Originally aired on November 4, 2021 @ 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM EDT
As Cloudflare transitions to a hybrid work environment it is critical to foster a positive and equitable experience for employees who work from home as well as those in the office. As part of Cloudflare’s Back-to-Better initiative the IT Department selected Miro as a tool to help facilitate an inclusive experience.
How you doing, ladies and gentlemen. I'm Ray Davis. I'm here with the Austin IT support team. I'm here alongside Melissa Henderson, the IT operations lead in the Austin location as well. Alongside Z, our design operations manager in the San Francisco location. And today I'll be talking to you guys about how we've integrated Miro into our workspaces and increased our productivity. Due to COVID, we've been transitioned into trying to find new ways to get the job done while collaborating with our teammates. Without further ado, I'll hand this over to Z to give you more information about how it does what it does. Thanks, Ray. And I'm going to talk a little bit about how this all started, why we use this tool, where it started, how AskIT saved the day in this scenario. And Ray mentioned that we went from onsite office first team to all remote team because of the COVID situation. So in the next slide, you will see one of our offices. This is the one actually before this. Yeah, this is one of our offices. And it's the office. This is where we used to collaborate at the whiteboard and we're all in one place. So now all of our workers, coworkers, actually all became remote workers. I actually was onboarded to the team during the COVID time, lockdown time. And my entire experience with my team was the remote experience. So how do we foster this kind of a collaboration and how do we actually bring in more of the equitable experience while we are all remote? Of course, it's a challenge and the product design team naturally designers jump on this and trying to solve this kind of a challenge. So we said, well, let's explore what kind of tools enable us to do more of the remote collaboration. So we explored several whiteboarding tools and we settled on Mural. And again, like any kind of a product design approach, we didn't just say, hey, this is the tool we all want to use. Let's test it out and see if this is really indeed a tool we can actually use and to help our team to collaborate. And we reach out to IT to get the initial seeds. And this is where why we three of us are here. And then we get a lot of support from the IT team to help us to set it up and to experiment, to run the pilot program with our team. And this is a part of the Cloudflare IT Back to Better initiative. And we actually got all the support from the IT department to run it. And let's take a quick look at what we've done in the past few months. So we started as one small part, partially product design team, a small group of people. We have 10 designers pilot this program. And now a few months later, we actually have 215 active members now. We started with one team, which is the product design team. Now we actually have 10 active team members. Last time we counted, we had created 391, almost 400 boards. We literally, literally lost count of how many sticky notes we created in these boards. Here's a picture of one of our offices that we decorate a window with the sticky art. And so if we were to translate all the digital sticky notes to physical sticky notes, we could cover all of our global offices, decorate all the windows now. So let's talk a little bit about how design team use this tool as an example. And these are just some examples of how design teams using the Miro tool. And if you go from top to left to right or top down and designers, we use Miro tool to do research synthesis. And we capture all the research information on Miro board and do our synthesis together on the Miro board. And also for the product designers, we use Miro tool to run customer journey, map it out customers journey. We run product roadmap in this tool. And we also facilitate team rituals using the Miro tool. There are some templates we build. And also we continue building internal templates on top of utilizing some of the given templates from the tool. We also facilitate cross-functional workshops with our cross-functional partners. And so this workshop example is when we did a process workshop with our engineers, PMs, and deliver managers using this tool to run the facilitated workshop. Of course, we do product flow, do wireframe with this tool, do flowchart with this tool. Great. This is an awesome tool for designers for sure. So you would say, okay, here's another designer tool. But that is not entirely true. We actually was able to use the tool, facilitate a lot of board conversations, and expanded it to other groups within the company to use this tool. Here are some examples of how other groups are using this tool. And on the top of our UI platform team, our engineers actually map out the system architecture in Miro tool. And they also run vendor analysis in the tool. And our PMs, product managers, use this tool to brainstorming with our engineers to come up with product management plan. And on the bottom row, our Paygo team using this map out onboarding funnel. And the last two pictures is really fun. As solution engineers, these are from our APAC team members. And they use the tool to do their customer presentations. And one of our solution engineers actually used the hand drawing tool to actually on the spot to do their presentation with their customer to demonstrate and articulate our products, the usage, and everything. If you look at the wide range of usage of this tool, I love how our engineers present their disciplines here and how our solution engineers show the creativity using this tool. So this is definitely not a tool just for designers. It's for everyone. If you think your team needs collaboration, if you think your team ever uses the whiteboard in the office, now that this is the tool, a digital whiteboarding collaboration tool for us. So I'm going to actually ask Melissa, maybe you can talk a little bit more about how IT help us to set this up and facilitate all these growth using this tool. Yes, thank you so much. When it comes to Cloudflare, security is always on the top of our mind as that is what we strive for, for everything we include. And this also includes every single tool that we use internally. We were very happy to hear how Miro integrates into our SSO solution, which allows us to use our multiple authentication options and keep everything inside Miro and all the integration apps that we use secure while working with our teams and other partners without compromising the great feature. The other things we liked is how it integrated into some of our systems, for example, JIRA, Confluence, Figma, and we heavily rely on our Google Workspaces team. So with JIRA, as an ask IT person who really enjoys security like Ray, we really appreciate the fact that you can actually integrate your JIRA workspaces and, for example, tickets and everything are based on a user's authentication method now instead of just a random service account, for example. So you can have a board and you can bring in your JIRA tickets and your projects and be working on them, and you can pin down all the way down to the actual JIRA application on the board, who can see it, who can't see it, so you don't have to worry about allowing the wrong person to see something in JIRA that you normally would like to keep separate. Because we all know that we have things that we'd like to share with everybody, but we can't share them. Another favorite thing I really enjoy about this app is Zoom. The Zoom integration I find fun. One of the things our team is looking at doing on the silly side of it is how we've done some of our team building in Zoom, where you can bring up a Zoom account, and in the middle of a Zoom meeting, you can use the integration app and create a board and everyone can participate on the board at the same time. So there's ways to do little tag teams and polls and instant things with timers that you can do with your teammates. When it comes to work in Zoom, it's the same thing. You can start a Zoom account and you bring in the actual board you're creating for the meeting and everyone is collaborating and talking on the Zoom call as well on the whiteboard. The best part is that doesn't end when the Zoom meeting ends. What it does is it transfers it and keeps it in your mirror board and everyone you give access to can continue to collaborate outside of the Zoom meeting. And so that helps keep everyone interactive and talking and connected even after the meeting ends because we all know nobody wants another meeting, but the production boards are really great to work with. Now actually I'd like to bring it back to Ray to show us some examples of how we've used our boards. Thank you Melissa, I appreciate it. So alongside all of the ways we can integrate Miro and with the security that it actually provides to us, I love it as a collaboration tool that we can use here in the Austin location. So starting at the top what you guys will see is our Cloudflare banner showing a little bit of our Cloudflare pride. Scrolling down a little bit. You'll see one of the templates that we use to more or less draft out our priority tasks that we want to achieve all throughout the week starting from Monday to Friday. One cool functionality I like about this is that we can drag them down once done to, and apologies here guys, to the complete section to update the status for all users to see that once the task is done and you can just keep track of what you've completed all throughout the day. Scrolling down a little bit further. We have three ways that we've integrated Google Sheets into Miro and keep in mind it's safe and internal to whoever you share this document out to, but we found ways to integrate things like a to do list or our inventory prep or our IT peripheral orders. Things like this make Miro in collaboration with your team seamless and I absolutely love it. The last thing and my favorite, my apologies here, is how we use Miro for drafting out workflows for various tasks. One way that I found that we were able to integrate Miro is to break down tasks, starting off with the main objective you want to complete, breaking it down into each individual task that you want to knock out and detailing that. Though it's something very simple, it's extremely effective when it comes to knocking out all of our side projects that we have in each of our organizations. And I implore all you guys and challenge you guys to find new creative ways to integrate Miro into your sections as well. And I'll leave this last little bit open to questions if anybody has any. Great. I'm curious that for all these activities that IT is doing, are you all making templates to reuse this? And I'm curious to learn. That's actually my favorite part about Miro. There are a myriad of templates that we actually have available to us from, like you said before, the meetings and workshops that you can scroll through and there's oh so many, to brainstorming and ideation from just taking, you know, those troubling tasks that you're just having, you know, problems getting over and just being able to brainstorm it out. This all came with the Miro. And if you click on the shared one, do you see the templates that we build or is it all for, we didn't make it available for the entire company, but we actually the product design team would build a lot of templates for our product designers to use. We find that extremely useful for our designers because it just speeds up the process and everything and people can just utilize those templates that we build. And so that is another really cool feature I always like. Yeah, it's really cool. I just love the fact that you're able to integrate so much into it so seamless and so quick. I mean, even creating this board, I was able to just go into Google Drive and I won't, you know, really show you guys everything into that right now. And obviously you have to sign in and showing how secure it is, which is really great. But it's just so quick and easy being able to do all this. And I think that's just the main thing to highlight here about Miro. It's quick, it's easy, and it's a great effective tool to use for collaboration. And let me tab back out of this actually. I think it's actually going to try to lock me into signing in. There we go. Yeah. Melissa, I have a question for you, though. When IT supports us, when we reach out, I know that designers, we're always asking of tools and everything. We brought this tool to IT. Hey, we want to try this out and support it. And what was the rationale's thinking behind that? IT says, yeah, we're ready to support you all and we're going to figure out a plan to support wider range of the company adoption for this tool. Yes. So one of the things, as any IT rep knows, is everybody wants everything and it's urgent. It's always, have you turned it off and on again? And why do you need something? The reason we need to know those kind of things is, one, if you turn it off and on, it fixes almost everything. And if it's urgent or not and why, it helps you dive down to the real need of the tool. Every department can come up with a tool that they love and then they express themselves and this is their favorite tool. But the goal of our team is to find a tool that not only works great with that team and everything else and is also secure with our system, but is something that most people didn't even think could be going, like you said, with the programmers and use it. With the AskIT team, we use it. With sales, we have sales people who use it to dive down and break down diagrams with their clients and they're telling them how things are going and introducing CloudFlight to everybody. So our support team uses it for training. There is those rare moments that you find an app that someone in a team brings to the company and obviously loves, like Miro, but also works along every department in an intriguing way that's different, but yet the same. And that's what we really love doing. And it's always been a great experience when we can help support teammates in the way that they need. Yeah, we designers, absolutely, we fell in love with the tool and we use this every day. All of our designers use it every day. We reach out to PMs and reach out to engineers and get everyone together on this board. And I do know that there are a lot of new features that keeps coming out and we're testing all new features. I have a question for either one of you is that what was the challenge when you are actually scaling this from a small group of people using this tool and then to actually advocate for it and then expand this to the adoption for the whole, if not the entire company, but a huge number of people onboarded to team from 10 to 200? And how did you scale that? So the best thing, like I said, is that this works with our SSO project. Because it works with our authentication and how we work, we were able to take the implementation of a smaller group and then organize it in a way that we can push pre -made groups from our system that we're using into Miro. And so then we can go into our other system or SSO system and add the users to there and automatically pushes and enables the app for them as well as the security based on their SSO signing authentication and places them in the boards and the teams that they work with. So this defaultly gives them a security preference that we desire for the whole entire company while giving them like their own little individual spaces. So it's kind of like they have their own little towns in a state of Miro. But at the same time, like other towns, you can trade between towns and you can have people come and visit to your town and see your boards and work on the things. But at the same time, some things you don't want other people from them to see so you block it off. So the biggest thing was making sure that we, as we used with Miro for our planning, organized the structure ahead of time. It's very easy to fall in the trap of setting up something and providing it to the company as an enterprise, the quick way to get it out there. The hardest part is to make sure you plan it in a way that's scalable, that can work for everybody and it doesn't become too messy because it's always a pain when you have to go back and make something you've been setting up for the company more scalable or organized in a different way. And so that's really helped on our end. The other thing that I love about working with Miro and this Miro system is training can be really difficult for the different tech levels of your attendees and your workers. Miro offers a really good e-learning system, like you can go in there and it has videos and what I'm going to call wiki articles, how to do things, but their videos are very self-explanatory, as well as there's writing to go with the video. And they offer, I think, a couple times a month at least they offer webinars that you can go for free and you join the webinar and they show you the introductions on how to do things. And as well as allowing you to ask questions and everything during that webinar so you're finding out more information and that's not at an extra cost, it's just something they offer you. So that's another real good reason we liked it because they were great enough to help us offer, when we first launched, private training for our company. They came on board and we did training for our workers and everything, but then they gave us the resources to help us continue to train all the new hires that we have added on, or people that forget how to do something because we haven't used it in a while, or they see another team using something they want to do it. But the teamwork also helps with the training because, like Z can say, we help each other, all the other departments introduce something and then tell them how to do it and then it takes off. And then this department saw that that department did it, and it turns into a big cycle of helping. So one of the things I really liked working with Miro, and I love working with ClownFlare, is that all the teams feel like one big family. And then you're helping everyone, like, hey cousins and product team, how do you do this? And then, you know, everyone here, sisters in IT, inteps, how do you do this? And so it's always very inter, inter, inter, I can't even say it, they're all working together. Yeah, yeah. I love your analogy of like a cousins of a product. I know, I definitely do know that designers are so passionate about this project, about this tool. And then we're going out, out of there, tell everyone, let's use this tool, and then you need help, you need training, we'll set up training, we'll tell you how we use it and show you, and it was really, really fun. And that is really something works really well for us. But I'm also looking at, this is the first time I'm looking at the IT board, and to see how you're bringing other parts, like the illustrations designers created into the board, team board and everything. I'm curious, actually, Ray, how did you even get this started to dog food in the IT department using the tool? And did you, where did you start? I mean, honestly, I just saw it as an opportunity, a really great opportunity for us to display a bunch of information in a centralized location. One thing that I see in a lot of organizations that I've worked for in the past is that as they do hire anywhere, it's traditionally very stressful and you have to learn to find all of the information for the jobs that you need to get done. And I think that, you know, Miro just gives me the perfect opportunity to display like everything we do day to day in one quick location so we can get the job done quick and move on to the next request, you know. And so, yeah, honestly, using all of their templates and then just using wikis that we already had, I kind of just brought them both together and was able to come up with something like this. I know that we spend a lot of time talking about it, too, and it's really part of the thinking I always think about the tool is just a tool to help us to do our work, right? So we're using this as an example how product design team actually can collaborate, get support from the IT team and to help us roll out tools, test it out, roll out tools and everything. And a lot of things we as designers, we ask for tools and we don't see a lot of behind-the -scenes challenges that IT departments are facing. We don't even think about, oh, SSO, we don't think about that. We don't think about integration. We say, oh, there's a button, so can we actually just integrate, use this, whatever? But there's a lot of behind-the-scenes IT is working, looking into security, looking for security compliance and everything. There's a lot of extra work behind the scenes that we're not seeing. We're just asking for tools. But I kind of really get a glimpse when we're rolling out this tool of how IT actually can support all these tools and everything. And to help us, especially right now, we're thinking about we're working all remote. Now we're thinking about some locations start to opening up in the office now. Some people are starting to going back to office, like Ray, you're in the office today, as a matter of fact, right? So how actually this also getting incorporated into our on -site office experience, and have you all already explored all of that approaches? Yeah, so some of the great things about the back-to-better that we've been doing in our company has been coming up with new ideas and ways. This is not my team. We have wonderful teams of office team, people team, everyone. There's huge amounts of people that are involved in getting it taken care of. But changing the way that we look at our businesses and how they handle, to do workshop-based, and to change from like possibly your old -fashioned cubicles to workshop rooms, group rooms, places with larger TVs that may be touchscreen to help with the mirror boards and stuff like that. And making sure that anyone who is either remote or in the office can work together in a way that doesn't feel like they are not getting the same experience of collaboration. They would have been either in person or as if everyone was away. Because there's going to constantly probably be, probably forever, as we all know anymore, but a difference of the two. Like there's going to be a mix of people that are hybrid, of people that are working from home versus people that are in the office. And our goal in IT and with a whole bunch of teams, the Back to Better team, is making sure that our offices now express how the new world needs to be and how we feel as an organization and continue our growth as teamwork as well. Yeah, I think that's the hardest part about this transition is to maintain that level of inclusive, I think, with like all of your members. And I think one thing that's great about Miro is the fact that there are live updates. Even when you integrate these documents, these Google Sheets, any update you make or any change you make is updated right to Google Drive live. So you can immediately see that change and all the users can as well. So it kind of helps users feel like you're working face-to-face, even though they're, you know, could be tens or hundreds of miles away. Yeah, I love how that we're thinking of an IT approach, even introducing tools about how it fits into the bigger picture of how we work as a company. And I think that is really important for us to think about introducing new tools, introducing anything new, right? So, and to see how IT support that bigger picture, it's really interesting for me to see. And definitely, if you talk about integrations, the real life actions, everything, designers, I've been pushing. Figma is our choice of tool choice and everything. We've been pushing the connectors between Figma and Miro to do that live update and push to Miro and everything. There's definitely, definitely, I think all these connectivities is really important and real in on the spot updates and collaboration. And it's really useful for us. And yeah, definitely appreciate introducing all these collaboration tools. Yes. Any other questions or concerns so far? I guess time for us to pretty much wrap up. And I know that we're talking about tools and so passionately, but it's really beyond two. It's really about how we introducing tools and what kind of tools introduced and how we roll out tools and how for me, it's just exciting for product designers. It's always this is a service design process that we tested it. We roll it out to get the support from IT team and also expand that to the wider range of the company. And so I think that process is more important to me than even specific tools, that kind of a collaboration between different groups. And it's always really, really important from my perspective as a designer looking at this. Yeah, and I think that's where Cloudflare has been very successful is I don't feel like they ask for only suggestions from a certain department. Everyone is like a big thing, take different types of people, different orientations, different times in your life. And it's a huge, huge pot of resources of ideas and things. And there's so many times that I have an idea and I'm like, this is this is the way it should be. And then Ray comes over and he's like, oh, maybe not. And I'm like, you are right. That is so much better. And so having teammates, even outside of your immediate team, being able to influence and help educate other people is very important. So, yeah, the ideas and requests and stuff, some of them we get are like anything in IT. It's a little silly, but most of the ones you're going to get are have something to teach you. And this has been one of the very many successful outcomes of working with other teams in Cloudflare, as well as some of our other amazing apps that we use and we dog food as well. Yeah, love that. And I'm going to have you two to wrap up and talk about better back to better initiatives and how this is part of it. Yes, yes. So when it comes to our ask IT back to better, like I said before, we are working on the new way of the offices and how to interact with individuals. We are starting with amazing tools and products that we can't tell everyone yet, but we're working on for sure. The idea is, like I said before, is to make sure that everyone is interacting and working together as a team and as a company. So if you are with Cloudflare and you're looking to get with you're an employee with Cloudflare and you're looking to get Miro, just reach out to ask IT. You put in a ticket and then we can get your team onboarded. It just needs to be requested and then we get some more information for you and then we'll add you in. If you are not an employee of Cloudflare, we are hiring. Look at our website. A lot of departments are hiring. We are hiring like crazy. We want you to come over to Cloudflare. That would be an amazing thing. It's a great family to work for, and as you can see, we all like to interact and have fun. I don't know. I don't have anything else. Ray, your turn. Great. You have like a minute and a half left. I mean, yeah, just kind of reiterating everything Melissa said. I mean, as we transition into this Back to Better initiative, it's just a good thing to keep in mind. We have applications like these. They're like the Swiss Army knife of tools, you know. It's a tool, yes, but the capabilities of it is up to the user. You know, the potential of this tool is up to the user. So, you know, I implore you guys. Be creative. Find new ways to integrate it into your workspaces. Yeah, definitely. And thank you again for joining us. Yeah, thank you all for collaborating. And just a plug for Cloudflare, we were just listed at the in -company top. We made it to the top ten for the best-led company. Yes, yes. And it is a good place to work, especially the Austin office. We have many offices all over, but Ray and I are based in Austin, so feel free to join us in Austin. We're hiring, but again, we are hiring everywhere. We do have only about 20 seconds left, so we'd like to thank you all for taking the time to listen with us. And then Ray and Z, thank you for joining us to talk about Miro. It's been a really good thing. And it's been interesting noticing that some people haven't even seen a new office yet. And so bringing the tools together and getting together is what matters. So thank you all so much and have a wonderful day. Bye. Bye.