The challenge

After SaltStack was acquired by VMware, the subject matter experts and content producers who worked on the SaltStack Enterprise product line started to retreat to their own silos, losing the rich cross-communication and rapport that had previously existed between the teams. Each team started working on their own customer-facing content and publishing content in their own disconnected publishing channels:

  • Sales engineers and professional service consultants created created proof-of-concept deployment guides in isolated Word documents.
  • Support agents created knowledge base articles in a content system that was completely disconnected from the product documentation produced by technical writers.
  • Technical marketing managers and product marketing managers produced their own how-to guides in blog entries or their own GitHub repositories.

These fragmented content workflows meant that there was no single source of truth for good technical content about SaltStack Enterprise, which confused users. These siloed teams also operated less efficiently, resulting in duplicated content and missed opportunities to share and exchange knowledge and best practices.

Perhaps worst of all, sometimes marketing managers published technically inaccurate guides or potentially dangerous guides because of a lack of access to field engineers and other experts.


  • Create a single source of technical truth for customers and employees
  • Share knowledge and best practices about our product across teams
  • Break down siloed content workflows

The action I took

I had built valuable, trusted relationships with field engineers prior to SaltStack's acquisition and ensured that I maintained those relationships afterwards. A few months after the acquisition, one of our sales engineers reached out to me share a deployment guide he had created for a customer that he felt would benefit more customers if it were published in the end-user documentation.

Realizing there were many possible opportunities for collaboration, we set up a 1:1 weekly meeting to sync up about content collaboration opportunities. Those initial meetings were so productive, we decided to expand the invitation to more people.

Over time, with management support and buy-in, we built a cross-functional team called Everything SaltStack that included representatives from sales engineering, professional services, development, product management, customer support, and documentation.

In a streamlined, efficient 30 minute weekly meeting over two years, this team brainstormed, coordinated, and fulfilled high quality content requests each week.


major content initiatives completed in two years

The results

Over two years, this team completed more than 18 high-value content requests that empower people to sell, deliver, and adopt SaltStack Enterprise.

Working together, I saw this team mobilize quickly to prevent potential customer problems with upcoming releases and get the workarounds quickly tested and documented, cutting down on customer support calls and increasing overall customer satisfaction.

One of the most impressive ongoing Everything SaltStack projects was a cross-collaborative epic to build a major deployment of Salt and SaltStack Config in an internal IT VMware private cloud datacenter. The goal of this project was to build and test best practices in a complex, real-world deployment to build customer-facing content for a variety of customer-critical use cases, such as:

  • High availability and disaster recovery best practices and recommendations
  • Performance and tuning recommendations
  • Examples of Git repository workflows for complex configuration management deployments

Even better, this project enabled us to test beta releases of the product in complex environments and troubleshoot problems before giving the release to customers.

The Everything SaltStack team closed when Broadcom acquired VMware in late 2023, but I hope to create a new version of this team in the company again.