Documentation is at the core of any successful engineering team. But clunky, complicated interfaces thwart your team from contributing. The result? Information grows stale. For Nicholas Hong — Engineering Manager at Eaze — his team’s dependency on Google Sites and Google Docs was limiting the utility of their knowledge base. Hong set out to change that.
Slab removes the bottlenecks found in most other documentation tools. Its friendly interface makes it easy for busy engineers to create and update crucial documents.
Eaze is an on-demand delivery service for cannabis, founded in 2015, that serves communities across California. Customers place an order through Eaze’s website. Eaze’s platform matches the request to drivers, who then deliver the cannabis order directly to the customer, in as little as 5 minutes.
When Hong took on the role of Engineering Manager, he wanted to make documentation easier for his team. Their current solution was too hard to use and confused his team, making documentation a challenge.
As a result, the engineering team had a wiki nobody was contributing to. This made onboarding especially challenging. Plus, Hong’s team was exploring hiring remote workers — increasing their need for a better system. He wanted to empower remote employees with a centralized place to access crucial information and share ideas — without having to wait for “regular business hours” or weekly conference calls.
“We knew we had to have some sort of wiki in place that people would actually end up using, otherwise there’s no way [hiring remote workers] was going to work out,” he said.
Hong researched a number of solutions, including optimizing his team’s existing wiki. He created demos for a number of popular tools — including Slab. After testing out each option, he and his team were unanimous on Slab:
“The [engineering] team came to the same conclusion that I did, that Slab was the right tool that fit into the ecosystem we already have,” Hong said.
He cited two specific reasons why Slab was the clear choice for Eaze:
It was immediately obvious to Hong and his team how clear and simple the act of writing is inside Slab. Most of the tools they researched had significant UX/UI shortcomings and burdens — burdens they were already experiencing with their existing Google Wiki solution.
A more straightforward interface was a non-negotiable.
Plus, Slab natively supports markdown formatting — a crucial feature for any engineer.
Slab’s unified search feature means users can find and access documents across all of their apps — in seconds.
“I love how you can search Slack, and Google Docs, and all of your GitHub Wikis, and your Github Repos,” Hong said. “It got all the engineers super excited and made us see that Slab was the right way to go.”
This addresses a common concern for teams: Will adding a knowledge base solution create yet another place for team members to spend time looking for crucial documents and information? Since Slab searches across Google Docs, Slack, and Github, adding Slab actually means fewer places for Hong's team to worry about looking for crucial information.
“The [engineering] team came to the same conclusion that I did, that Slab was the right tool that fit into the ecosystem we already have.”Nicholas HongEngineering Manager
Transitioning to a new knowledge-base tool can be a challenging adjustment. But for Hong, the switch to Slab was incredibly seamless. He credits getting his team involved early on in the selection process.
“Because I had that buy-in from the engineers, people started writing in it almost immediately,” he said. “It’s actually really taken off.”
In fact, Hong’s process for selecting Slab as the team’s preferred knowledge base tool became a standard process on its own — request for comments (RFC). Team members create RFCs for project proposals and significant process changes. This allows colleagues the opportunity to voice concerns, questions, and observations in one concentrated place.
They’ve integrated Slab with Slack, making it incredibly easy for team members to read what people write in real time.
Using Slab’s native Jira integration, the Eaze team also uses Slab as an incident response management tool. They list out the team members responsible for specific reports, then link to the corresponding Jira ticket. Slab automatically unfurls the link, displaying the number, title, and status of the ticket.
“The engineers like having one place to look while incidents are happening,” Hong said.
And, of course, the Eaze engineering team turns to Slab to document evergreen processes and procedures.
“Things that we want to reference in the future — we put them in Slab,” Hong said.
Since the switch to Slab, Hong has seen his team’s documentation increase exponentially. He credits Slab’s simplicity, robust integrations, and its unified search.
“Before Slab, we had maybe three or four people contributing to our old wiki. Now I feel like everyone writes in Slab. From a pure knowledge sharing perspective, Slab has been a huge value to our organization.”Nicholas HongEngineering Manager