How Lucid’s IT teams use Lucid to solve complex problems

Alan Reeves-Fortney, Director of IT, Lucid

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Here at Lucid, our IT team is in the business of employee uptime. The faster we can resolve everybody’s technology issues, the sooner we can get them back on task. That is all to say that managing all things IT is an essential but often overwhelming job.

That’s why we use Lucid’s very own products to help us keep our organization running. Our team works in Lucid daily to solve problems at every stage of our IT workflow—from initial brainstorming to launching solutions.

As a result, we’ve scaled operations to one help desk for every 300 users. Here’s how we do it.

 

Project planning and roadmaps 

There’s never a shortage of potential initiatives we could pursue. But we have finite time and resources, so we have to be great at prioritizing. Lucid helps us prioritize and plan projects better than any other tool I’ve used. 

Here’s how we use Lucid for project planning and roadmaps:

 

Brainstorming

First, we get together and brainstorm ideas for projects in Lucidspark. Gathering ideas in this virtual space allows everyone on the team to contribute ideas, visualize the options, and discuss opportunities to help us reach our goals.

Of course, we can’t pursue every idea, so we need to narrow it down. With Visual Activities, we can quickly gather everybody’s input on top priorities. What initiatives have the largest impact for the least amount of team effort? What projects will best move us toward our goals?

a task estimation activity in Lucid's Visual Activities
Use Visual Activities to collect feedback and aggregate data easily.

This used to take us hours of discussion, but now it’s a short and painless process that allows us to align on top priorities in a matter of minutes.

brainstorming template in Lucidspark
Start your own brainstorming session in Lucid by clicking the template image.

Project planning

Once we’ve prioritized our top project ideas, we then begin detailed project planning for the upcoming year. 

To do this, we rely on project roadmaps to set us up for success. Creating our roadmaps in Lucid, we outline the tasks, timelines, milestones, resources, and ownership required. Lucid makes it easy to sync tasks directly to our project management software through robust integrations (including Jira, Asana, and Azure DevOps).  

With Lucid, we can democratize the entire planning process without dragging it out. It’s highly collaborative,

A step-by-step guide to project planning

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Hosting postmortems 

Whenever we have an outage or any other IT issue that needs to be addressed, we hold a postmortem to review what went wrong and identify how we can improve going forward. 

We used to host them in Word documents, but the text-heavy layout made it difficult to communicate complex information clearly, and partner groups struggled to add their own contributions.

So, we made the switch to Lucid.

 

The issues we’re looking at are usually pretty complicated and require a lot of information from different people. So, we use Lucid’s timelines to break down the info into a visual order and map out exactly what happened and when. This allows everyone to look at the situation objectively and get on the same page. Then, we can have an effective discussion on what we need to do to get better.

timeline template in Lucidspark
Use Lucid’s timeline template to help you map things out. Click the image to get started.

If we need to do some sort of readout—maybe an executive wants to know what happened—we can share these visuals and convey dense information much faster. 

We also use Lucid’s Collaborative AI to instantly summarize the entire canvas—taking an entire discussion and boiling it down to a few main points. We simply highlight the items on our board, click “Summarize” and Collaborative AI will automatically populate a brief paragraph summing up the main ideas and list out key action items and takeaways.

abstract view of Lucid's AI summary functionality
Lucid’s Collaborative AI is a powerful capability that lets you quickly summarize important conversations, such as a postmortem, directly in your Lucid board.

From there, Lucid makes it easy to turn the post mortem into tangible improvements. We can convert notes into actual tasks through Lucid Cards. Lucid Cards work seamlessly with the Timelines feature and sync directly to our project management system, so fixes don’t fall through the cracks.

Documenting systems 

At Lucid, we have a lot of technical systems that need documentation. Of course, we use Lucidchart to handle documentation for all the obvious things like network diagrams, flowcharts, visualizing cloud infrastructure… you name it. But we also use Lucidchart to document other, less obvious systems—like our office space management—saving us significant time and money.

We can create custom, low-maintenance solutions that go far beyond your typical IT documentation with Lucid.

 

Here’s how we do it: 

Step 1: We imported a spreadsheet with all of our seating data. Lucid’s data-linking functionality enables us to import data sets from Google Sheets, Excel spreadsheets, and CSVs. When the dataset changes, the diagram updates with it. 

Step 2: Then, we dragged that data out as shapes to represent each desk and each conference room. Next, we mapped those to our floor plan and locked them in place.

Step 3: With all that data embedded in each shape, we added conditional formatting rules to visualize specific features and parameters. For example, we can use conditional formatting to color-code different departments and hot desks to see where things are located at a glance.

With Lucid, we can build exactly what we need, when we need it. The best part? IT spends virtually zero time maintaining this documentation. Once we created the custom template, we passed ownership over to our HR team to make updates as needed. It’s a living document that empowers our end users and has a low cost of maintenance.

Rethink your IT documentation with Lucid

Get access to tons of templates to streamline your IT documentation workflow. 

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Why Lucid IT teams love using Lucid

From brainstorming and planning to documentation and continuous improvement, Lucid is there for our IT teams every step of the way. 

Our IT teams love using Lucid because it helps us:

  • Clarify complexity: Teams can visualize complex projects, systems, or ideas with Lucid, helping them reach a shared understanding faster than ever.
     
  • Save time and unlock powerful insights: Because Lucid is the most intelligent visual collaboration platform, our teams can use robust automation and data visualization capabilities to save time on manual work and take action on key insights.
     
  • Bridge the gap between technical and nontechnical teams: Lucid combines robust technical features with an easy-to-use interface so our IT teams can communicate and align cross-functionally with technical and non-technical teams. 

With Lucid, we can not only simplify communication, build alignment, and visualize complex systems, but we can turn our resulting insights into action—fast.

Ready to see what Lucid can do for your IT team?

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About the author

Alan Reeves-Fortney, Director of IT, Lucid

Alan Reeves-Fortney, director of IT at Lucid, has extensive experience in IT and systems administration. He leads a team responsible for prompt ticket resolution, vendor partnerships, and Windows and Mac fleet management. 

About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucid.co.

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