Every March all of us get together for around one week, for what we call the Spring Team Camp. Last year we all gathered in Okinawa for a few days.

Spring 2020 is here

For this year, we initially planned to have our camp in Da Nang, Vietnam in March. Unfortunately, COVID19 broke out in February and now has affected movement and travel in all the places where our team members are.

So we decided to have our Spring Team Camp(?) online instead.

Xoxzo People on Whereby

We split the Camp into 2 days. One issue we have by having the camp online is the timezone differences of each of our colleagues. We have a formal core time of four hours each day (between 1 PM to 5 PM) where everyone overlaps, so the time where we can have "everyone present" is limited.

Day 1

The first day started off with presentations from teams for Evangelism, UI/UX, Customer Success, and finally a discussion lead by engineering to decide the recipients of our Annual Open Source grant.

Evangelism

The Evangelism team lead by Geraldo went through the initiatives that we carried out last year, and what kind of results we could see from them. A particular note of interest is the increase in traffic especially to our official blog and the blog posts which received many views are mostly posts which DO NOT talk about our products.

All of our team members write on the blog, and it has shown that the time spent writing and giving a peak to the outside world on how we think and do our work is giving a positive effect in the context of promoting the company brand and values.

Blog access statistics YoY 2019 (solid blue line) vs 2018 (dotted blue line) Xoxzo blog statistics

UI/UX

Hyejeong came up next and walked us through the initiatives in user interface and customer experience that she has been working on in the past year. We could clearly see the progression in terms of UI which is backed by the changing ideas on how we would like our customer experience to be.

UI/UX is and will become more important in our products going forward.

Customer Success

Aiko presented her year leading Customer Success. Aiko first went through the statistics of the role, such as the amount of inquiries received, time taken to respond, reviews received from customers and also a breakdown on what the inquiries are about. Most important of all, Aiko reiterates to us the most pressing issues that she thinks we should be working on to improve customer satisfaction.

Aiko's role is one of the most crucial here in Xoxzo, where she is the point-person talking to customers and potential customers on a daily basis. The insights that she shares with us from her daily interactions are invaluable as we shape the direction of our products.

We're currently using Help Scout by the way, and it has nifty tools to help you pull statistics such as the amount of inquiries per channel and time taken to resolve an issue.

Annual Open Source grant

If you're not familiar with our Annual Open Source grant, you can read it up here.

As the last agenda for the second day, the engineering team lead by Kamal discussed and decided on the projects which we will contribute to through our Annual Open Source grant. You can read about the recipients of our grant for 2020 here.

Day 2

We continued on the second day with our last two sessions.

Engineering report and review

We're an engineering heavy company, and the annual engineering report and review is an important event for us. Team lead Zaki presented a review of what the engineering team has accomplished in the past year.

  • There was a total of 44 releases for Xoxzo and 11 releases for EZSMS in the past year. Releases include bug fixes, small improvements and major functionality releases.

Major functionality releases were

One release which we were especially happy of is our notifications plugin for Woocommerce. This is a plugin that allows a Woocommerce site administrator to receive notifications via voice calls or SMS if certain actions on orders happen. It is also released as an open-source project if you're interested to learn more about the plugin

2019 and 2020: Review and the future

The last session was presented by myself and traditionally is the last session in our team camps. We went through the financial results of the previous year, business metrics and finally our targets for the next year and the vision for the business and company.

These are not published publically, so if you want to know you'll need to join us.

Wrapping up

It was the first time in a few years that we could not get together to have our annual team camp. Looking at how things are coming along with the pandemic, it also seems that we will not be able to meet in person for at least the rest of the year.

In terms of the operational aspects of the team camp, it was much easier and less stressful due to the fact that we do not have to travel. But of course, the fun part of team camps is the travelling itself.

We'll see you again at our next team camp, hopefully in person somewhere on the planet!

Iqbal Abdullah

Iqbal Abdullah

CEO

Iqbal came to Japan in 1997, and graduated from the Engineering faculty of Saga University. After working through companies like Yahoo! Japan and Amazon, Iqbal founded MARIMORE Inc. in 2007 which was the previous version of Xoxzo Inc.