We have successfully finished our off-site meeting for 2007.
The main takeaway point from this planning meeting, as far as logistics are concerned, is that getting away is important. However, that includes not merely avoiding common distractions of the office (and home), but also avoiding distractions from external sources. In this case, our chosen venue was overrun by a glut of prepubescent children, and a seeming dearth of associated parental supervision. Of course, there was nothing inherently wrong with kids being noisy, and they were (for the most part) quiet during late hours, but we did not expect to have to discuss business with a background clamor. We will almost certainly select a different location next time.
Nevertheless, we concluded a very successful off-site meeting, having identified more than 200 separate issues, large and small, that should be addressed during the next year. Each issue was written on an index card with a general category, without regard for scope or urgency of the task(s) involved. We then selected and prioritized the most important twenty projects, of which (by coincidence, not design) exactly half are development projects expected to be completed within the next six months. Ten titles will amount to lots of programming work, though some of these will be releases (for better Windows Vista compatibility) that are essentially already in the can as I write this. The other items I mentioned in my previous blog post are also, not surprisingly, in the Top 20.
It was nice to realize that, despite an extended time since our last comprehensive planning meeting, we had not strayed far from the intended course, so our direction is positive. Conversely, it was disappointing to see the number of projects that had slowed or stalled in the past couple of years. Any associated regret is now consigned to the past, however, except insofaras we are more committed to maintaining momentum for all of our viable projects.
Not to waste any time putting the revised plan and priorities into practice, I am already taking care of a smaller final step on one of the bigger projects. We may be down to only 19 major issues by our next regular project meeting.