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Sam Holis
12/19/2018

How Slab Helped Rocketmiles Consolidate Their Disparate Toolset

A great documentation strategy is only as successful as the team's ability to use it. Every employee needs to understand not only that the information exists, but where it can be found, and how to distribute it to their peers. This ensures that information is being shared effectively with the whole company.

When the systems team at Rocketmiles decided they needed to streamline their documentation processes, Site Reliability Engineer Rishi Goomar set out to find the right tool for the job.

“Before Slab our documentation strategy was very ad hoc. We were using GitHub Wiki, Google Drive, and a custom built program to publish Markdown files. I found Slab while researching documentation tools and was impressed by it's fast searchability.” Rishi Goomar, Site Reliability Engineer at Rocketmiles

Using Slab, Rocketmiles was able to consolidate their disparate toolset—turning their ad hoc documentation processes into something that was streamlined and simple to use. This made it easy for Rishi's team to find the answers they needed and share knowledge effectively. Their integrations with Slack, Jira, and GitHub helped provide that information in the context that made the most sense—making Rocketmiles' documentation ever-present in their team's conversations.

rocketmiles

Creating an organized documentation strategy increased engagement as well; team members were better tuned in to high-level information and kept their documents as up-to-date as a result.

Slab gave Rocketmiles a path to a more cohesive documentation strategy—making information easy to find and accessible across the whole team.

Changing tools led to better engagement with current documentation

Getting buy-in for a new tool isn't easy—people tend to default to processes and platforms they already know and resist the idea of change. Using Slab's import feature, Rishi was able to consolidate Rocketmiles' existing documentation in a single sitting, giving the team a way to build a stronger strategy and engage with the new platform immediately.

Having a strong documentation strategy is important—it helps share institutional knowledge, bypass the potential for silos, and spread knowledge faster.

“We had two problems with our existing strategy—searchability was very difficult and very few people knew where the specific documents they needed actually lived. Slab helped us get rid of two redundant tools and made it easy for anyone on the team to find the information they needed.” Rishi Goomar, Site Reliability Engineer at Rocketmiles

Streamlining their documentation in Slab cut down the time it took to find an answer. This was important for Rishi's team as they were part of a weekly internal support rotation. Having a single source of truth to store process documents, runbooks, and how-to's gave Rocketmiles a way to standardize and codify their support process as well as share commonly asked questions.

runbook Example process map via Lucidchart.

After importing these documents into Slab, Rocketmiles started to see an increase in engagement as well. Slab was easier to use than their previous toolset, which meant the team started to modify files more often. That kept their documentation more up-to-date, which made it easier to digest and understand.

Product owners could easily create context around user stories and update Rishi's team without necessarily interrupting their workflows. This brought the team together behind a shared vision.

By simplifying the structure of their existing documentation, Rocketmiles was able to boost engagement and foster best practices. Each member of the team could easily find the information they needed to perform specific tasks and update it as required.

Fast access to information made documentation ever-present

An internal wiki is only useful if it's easy to find the right document quickly. Rocketmiles' ad hoc documentation strategy made it difficult for their team to find information, which decreased engagement and hindered the effective sharing of knowledge. Streamlining their documentation with Slab helped boost document visibility as well as team efficiency.

Rishi wanted to build a more organized documentation strategy—knowing where to find the right document was a problem for the systems team at Rocketmiles. On top of that, their current documentation system was slow and cumbersome.

“I've never used a documentation platform that was this fast. When we started with Slab I assumed that search would slow down as we created more documents but that hasn't been the case.” Rishi Goomar, Site Reliability Engineer at Rocketmiles

Cutting down the time it took for people to find the information they were looking for boosted overall engagement with existing documentation. The increase to document modification made the whole team's knowledge more accessible.

This made it easy to bypass the potential for knowledge silos.

silo Knowledge silo via Ribbonfarm.

With Slab, every member of the Rocketmiles system team gained access to more information. The knowledge that would potentially be held in a silo, or with a single person, was distributed through documentation. This made it more accessible and actionable for the whole team.

Making documentation more accessible gave rise to faster team collaboration as well. Rocketmiles was able to boost efficiency as the team expanded and ensure that each person could gain insight from their peers. Their previous ad hoc strategy would likely have buckled without this consolidation.

Integrated ecosystems encourage more efficient knowledge sharing

To make the move to a new documentation tool, Rishi needed to find a way to integrate that tool with the team's current workflows. Connecting Slab to their existing Google Drive and GitHub wiki, as well as Jira and Slack, made it easy to find the right information. Finding and sharing documents could be accomplished mid-conversation without breaking the flow.

“The most useful integration for our team is Slack. We're a very remote-friendly company and being able to search for documentation using Slab in Slack makes those documents easier to reference and share.” Rishi Goomar, Site Reliability Engineer at Rocketmiles

Being able to utilize Slab without changing additional processes made adoption of the tool much easier. The team only had to incorporate one new tool into their workflows. The available integrations also helped make some tasks easier.

As a team that performs weekly internal support rotations, the Slack integration helped streamline the process of sharing information with other teams.

slack

Rocketmiles could also use these integrations to help provide more context in these documents. The Jira integration shows ticket title and status:

jira

And the Google Drive integration allows for easy searchability across platforms:

drive

The ability to sync information across platforms not only made it easy to share their documentation more effectively, it made it easier to engage with as well. It cut down on the time required to find the right document and trace back its importance to a specific ticket or pull request.

Integrating Slab into their current ecosystem of tools gave Rocketmiles a way to consolidate a number of previously disconnected platforms. This boosted the efficiency of their team and gave them the ability to deprecate two existing tools, simplifying their internal processes and giving back valuable time to the whole team.

Slab helped Rocketmiles streamline their documentation toolset

Creating an organized documentation strategy is difficult when information is spread out across a number of disconnected platforms. Being able to consolidate the number of tools used to document and share processes makes it easy for the team to adopt and engage with a growing company wiki.

This engagement, coupled with a tool that is able to grow alongside the team, makes it easier to scale your team without losing access to or creating knowledge silos.

By streamlining their documentation strategy with Slab, Rocketmiles created a system that made information more accessible, shareable, and valuable.

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