Picture of the Automattic Lounge filled with Automatticians for 2013 Grand Meetup

Team Lead

“Team leads! When I call your team name, report where your team will meet. Downing!” “By the ping-pong tables.” “Haymarket!” “Upstairs” “Oxford!” “… … …”

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is a distributed company. We all work everywhere. While there’s an “office”, we call it a lounge. It’s more of a home than a place to work.

Because of this, we get together annually for an all-hands company meeting, our “Grand Meetup”. Part of the work of the week is to break up into project teams. Organizers placed individuals from all across the company on teams to allow folks who may very well never interact to work together on a common project.

This is my first Grand Meetup.

Each team is given a problem and tasked with researching the problem, determining , building, testing, and demoing the solution during the course of the few days of the meetup, then deployed to production.

To my utter shock, being in a non-development role in the company, only 10 weeks into employee status, I am a team lead.

Funny enough, we’re growing fast enough that two of the team members either started on as of the meetup (yay Cloudup!) or technically go full-time after the meetup.

By design, the team project idea lets members of the company work with others we never will work with, folks leading others who haven’t been asked to lead before. It is a chance to help us expand our “social” network within the company while exposing us to new aspects of the product and helping us to stretch and grow into new roles.

It is a sprint to handle all aspects of a small project from conception to deployment within a few days, all while having other activities going on a well.

How did this all work out? I’ll let you know.





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