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How Invisible accelerates engineering velocity using Dashworks

August 11, 2022
Prasad Kawthekar

Invisible is the tech-enabled next-gen outsourcing service trusted by industry leaders like Grubhub and Canon to scale operations, cut costs, and support their teams. 

We sat down with Adam Haney, their VP of Engineering, to dive deep on how Dashworks’ intelligent search tool centralized information at Invisible. We explore topics like: 

  1. How Dashworks accelerates engineering decision-making
  2. Why centralized search cuts down on key bottlenecks
  3. The time suck of tracking down project resources
"Transparency is a core value at Invisible, but it's only meaningful if people have the tools to find the specific information they want and need." 

The Early Days: Scrambling to Find Essential Information

Invisible's product works at the intersection of business process outsourcing and automation. They rely on a global workforce of 1,000+ remote contractors across every time zone. 

In particular, they often handle large-scale data processing tasks for client companies (i.e., digitizing menus for several of the largest delivery apps on the market).

As such, Invisible’s teams deal with massive volumes of Google Drive and Notion docs, and info across Jira, Confluence, and GitHub, among other tools in their stack. 

Juggling this amount of data has led to two prominent pain points. 

1. Tabbing: A Scattered Approach to Project Data

An easy method for locating internal info didn't exist, so Invisible tried its hand at creating one. 

They began linking more necessary documents through Notion and leveraging its built-in search function. It was effective — to an extent. 

People still had to tab between different apps whenever a file type wasn’t supported by Notion. Also, any engineering info would still have to be searched for on GitHub or Jira. 

While Notion is a great app, it wasn't created to function as an immersive search tool. 

2. The Cognitive Overload of Dead-End Searches

Tabbing and Notion searching built up into a massive time suck. For every search, it took time to locate the app with the desired info and even more time to contextualize it. 

Endless searching also leads to cognitive overload over time, as an existential question always lurks in the background: "Does the info I'm looking for even exist?"

Ultimately, every time-wasting search adds a greater cost to the project. 

“Before Dashworks, the tools needed to navigate this jungle of info didn’t exist.”

Onboarding with Dashworks: 30 Minutes from End to End

After a seamless implementation, Invisible was up and running with Dashworks in less than a day — roughly half an hour, to be precise. 

Onboarding entailed a 30-minute call between the two teams and logging onto the system with all of the tools Invisible would be integrating. 

The teams also share a Slack channel, where Adam describes Dashworks as highly responsive to client questions and feature requests. All in all, he calls it “a painless experience." 

At an individual level, Dashworks comprises a simple search function, so using the tool does not require employees to learn new skills or drastically alter their current behaviors. 

“There weren’t any great answers for the problem of corporate search before Dashworks. They’ve now presented the ideal version of that tool." 

Benefit #1: Upgraded Search Quality Over Native Apps

It's exceedingly simple to find anything with Dashworks. 

Instead of jumping between multiple tools, Invisible employees can quickly search for what they want through a Google Chrome extension. 

Adam also points to notable improvements in the pure quality of these search results. As he puts it, Dashworks is "better at searching Notion than Notion is." 

Put simply, Dashworks has better search quality than searching in native apps like Notion.

While search functions are typically just single features of other platforms, it’s the name of the game for Dashworks’ entire platform — and it tracks in the results. Even beyond this purpose, Adam is amped to start integrating Dashworks with Invisible’s internal tooling in the near future. 

In doing so, the company will be able to push data from their internal tool kit and internally built projects onto Dashworks, turning those into searchable knowledge bases as well. 

“Dashworks isn’t just better at search than our other tools. It also feels like it’s adding oxygen to these other tools’ capabilities.”

Benefit #2: Improved Velocity & Quality of Decisions

Dashworks drives productivity by streamlining the process of complex searches. 

For instance, let’s say an engineer at Invisible is in the middle of a project and needs to run a search for an internal product specification. 

In the past, they would’ve had to poke around in various apps they may be unfamiliar with. Now, through Dashworks, they can simply run the search across all company data and save the effort. 

Dashworks’ intelligent search will also pull up any relevant documents or old team convos on Notion and Slack to provide the engineer with context around the product and client. 

Today, Invisible connects with a number of key apps on Dashworks, including GSuite, Slack, Confluence, Jira, Asana, Salesforce, Miro, and Github.

Streamlining Project Research

The immediacy of Dashworks' search results and how it presents organized info can be downright transformative for employees, especially Invisible’s many programmers.  

Programming isn't just the act of writing code. 

It requires retrieving info about your client, your project parameters, the internal and external resources available to you, etc., and then building something from this. 

Needless to say, that curation can be a huge diversion to a project timeline. Dashworks consolidates and sifts through all relevant info so it’s at your fingertips in a few seconds. 

This newfound efficiency both saves project costs and gives time back to employees. 

Enabling & Maintaining Flow States

As Adam explains, it’s almost impossible to make solid progress on an engineering project unless you’re in a flow state. It can take 15–30 minutes to reach these states of deep work. 

If you can quickly address any questions or diversions, you can maintain the momentum you’ve built. 

On the other hand, if you have to spend any more than a few minutes answering a tangential question, you lose your mental sense of deep work. It becomes harder to continue the task. 

By using Dashworks and eliminating drawn-out diversions to search for info, files, etc., the Invisible team can more easily slip into and remain in their states of deep focus. 

In his words, Dashworks not only speeds up decision-making but also improves the quality of decision-making.

“I sat down and timed myself tabbing through tools, searching for a common topic. It took me five minutes to find what Dashworks achieves in seconds.” 

Benefit #3: Streamlined Remote Work & Onboarding

Since Invisible’s team is distributed across the globe, employees share fewer casual interactions, which can complicate building shared mental models for projects. 

Team training and communication are essential components to facilitate remote work, but access to your teammates’ work and conversations also becomes critical. 

Here, Dashworks is ideal for easily sharing these contexts and easing the disconnect often fostered by remote work. For instance: 

  • Users can search for info from others’ meeting notes
  • Teams can pin a specific search result to flag it as correct
  • Even internal company jargon and glossaries are searchable

How Intelligent Search Can Accelerate Onboarding

While Invisible runs a rigorous onboarding process, it’s often the case that recent hires simply don’t know what they don’t know. 

It’s also natural for new team members to forget info from a two-day training sprint or to feel resistant to asking small questions at all-team meetings or asking others to clarify jargon. 

New hires can use Dashworks to locate references by typing in direct questions since our intelligent search isn’t limited to just returning file names that match your search terms. 

This saves time for managers and enables employees to accelerate their growth by finding the info they need (whether they already knew it existed or not) to learn to do their jobs. 

“Overall, Dashworks reduces the friction of finding sources of truth between different departments of the company.”

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