In 2021, Appetiser had a huge problem:
The Australian product development agency – which UpLabs ranked as the #7 app designer in the world and #1 in Australia – had just hired its 200th employee, and the company's information architecture was quickly becoming a problem.
People were following the wrong processes – delaying projects and putting the company's pristine reputation at risk – because important company information was scattered, duplicated, and hidden across a confusing, chaotic mess of documentation.
Appetiser had an important decision to make:
Double down on its existing documentation platform and try to fix the mess, or turn to a new platform in hopes of sparking a transformation.
Nearly two years after Appetiser chose Almanac, the agency has more than doubled its annual revenue (from $5M to $10M+), reduced new hire onboarding time by 30%+, and built five new departments that integrate seamlessly with the broader team.
We sat down with the Founder and CEO of Appetiser, Michael MacRae, to learn how his company uses Almanac to empower its exponential growth, integrate new departments without a hitch, and manage projects across hundreds of people.
What followed was a case study on how remote-first companies can achieve outsized results by focusing on where and how they document important information.
We tried a lot of options before we switched to Almanac. In every solution we tried, everyone would get access to every doc. This sounded really great on paper, but the reality was that as we grew – to over 200 people – our documentation became a mess.
Multiple people would create the same document, and then two or three of those versions would quickly become out of date, and only one of those versions was roughly up-to-date. We ended up with this massive information infrastructure in Dropbox Paper, which hindered our growth because people were following the wrong processes.
The beauty of Almanac was that we could have department-specific documentation. We can create one piece of documentation, and then just share it across a team. The nice thing about the multi-access option in Almanac is that if a document is irrelevant to someone, then they don't have to read it. They can get access to the doc if they're interested in it, but they don't have to pay attention to it.
We house all of our documentation – everything from our virtues to company policies to operational processes – in Almanac. It's our wiki. We've built out three or four handbooks – that are very concise – that have helped us to grow, scale, and onboard new teammates quickly. Since we started using Almanac's handbooks to onboard teammates, we've reduced onboarding time by at least 20-30%.
We looked at a lot of options before we committed to Almanac. What really sold us was the handbooks and the ability to have a single document live in multiple handbooks.
We tried a lot of products, and search was an issue with quite a few of them. One of the big selling points for Almanac was the ability to work with Adam Nathan (CEO) early on to shape the product. Being able to join Almanac on its product development journey was fantastic, and we've always encouraged our team to give lots of feedback.
Anyone can add anything, but we have people who are responsible for maintaining each handbook. Handbook owners will periodically go through their handbooks to keep them up-to-date, and teams will evolve them as processes and procedures change. It's an ongoing effort, one that's a bit manual, but the beauty of that manual process is that our documentation is up-to-date, so it's reflective of what we're doing in the company.
And there are secondary benefits to having owners of documentation, too. People will notice flaws and issues, so they'll surface better ways to do things.
The proof is in the numbers: when we signed up for Almanac two years ago, we were doing about $5-6 million in revenue, and we've easily doubled since then. We've built five new departments in that timeframe that have been seamlessly integrated into the company.
Which is usually a challenge for most companies – it's hard to maintain the same level of focus and quality across the board every time you add a new department. And collaboration becomes more difficult, too.
What Almanac has allowed us to do is to seamlessly collaborate across every department, and align on everything across product design, growth, project management, sales, and development.
Every time we build a new department, we take one department's existing handbook, keep certain information the same, and then just fill just fill in the gaps that are unique to the new department. Almanac deserves a lot of credit for helping us expand our service offerings without any challenges.
From an IT-infrastructure perspective, putting every doc into a single source of truth sounds really nice and easy. But it's not – it actually adds tremendous challenges when it comes to content discovery and search.
Look at the Atlassian infrastructure, or other products that claim to do everything at once, and you'll see that finding what you need becomes a real pain. So the whole idea of being able to tell people, "here's where our documentation sits and what it's included," makes content discovery and infrastructure architecture work incredibly well.
We strictly adhere to structure, and are clear about how we use Almanac on our team: for documenting our processes and company information.
If you're tired of constant Slack and email notifications, digital fire drills, and around team chaos, then you need Almanac.
It's the fastest wiki and workflow tool ever built.
In Almanac, you can fly through tasks and requests twice as fast, find what you need the first time around, and eliminate team anxiety once and for all.
Get started in under three minutes today at almanac.io.