Get to know our Skyrise – learn and improve culture

Joanna Borowska
Quality Assurance Engineer
Joanna Borowska

Everything spoils in her hands. She works with many teams at the same time and smashes their work with a smile. Strongly interested in improving quality at every level and streamlining processes.


It is obvious that we all want to work in a high level of comfort and enjoy doing our jobs. Today I would like to show you some artifacts which we use in our daily routine to achieve this. It requires some effort, but it is worth every minute. Good organization is the base of good work. You can think of it like the recipe for a good cake.

Lean Coffee or English Breakfast on Mondays

Every Monday we have a common breakfast. It is a good occasion to discuss some topics as a larger group of people and think about solutions to make everyone’s lives better.  Lean Coffee seems to be a good format for it.

What do you need to start?

  • People
  • Place for writing – Larger or smaller board
  • Something to write with – White board markers
  • Things symbolizing votes -magnets
  • Timing device- it may be a smartphone

As you can see you don’t need a lot (but the more people the merrier) or anything too difficult to find.

How to organize it?

  1. 5 minutes for brain storming and thinking about the topics.
  2. Time for voting. Every participant gets two magnets (two because we are choosing only two topics per meeting) and sticks them next to subjects which are important.
  3. Count the magnets – we will be talking about the two subjects which have the highest number of votes.
  4. Time for discussion: About the problem and solution. Every solution has to be written down. A real life example: ecology is important for us, so we were thinking what we could do to be more eco-friendly. Here are some of the solutions that appeared on the board: Sorting wastepaper and electro garbage like batteries, trying to introduce garbage sorting in the whole building (not so easy), blanking the screens and applying recognition in Wake-on-LAN when we are working remotely.
  5. It is a good idea to choose one person who will be responsible for every solution and write it down somewhere so as not to forget the conclusions of each meeting.

After a few months of using this format it turned out that we have a finite number of problems and the number of participants was decreasing. In light of this we have changed the rules: lean coffee will take place once a month.

Alternately with Lean Coffee we have English Breakfast to increase our language skills. It is time for us to meet, talk about anything, but in English while eating some tasty food. Practice makes perfect!

Tech meeting on Tuesdays

Tech meetings are a time for team leaders. They talk about technical novelties and new challenges or problems on their teams. It is a good occasion to exchange knowledge or find someone who has solved some problems with another project. This meeting takes 30 to 60 minutes and lets leaders stay up to date with events in and out of the company. The hot topic now is artificial intelligence and GDPR, but also issues with Docker or Skype.

Design for ambitious on Friday

This is an initiative of the UX team and happens on the last Friday of every month. A one hour presentation about design or UX subjects help us raise awareness about users’ needs. Thanks to this we are more familiar with typography, composition and accessibility. If developers have to work with user interface they can use this knowledge in practice and make more conscious decisions. Such initiatives are also important for mutual understanding:  in our daily routines we only see small elements of designers’ work, so such events help us make our cooperation easier and better. Of course we appreciate their work more now.

Retrospective every month

Sometimes we see that something is not as good as it could be. It is time to react. Quickly!  And not make the same mistakes twice. The Retrospective is a good occasion to spill our guts. The interesting fact is that the more mature the team is, the lower the  number of regrets that appear and the number of good ideas increases. Such meetings are a really good occasion to work on  maturity and problem-solving.

What you will need:

  • Team
  • A wall or big board
  • Sticky notes
  • Something to write with – markers are good
  • Team’s wiki – confluence

How to organize it?

  1. Make three columns on the wall: stop, continue and start. Participants write their thoughts on notes and stick them in the columns.
  2. Every thought from the notes has to be discussed. If notes are similar we connect them into groups.
  3. After that each team member has three votes which can be cast for the most important notes.
  4. Pro tip: If some tasks are created during the retrospective – write them in your wiki, choose a responsible person and task verifier. During the next retrospective check their statuses. In my opinion, thanks to this method our retrospectives make sense: because we are eliminating bad things and introducing good things.