Simplex is a B2B company that combines elements of finance, IT, and consulting. Over 100 new college graduates have joined the company this spring, bringing total staff to 800. For the 20 years since they were established, they have continued to meet the expectations of their clients with high quality products.
The Financial Frontier Division of Simplex is in charge of system development and they were the first team to introduce Scrapbox in the company. Now their Scrapbox culture is spreading to other departments. This time, we interviewed Noriyuki Mizutani, Kenichi Otomi, and Masae Sawada about the use of Scrapbox at the company.
Simplex Co., Ltd. Financial Frontier Division Executive Principal
First of all, please tell us about your history of introducing Scrapbox.
Otomi: I don't remember when I introduced it, but ... I saw a tweet from Toshiyuki Masui (Nota Inc. CTO, Scrapbox creator) saying "I have a new in-house Wiki" and participated in a meetup in 2016. That was my first encounter with Scrapbox. Since I was originally a fan of Masui, I started using it without thinking too deeply except "Masui definitely recommends it." I used other collaboration tools, but I found it difficult to use because the information flow was inconsistent. Even though discussions were held, it was difficult to check what was recorded late ... It was hard to sort out what was decided and what was not decided.
Mizutani: Also, the tools before Scrapbox were versatile and capable of various things, but they were difficult to use, so they worked only for people with a high level of literacy, and they were not active from the company-wide perspective. By the way, I hardly used it either.
That makes sense. It means that you used to have issues in "discussion".
Otomi: Yeah, the habit of "recording discussion" was not established, so for example, those who were involved in an ongoing project, in the middle of the process couldn't understand what led to the current state. This was something a lot of time was spent on.
The process of trial and error is a treasure trove. Many changes took place after introducing Scrapbox.
How did you solve these problems you had before, by introducing Scrapbox?
Otomi: I feel that the decrease in quality and efficiency that occurred because we weren't able to grasp the past situation has been removed almost entirely. The process of trial and error is a treasure trove. I feel that it is very valuable that knowledge that is normally only understood by experienced people remains in the text, and that using this open system called Scrapbox we can provide this know-how to the entire team.
Mizutani: Also, when talking to young people, the introduction of Scrapbox created an interest in the work of seniors who were not directly involved, and they studied voluntarily, such as browsing various pages of the projects they were involved in. I don't know how much it affects young people's active collection of information from Scrapbox, but I feel that questions from young people have changed recently.
That's interesting. What do you think, as a young man, when you listen to Mizutani?
Sawada: As Mizutani says, the distance between me and my seniors has decreased, and I have gained a wider range of knowledge. Instead of feeling that I've been able to hear the opinions of my seniors, rather I have a strong feeling that I'm standing on the same playing field regardless of senior and junior staff. For example, it's a positive culture that the seniors unilaterally read and write what we juniors wrote. It's hard to feel... In Scrapbox, senior staff also take the initiative to write and comment on younger staff's pages. It's the simple structure of Scrapbox that deepens "discussion" instead of "damage". Maybe it happened that way before because there wasn't a shared worldview.
From code review to shared to-do management. How is Simplex's use of Scrapbox unique?
Could you tell us your main use cases of Scrapbox?
Otomi: I often use Scrapbox for code reviews in the development process. In addition, young people collaborate to create reports like daily news reports with one or two pages. After seeing it, I've gotten into the habit of exchanging comments.
Mizutani: I also share and use the "To-do list" pages on a project-by-project basis. Each month, I register my own to-do, cut and paste as needed, and move items to the bottom of the page when done. The remainder is carried over to the next month's page. It is very nice how you can get a bird's eye view of who is doing what and how much you have achieved. It's a place for casual communication as well as sharing team information together with people who are older and younger.
When they noticed it, it was spreading naturally. The only thing they did was introduce Scrapbox.
Have you ever had a hard time getting Scrapbox into the company?
Otomi: I don't really have the consciousness to spread it, and the impression is that if I used it normally, it eventually spread."
Sawada: From the standpoint of getting started and becoming widely used, I think it was good that many pages were created right from the beginning. The hurdles to start writing became lower and I feel free to write freely without being bound by rules. New employees, including myself, wrote the first page frighteningly fast, and no one said anything, and the pages went on one after another. It kept growing on its own... this was my impression.
In other words, instead of forcing people to use Scrapbox, as Otomi said, senior staff simply used it on a daily basis as usual... that situation accelerated the adoption of Scrapbox. Got it.
Otomi: Maybe it was. I was convinced by listening to Sawada's story. In addition, Scrapbox is not so burdensome for the viewers, so it is easy for first-time people to accept and adopt it. Most chat tools are constantly flowing information, so if you're in a passive attitude first, you're desperate to chase information, and if you don't catch that wave, it's done. Chat tools are good for communication, so our team uses Slack and Scrapbox as company-wide chat tools. Slack is used as a call to start discussions, and the discussion itself is in Scrapbox. I make use of the characteristics of both sides, such as for making pages or chatting.
Thank you very much. Finally, please tell us about your future prospects for using Scrapbox.
Otomi: At our company, about 70 members are currently using Scrapbox, but it has not been introduced company-wide yet. I'm sure other departments have a sense of problems with existing work, and the cause is the tool. I would like to promote the use of Scrapbox in such departments. Of course, in that case, I would like to support this by not actively pushing it, but allowing it to spread naturally.
Scrapbox lets you instantly capture and find knowhow at any scale, both solo and with a team.
You can rapidly capture things like notes, manuals, tasks, code, meeting minutes, and research results. All pages are automatically connected with bi-directional links, allowing you to seamlessly work across even tens of thousands of pages.