The time: 6am, Saturday morning. The place: O'Hare. The destination: Costa Rica.

50 of us, including TXI staffers, significant others, kids, and a few friends all arrived in Playa Grande, Costa Rica this past Saturday. Following a company welcome dinner that night and boat ride on Sunday, we've buckled down for the past two days working on new techniques, new projects, and new tans.

But this trip isn't just about fun in the sun. It’s easy for big picture items to get lost in day-to-day minutia, so we leverage this chance to take time, take a step back, and take stock of where we can make improvements company-wide.

Primarily, we’ll be looking at ways to run and deliver projects with greater efficiency and transparency. We’ll be talking about engineering best practices like automated testing and continuous integration, as well as the latest project management tools that will give our clients more insight and control around their projects and budgets. These advances will have a huge impact on our clients, allowing us to work more efficiently and cycle talent onto projects faster. They will also give clients more flexibility to change or add features along the way, without fear of upset apple carts or blooming budgets.

We'll also be examining how we communicate what we do to the marketplace. We've done good work for a lot of people, but thus far have remained mostly under the radar. Our marketing team has some great ideas about how to elevate the profile of our organization, and we're looking forward to putting that plan into action.

There will be a lot more to report once we return in early March. We’re so grateful that we as a company have the ability to take retreats like this, and ultimately we think our clients will be, too.

We’ll be uploading photos to Facebook throughout the week, so check in for some vicarious sunshine.

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