Lucid Software

Making Documentation Integral to Company Culture

At a glance

Problem

Lucid Software’s existing knowledge-base solution wasn’t fulfilling the needs of every team within the organization. Teams like Data Science struggled with participation and upkeep of documents. Lucid Software needed a way to get employee buy-in without causing roadblocks between other teams still using their existing solution.

Solution

Slab is easy to implement — and integrates with virtually every workflow. Its user-friendly content editor and simple interface made it easy to adapt across multiple teams, streamlining the documentation process.

Key Points

  • Simplifies the document-creation process, increasing documentation participation
  • Improves collaboration across teams, particularly with third-party integrations including Lucidchart
  • Slab’s powerful search function means finding what you need — when you need it

Lucid Software is the company behind two popular products that bring big ideas to life: Lucidchart and Lucidpress. Lucidchart makes it easy for teams to create flowcharts, technical diagrams and more, while Lucidpress democratizes design with its easy-to-master drag-and-drop builder.

Both products aim to help users bring their stories to life.

It’s only natural, then, that the team behind Lucid Software found its way to Slab. And while Slab is now where several teams create and house their most critical documents, Vasu Chetty was its earliest adopter.

For Chetty, the Principal Data Scientist at Lucid Software, documentation has always been an integral part of day-to-day operations.

“Especially with data science, with people coming in and going out, [documentation] makes the whole process a lot smoother,” Chetty said. “It’s easier to have the person who built it put down ‘this is how I built it’, and then anyone else can come in and try to tinker with it.”

Despite his insistence on documentation, Chetty found that he and his team struggled to maintain that type of culture. They had an existing knowledge-base solution — it just didn’t perform as well as they hoped.

For example, the content editor was difficult to use and a chore to maintain. Chetty recalls, “Weird artifacts would pop up in our documents and articles.”

The search for an alternative began. The open-source Knowledge Repo by Airbnb was a step in the right direction, but still fell short.

Then Tim Jenkins, Director of Analytics and Data Science at Lucid Software, introduced Chetty to Slab.

“He said I think this might be what you’re looking for,” Chetty said. And it was. Almost immediately Chetty recognized a few key features he’d been unable to find before Slab, including markdown keyboard shortcuts.

And then there was Slab’s simple formatting.

“The overall look of [Slab] was clean,” Chetty said. “And it was just really easy to create content. The coolest things for me was pasting the URL for a Lucidchart document into Slab, and it automatically populated a diagram right into the document. I’ve shown that to a lot of people here, and they love it.”

Slab auto-populates links from other services as well, including Google Sheets, Asana tasks and Invision mockups.

“The coolest things for me was pasting the URL for a Lucidchart document into Slab, and it automatically populated a diagram right into the document. I’ve shown that to a lot of people here, and they love it.”

Picture of Vasu ChettyVasu ChettyPrinciple Data Scientist

Documenting and Preserving Every Project

Slab plays an integral role in every one of Chetty’s team projects.

While a project is in progress, Chetty and his team use existing processes and workflows to complete their tasks.

Once the project is complete, Chetty and his team summarize and preserve all critical findings inside Slab. And as Slab makes updating documents and notifying key stakeholders easy, his team continues to revise and refine these critical documents as needed — right inside Slab.

“I want any of our data scientists to come and pick up wherever another data scientist left off on the project. They need to know where the code is that they run, what’s the code do, and what other resources they need outside of that,” Chetty said. “Slab is where they write all that up.”

Perfecting Processes With Slab — Even When the Knowledge Base Grows

Throughout any given project, Chetty and his team perform countless processes — each with a multitude of crucial steps.

Just by the sheer volume of these steps, missing a few is almost inevitable. This is one of the many reasons why Chetty is a staunch believer in documentation. But even documentation has its limits when team members can’t find the answers they need.

As companies grow, so too do their knowledge base documents. Before Slab, Chetty had to settle for the fairly rudimentary search capabilities of his team’s original knowledge-base solution.

With Slab, he can type in any query and find precisely what he needs — in seconds. That includes documents stored outside of Slab, including in Dropbox, Google Docs, and Slack.

“The search functionality is amazing,” he said. “I’ve actually heard some people say it’s worth paying for Slab just for the search functionality because you can actually find things that are relevant.”

Slab’s intuitiveness, sleek interface, and scalability have delivered a welcome byproduct to Chetty: since its implementation, he’s seen an increase in documentation, both inside his team and beyond.

How Lucid Software Uses Slab to Share Knowledge Across Teams

Slab makes it easy to share knowledge across an organization — no matter its size. Lucid Software quickly discovered how easy it is to adapt Slab to its unique needs:

Business Analysts use Slab when collaborating with project managers. Thanks to Slab’s Google integration, analysts can store their Google Slides within a Slab post, making it incredibly easy for team members to provide feedback in one central location.

The Business Intelligence Team stores crucial GDPR processes inside Slab, ensuring the sales team knows what steps to take to delete a user’s history.

Data Engineers track different ETL (Extra, Transform, and Load) processes in Slab, and have documented the progress of apps in production.

“That way an engineer can tell if what he contributed to a product is actually working,” Chetty said.

Chetty also uses Slab to document tutorials and trainings for specific tools he wants his team to learn and master.

“With Slab, we have a lot more users more excited about it,” he said. “It’s just an easier experience.”

“With Slab, we have a lot more users more excited about it. It’s just an easier experience.”

Picture of Vasu ChettyVasu ChettyPrinciple Data Scientist

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