Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

A Public Handbook: Building trust with the team, customers, and beyond

A Public Handbook: Building trust with the team, customers, and beyond

Presented at Support Driven Expo 2023, Knowledge Management track: https://www.supportdriven.com/expo/knowledge

How do you build trust before you ever interact with others? A public handbook! Having a handbook publicly available provides lots of benefits including consistency for the team, being literally on the same page as a customer, and providing the opportunity to collaborate with others, such as the Support community.

Full script: https://wp.me/pHQ83-2t6

Cynthia "Arty" Ng

October 06, 2023
Tweet

More Decks by Cynthia "Arty" Ng

Other Decks in Technology

Transcript

  1. Cynthia "Arty" Ng, Staff Support Engineer
    A Public Handbook:
    Building trust with the team,
    customers, and beyond

    View full-size slide

  2. GitLab as of 2023-09-15
    ● 2000+ team members
    ● Fully remote in 65+ countries/regions
    ● 130+ Support Department
    ● Multiple platforms:
    ○ Self-managed (self install)
    ○ Dedicated (Single tenant SaaS)
    ○ SaaS (GitLab.com)

    View full-size slide

  3. Credit: tanuki head by Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, CC2.0 BY-NC-ND, https://www.flickr.com/photos/blacktigersdream/14740032471

    View full-size slide

  4. About me
    ● Documentarian
    ● Blogger
    ● At GitLab 5+ years
    ● Originally hired for SaaS Support

    View full-size slide

  5. Answer these questions
    ● Do you find yourself wanting to write things down?
    ● Do you have processes that need to be followed?
    ● Do you have workflows that are shared with another
    team?
    ● Do you have information that needs to be
    consistently shared?

    View full-size slide

  6. A handbook: What and why

    View full-size slide

  7. What is a handbook?
    “A handbook is a type of reference work, or other
    collection of instructions, that is intended to provide
    ready reference.”
    - Wikipedia
    “The handbook is the central repository for how we run
    the company.”
    - GitLab

    View full-size slide

  8. Why a handbook?
    ● “Shared reality” with a Single Source of Truth (SSoT)
    ● Low-context communication
    ● Documented workflows promote
    ○ measurement clarity
    ○ results standardization
    ○ worker autonomy
    ○ efficient onboarding / inclusivity
    ○ continuous improvement
    ○ operational scalability

    View full-size slide

  9. “By providing a common reference point, these
    documented workflows enhance efficiency and
    consistency, ultimately leading to improved
    team productivity and outcomes.”
    - GitLab’s TeamOps

    View full-size slide

  10. Why a public handbook?
    For the same reasons!

    View full-size slide

  11. Support Driven Slack: #leadership
    Used with permission

    View full-size slide

  12. Why a public handbook?
    ● Efficiency
    ● Consistency
    ● Transparent measurements
    ○ Example: GitLab Support KPIs & OKRs
    ● Operational transparency
    ● Collaboration
    ● Community resource

    View full-size slide

  13. Source:
    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7103123870966063104?commentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Acomment%3A%28activity%3A7
    103123870966063104%2C7103132189059346432%29&dashCommentUrn=urn%3Ali%3Afsd_comment%3A%287103132189059346432
    %2Curn%3Ali%3Aactivity%3A7103123870966063104%29

    View full-size slide

  14. Creating a handbook

    View full-size slide

  15. What you need
    ● Buy-in
    ● Location / Version controlled tool
    ● Easy (enough) to use
    ● Reinforcement

    View full-size slide

  16. “If it's not in the handbook, then it's not part of
    the process.”
    - Kenneth Chu (Senior Support Engineer)
    Source: Support issue
    by JJ Harrison, CC BY-SA 3.0,
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vombatus_ursinu
    s_-Maria_Island_National_Park_Edit_2.jpg

    View full-size slide

  17. What you need
    ● Buy-in
    ● Location / Version controlled tool
    ● Easy (enough) to use
    ● Reinforcement
    ● Public by default (separate internal only)
    ● Start small and iterate

    View full-size slide

  18. 2018-01-01 2023-07-01 Growth
    SaaS specific
    Support
    workflows
    7 37 x5
    Support
    workflows
    25 109 x4
    All pages 228 2876 x12
    GitLab Handbook pages
    Source: https://handbook.gitlab.com/handbook/about/#count-handbook-pages

    View full-size slide

  19. Set expectations

    View full-size slide

  20. Encouraging contributions
    ● Doesn’t need to be perfect
    ● Invite collaboration on changes
    ● Have guidelines on what level of review is required
    ● Mark which pages are “controlled”
    ● Have clear guidelines on internal-only information
    ○ Example: SAFE framework
    ● Not “set in stone”

    View full-size slide

  21. “It's not ‘just a rulebook’ that you follow blindly.
    Sometimes it might be wrong (because it was
    written by humans), but being able to see the
    discussions behind why something was added
    helps us to work out a way forward when we
    come to undocumented edge cases. (Of which
    there are many in the land of Support).”
    - Kenneth Chu (Senior Support Engineer)
    Source: Support issue
    by JJ Harrison, CC BY-SA 3.0
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vombatus_ursinu
    s_-Maria_Island_National_Park_Edit_2.jpg

    View full-size slide

  22. Build it into Support
    ● Provide & budget time
    ● Onboarding
    ● Job responsibility
    ● Performance review
    ● Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

    View full-size slide

  23. Source: https://handbook.gitlab.com/handbook/support/performance-indicators/#support-handbook-mr-rate
    Number of handbook merge requests merged / number of Support team members

    View full-size slide

  24. “Someone said I feel like I found my
    corporate soul mate after reading
    our handbook.”
    - Sid Sijbrandij (Co-founder & CEO)
    The Logan Bartlett Show (Dec 16, 2022)

    View full-size slide

  25. “Transparency increases not only
    sales but also people’s trust and
    satisfaction.”
    - Ryan Buell on Operational Transparency
    Harvard Business Review, March-April 2019
    Baby Turtle 023 by cygnus921, CC BY 2.0,
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/cygnus921/2581020296/

    View full-size slide

  26. A public handbook
    builds trust

    View full-size slide

  27. SD Slack: @arty-chan
    about.me/cynthiang
    cynthiang.ca
    Cynthia “Arty” Ng

    View full-size slide