe in one big house to work side-by-side. We didn’t gather everyone, leaving some engineers behind in every time zone to make sure support kept running smoothly. Having representatives from every area ensured that we all made contributions and that upon returning home, our engineers knew the new project inside and out to share with their colleagues. This shift will change some of the nature of how Lagoon works, and it’s important the whole team has a solid understanding of what we were working on and why.
Remote asynchronous working is great, but for some projects, the value of sitting and working together can’t be matched. This sprint week gave us the opportunity to combine our skills and do some hard collaboration. To deploy into Kubernetes, we estimated we needed about 500 engineering hours — in our normal scheduling this would take a few months, but we managed to get it done in one week.
To make the most of our time, Michael Schmid took a few days before kick-off to identify the best path forward to a minimum proof of concept for deploying Lagoon into Kubernetes. On Monday morning, we held a brainstorming session and created a list of tasks and broke the team up into groups by skillset and to give people a chance to work with someone new. It was also a great chance to expand skills, and learn from each other.
From there we got to work, syncing up in the morning and evening, and making sure to punctuate long hours with team-bonding fun. Inside jokes, old and new, emerged with “Fondue Con” becoming the nickname of the week — there were T-shirts — and a standup cutout of Drake watched over the team, and sometimes made appearances in the bathroom to startle teammates. By Wednesday we got the pull request ready to merge and brought the team together over numerous fondue pots to celebrate.
What began as just another plan for another night, turned into the main event for the entire week! The assortment included Swiss cheese which travelled many miles in Michael’s suitcase to get to us. It also included bread, olives, and much, MUCH, more. The night was one we all were looking forward to so much that we even got shirts made. Even one for our honorary team member, Cardboard Cutout Drake, got one to wear all night while he watched over the festivities.
By Thursday, after four rigorous days of hardcore coding, we couldn’t think of a better way for our team to decompress than by letting them hurl some axes at a wall. So, we gathered the Sprint Team at Austin’s Urban Axes for an evening of axe-wielding fun and friendly competition. Less about the thinking and more about the thunking, it was the perfect distraction for our hardworking team. Whenever our Amazees assemble, it’s hard not to appreciate what a kind, talented, and eclectic family we have. Brandon Williams took First Place, so now we know who to call when the zombie apocalypse hits.
We deployed Drupal into Kubernetes on Friday right before a community happy hour with the Austin Drupal Community. We headed over to a local bar and arcade, Kung Fu Saloon, to celebrate the feat. One of our very own, Nicole, brought a hand-decorated cake to congratulate everyone for all their hard work. The team and local Drupal members spent the night eating great food and chatting about all things tech. There was food, there was cake, and there were games. It was the perfect combination for a perfect end to the week.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment of getting something done so quickly alongside colleagues and friends. Every contribution made a huge difference, including non-technical ones, like team members that organized lunch every day, cooked for everyone, or made and delivered cheese-themed shirts.
This won’t be our last sprint week, though future ones might be with smaller teams. We’re grateful for the chance to work and hang out in person and to take proud in the work that got done.