Carrot Fertility

Building a Culture of Documentation

At a glance

Problem

The engineering team relied on ad hoc, non-standardized procedures and tribal knowledge to build internal processes, which wasn't scalable.

Solution

Using Slab, Carrot accelerated new document creation and made existing documents easier to find, which fostered asynchronous collaboration and scalability.

Key Points

  • Decreases cognitive effort by standardizing documentation processes
  • Builds living documents that scale as the company grows
  • Encourages asynchronous collaboration to give every employee a voice

When Pat Cullen joined fertility benefits company Carrot as Head of Engineering, they were just starting to build out all kinds of internal processes.

He knew the engineering team needed a way to change their current ad hoc documentation strategy in order to make it scalable. Without a change, their documentation could easily get confusing and unusable.

This not only required a shift in the type of documents they created but a fundamental change in the way the Carrot team thought about their entire documentation strategy. They needed to provide their peers with up-to-date and valuable information seamlessly, and a collection of documents in a shared Google Drive just wouldn't cut it.

In just three months, Pat took an engineering team that mostly relied on ad hoc, non-standardized procedures and turned it into a culture of rigorous and comprehensive documentation. As a remote-friendly team, this change was very important. The way information moves between team members who work remotely is different from the way it moves in an office where working together every day makes it easier to share information directly through face-to-face interactions.

Using Slab, the engineering team at Carrot built an internal wiki with living documents that grew alongside the team.

Slab gave us a way to create documentation that grew with the team without having to spend the time upfront to decide out how each piece would fit together.

Picture of Pat CullenPat CullenHead of Engineering

Slab made it easy for the whole team to create, comment on, and contribute to any new document asynchronously. That fostered more active collaboration and better peer-to-peer communication.

By streamlining the way documents were created, working asynchronously to update them in real time, and making sure that processes evolved alongside their team, Carrot gave their team the tools they needed to integrate rigorous documentation into their development process.

Now, the engineering team can easily stay on top of projects, check in with their peers, and move forward with a cohesive vision.

Simplify the process of creating and managing documents

To make creating documents as easy as possible, Carrot's engineering team designed standard formats for every type of information. These templates made the team's most-used documents easily recognizable and digestible, speeding up not only the creation of new content but also its consumption.

Systemizing this process also ensured that every meeting or discussion was easy to reference by any member of the team. Whenever conversations happen there's always someone taking notes to document.

By streamlining their documentation process and making sure every member of the team had access to the same information, Patrick was able to build a more cohesive team quickly. Each member could act on the same information with the confidence that it contributed to the success of the whole team.

team

Boost engagement with information by making it more valuable

Technical documentation can easily become unwieldy and confusing. Creating templates gave the Carrot team a way to proactively bypass this issue, but they still needed a way to track how often each document was updated over time.

That's where Slab's version histories helped. Because everyone can see who made which changes and when, the whole team is held accountable. Everyone now stays on top of new information and tracks changes to any document as it evolves alongside a project.

Slab is our primary means of working together.

Picture of Pat CullenPat CullenHead of Engineering

Being able to see the documentation associated with any project, how it changes as a project progresses, and how it impacts their individual work, keeps everyone informed and focused. Every document Carrot's engineering team creates now serves a real purpose.

Get buy-in from the team by making process changes easier

Fostering a culture of documentation means getting buy-in from every single member of the team, not just those in leadership or management. Carrot accomplished this by giving every member of the team the ability to engage with documentation in Slab directly.

Collaborating on documents via Slab lets every engineer not just feel like they are a part of the process but actually be a part of it from the moment a new document is created. Each member of the team is accountable for reviewing and updating new documentation and is empowered to make changes and ask questions from the start.

Creating standardized templates gave the team one less thing for their brain to figure out when reading through a document.

That initial buy-in from the team helped decrease the time it took for them to adopt a new process.

While maintaining documentation isn't glamorous, it's a vital step for any growing business. Slab has become an indispensable tool for the engineering team at Carrot and helps them move forward together towards a shared goal.

Start your free trial today

Already using Slab? .
Slab
Twitter
Medium
LinkedIn