Introducing the Shortcut Write private beta
BlogShortcut News and Updates
Shortcut News and Updates

Introducing the Shortcut Write private beta

Heather Purdy
Product Lead at Shortcut
September 12, 2019

At Shortcut, we believe that teams work most effectively and efficiently when they aren't burdened by having information spread across multiple tools. Our vision for Shortcut is to create an integrated platform that is specialized to the needs of software teams and supports all phases of software development.

Our project management tool is the foundation of that platform. It helps teams manage projects through the different development phases. But there's also a lot of work that happens in the ideation, documentation, and post release phases. That's where Shortcut Write comes in.

Shortcut Write allows for free form documentation, ideation, and collaboration in an easy to use editor. Now when you're working on an Epic, or Iteration, or Story, all the relevant information is easily accessible and collected right at your finger tips. No more wasting time searching for documentation or asking to be given permission to access a document.

Shortcut Write aims to be everything you want in a documentation tool from real time collaboration, comments, and @mentions, plus so much more.

Two Products, One Platform - Seamlessly Connected

Our vision for Shortcut is of a fully integrated platform that allows teams to streamline their work across all phases of software development. One part of that vision is having seamless linking across the platform.

Want to create a retro or post mortem from an Epic or an Iteration or anywhere else? You'll be able to do it with one click from the Epic Detail Page and have the Epic automatically linked to your retro or post mortem Doc.

Collaborating on a feature with a product requirement doc? Create that Doc in Write and save time by creating stories directly from your product requirement Doc. You'll save time and be confident that all the necessary stories were created. Additionally, all the Stories created this way will automatically be linked to the Doc and vice versa.

Auto-linking will help your whole team find the related references without having to pause work to search for the documentation they need. Inter-linking keeps relevant content together with the development work, but it'll also make it even easier to find related work down the line.

Better Discoverability

Discoverability of content is a key component of our vision for Shortcut Write. As one user once told us, "If I can't find something, I regret ever having put it into Shortcut." We're taking on this challenge by creating an ecosystem where content is easily discoverable at the right time to the right people. Below are some first steps we're taking toward that vision.

Goodbye, Folders. Hello, Collections!

We've all been there. You're looking for a document you know exists - maybe you created it. Valuable time is spent searching through endless folder hierarchies, trying to figure out where it was filed. You try typing words into search, hoping to remember what the document was called.

We're doing away with Folders in Write. Folders are based on an analog filing system, that forces you to pick a single folder to file a document. The rigid structure doesn't allow for the flexibility needed when a document fits into multiple themes.

In Shortcut Write, you'll have the flexibility to create Collections and add Docs into multiple Collections without having to choose between folders. Collections can be used across the Organization, eliminating the need to create duplicate folders with similar themes. It also makes it easy for anyone in your Workspace to find a Document through intuitive associations and not just one path.

For example, let's say your Acquisition Team is creating a summary of user research for the mobile onboarding flow. In a traditional folder system, you'd have to choose between:

  • Onboarding folder
  • Mobile folder
  • Acquisition Team folder
  • User Research folder

In Write, you don't have to choose! Create an 'Onboarding', 'Mobile', 'User Research', and 'Acquisition Team' Collection and add your Doc to all 4 Collections. This will make it easy for anyone in your Workspace to find the Doc through more than one path.

And soon in Write, you'll also be able to refine your searches by using combinations of Collections. In this example, you could search 'Mobile' and 'Onboarding' or 'Acquisition Team' and 'User Research`. Using combinations of Collections reduces the number of overall Collections your Workspace needs.

Ditch The Clutter

No matter how many rules your team has around document organization, rules eventually become out-of-date or irrelevant, especially when using traditional tools. Someone usually spends valuable time and energy cleaning up old documents, or you give up and move to a new system, or you live with the clutter.

Clutter makes it harder to find the documents that you care most about and makes it difficult to be sure which document is the most current. We're going to ditch the clutter in Shortcut by creating a world where Docs are auto-hidden away when no longer relevant. They'll be safely stored to be easily accessed at any time, but not in your way day-to-day. Here's how we're planning on doing it:

Imagine your office has a desk, a bookshelf, and some storage boxes in the back.

  • Followed Docs would be the reference materials you keep on your desk - easily accessible for a quick reference or to be updated with new information.
  • Active Docs are the items on your bookshelf - important, still relevant, but not necessarily needed every day.
  • Archived Docs are the items in your storage boxes - they are there if you want them, but let's be honest you don't go in there very often.

Now, instead of items piling up in your bookshelf, image items will automatically move into the storage boxes as projects wrap up. We'll be exploring these kinds of automations within Shortcut Write.

Work The Way You Want

One significant limitation of traditional documentation tools is that they're designed to be used with a mouse and only offer traditional text editing. We recognize that the needs of software teams go beyond these basic limitations.

A core (and favorite!) feature of Shortcut Build is the support of markdown and keyboard shortcuts. With Write, we've kept, and are even expanding this core feature. We are building out full markdown support (with inline auto transformations), more keyboard accessibility, and the ability to add in non-traditional content like code blocks.

Easier sharing and collaboration

No longer will you have to worry about granting each user access to individual Docs. In Write, you can publish a Doc to the whole Workspace, ensuring your entire team, including new teammates who join later on, will have access.

In Shortcut, when a teammate is added to a Workspace with Write enabled, that teammate will automatically have access across everything in that Workspace, from Stories and Epics to Documents and Collections.

Want to keep a Doc private? Not a problem. All Docs in Write are created as private to you until you're ready to share them with your Workspace.

Come on this journey with us as we build out our vision to create a better way for software teams to ideate, document, and collaborate together. Sign up for the Write private beta today to request early access.

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