nternal documentation at a small tech company, as much as we all don’t want to admit, can feel like looking through the junk drawer. Anything that isn’t client facing is easy to put on the back burner when the practice groups and professionals you’re working with have ever-evolving and immediate needs. When a household prepares for guests, no one is thinking about the junk drawer. Everyone is too busy worrying about sweeping the floors, stocking the fridge, cleaning off the dining table. Dealing with the visible.
But of course, just when you need the bottle opener, could’ve sworn it went into that drawer last time… it’s nowhere to be found. That messy drawer is deep, god knows who cleaned it out last time. Or when? Is it even worth digging through the drawer for that bottle opener? Or is it time to start scouring the whole kitchen for it? Guess it’s gonna take a while to get that bottle of wine open.
For most of my time here at LexBlog, docs were updated in an ad hoc as-needed fashion. It was a system that was good enough—but not sustainable. That all changed this year. Shortly after covid hit back in 2020, we made a rapid switch to becoming a 100% work-from-home company.
With the option to walk down the hall to your co-workers office now out of the question, the need for a solid internal doc system was crucial. After some time settling into our respective remote work environments, many of us agreed that ad hock as-needed just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
Instead of cleaning the drawer, we decided to dump everything out and re-model all of the cabinets. It was becoming really clear that even though our customers don’t use our internal docs, the quality of these docs still directly impacts the customer experience. It’s tough to work around the clutter. But if we made it a team effort, then the clutter would be gone for good.
We needed a space, system and plan that we could rely on. Instead of a bundle of Google docs dug out of the server via search, we needed a Wiki. With that we decided to move our docs out of Google drive and give Slite a chance.
From a so cal kitchen table, a wifi-equipped backyard patio in Maine and all way across the pond in a UK home office, we’ve been working on putting this wiki together—building a collaborative internal documentation system that will help us grow and thrive outside of the traditional downtown workspace of 2019. For that to happen we needed the wiki to meet these goals:
- Provide Up To Date & Timely Resources – The wiki needs to reflect information as it currently stands at LexBlog. A living document that’s updated regularly.
- Open Access to Information – An organized searchable home for all company information. No more knowledge silos! We’re shifting all company information into one central location that’s globally accessible to every LexBlog employee.
- Maintaining Team Operations & Workflows – This Wiki is a hub to track how we work. When a new product is introduced, a team process is changed, meeting notes need to be kept, etc. these details are stored and updated in the wiki.
As I’ve researched about Wiki structuring best practices, I’ve really come to appreciate Slite. Their pre-made templates gave us a great place to start. The UI and folder systems are intuitive. They have plenty of integration options for services like Asana that our team already uses regularly. Not to mention their support team has been awesome and super attentive.
But the real game-changer has nothing to do with software and everything to do with our amazing team! We’ve had members of operations, support, project management and even our finance team all chipping in to get this thing going. It’s taken many meetings, brainstorming and editing sessions to get this project started. And it’s been well worth the investment.
At this point, we’re in the final stage of the remodel. Putting the cabinet doors back on the hinges, adjusting the drawers. The move from Google docs to the wiki in Slite is still in progress, but it’s been off to a great start. The thing about the wiki—like household drawers and cabinets—is that even when everything is moved and installed there will always be constant upkeep. I’m confident that will be much easier as we head into 2022.