Highlights from our spring retreat (Orlando 2020)

March 2, 2020: Ron was unable to join us this year, but it was nice to have 15 out of 16 team members together. From left: Jay, Luke, Nick, Joel, Morgan, Jeff, Peter, Mellanie, Brian, Alan, Rachel, Jenn, Mandi, Marissa, and Kedron.

Just before things began shutting down in earnest here in the United States, our team was together in Orlando, Florida for our annual spring retreat. By the time we got our recap from that trip written, the U.S. was facing the COVID-19 crisis and uncertainty about the future. Knowing that many people were worried and overwhelmed, it wasn’t the right moment to celebrate our recent time together as a team.

Although things have reopened many places, our team has canceled our annual September retreat in Grand Rapids out of an abundance of caution. Looking back at these photos from March is both a celebration of our time together and a hope that we will be able to meet together in person again sooner rather than later!

Ask anyone on our team; they’re sure to tell you that our annual spring retreat is one of the highlights of their year. These retreats offer an opportunity for us to get together in a beautiful location and spend time together face-to-face. Our retreat schedules always include time for brainstorming, sharing ideas, and making plans for the future. But equally important is the time we spend preparing and sharing meals, playing games, and enjoying good conversation.

This year, we rented two massive houses next door to each other in Orlando during the first week of March. We posted regularly on social media during our trip, but here are a few more highlights from our time together:

The three partners doing pre-meeting planning over a meal. Peter, Joel, and Alan

Maturing our processes

While last year’s focus was on growth, this year we are building on that growth by maturing our processes. We often spend a lot of our time brainstorming new idea. This year, we spent more time discussing how to build on the things we’re already doing. The goal of this move toward maturity is both to continue to serve clients well and to continue to nurture our team as Agathon expands.

That focus on maturity will impact several different areas of our business in the coming year:

Agathon hosting 2.0

Behind the scenes, our team is hard at work on exciting upgrades to our hosting technology and services. We’re rolling out a new hosting platform that will offer more resources and better performance. In addition, we’re working on a more complete knowledge base where you can easily find answers to your most frequent questions. This will also include improvements to our ticketing system that will provide visibility into your open and past tickets.

Building automations and efficiencies into the system will allow us to continue to offer the personal support that clients count on even as the number of clients we serve increases.

Project management playbook

One of our core values is the ability to adapt to our clients’ needs. We work differently with clients depending on the systems and processes they have in place, their internal IT capabilities, etc. That won’t change. But as our client base grows, we also need consistent processes between our project managers. This will make their jobs easier and allow them to focus more on meeting clients’ need. Just as importantly, it will also make it easier for developers to move between projects without having to learn a new process each time.

Strategy, design & development content

Last year we shared 75 posts here on the blog. The majority of those were related to the WordPress hosting side of our business. We’ll continue posting WordPress tips and tutorials, of course. But we also want to share more about the strategy, design, and development services we offer.

Our team brainstormed together on topics, identifying the things that set Agathon apart. We also talked about processes to help mine the expertise of our team members without taking them away from their client work. I’m looking forward to continuing to share those posts in the second half of the year!

And because a trip to Orlando isn’t complete without a theme park visit…

Having fun together is a very important part of our spring retreats. So on the final day of our trip, we headed to Universal. Our very full day at the park included riding rides, exploring Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Springfield, and attending the Mardi Gras parade. It was fun to learn the “ride personalities” of each member of the team as we met up and split into different groups throughout the day.

Of course, Marvin attended as well. He flew down with the Grand Rapids crew and headed home to Virginia with my daughter and me.

Since we won’t have a chance to be together again this year, we’re grateful for these fond memories!

Mandi Ehman

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