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How Libby, the Workplace by Facebook bot, came to be

May 24, 2018

Libby was born from a frustration of an out of date wiki.

As a company, we used to keep all kinds of information on our wiki. A wiki which nobody owned and nobody could ever remember it’s URL which mean it couldn’t be found anyway.

Once you eventually did stumble across it, you’d realise that the wiki didn’t even have the answer to your question and you’d have to go hunting for the right person to ask.

All in all, a time consuming and frustrating experience.

The wiki existed for years anyway, though I believe fewer and fewer of us used it.

Then, last June, we moved our internal communication to Workplace by Facebook and, since bots is our business, we suddenly had a new place where we could store this information: in a bot on Workplace!

Initially, we created a kind of ‘office bot’ which would tell you the door code and answer a limited number of questions.

But we soon realised that although this office bot was more accessible than the wiki (you just search for the bot in Workplace and there it is), it still wasn’t being updated very often.

We tackled this in a number of ways:

1. Even if Libby doesn’t know the answer to your question, she’ll send a message to her boss who can ping an answer straight back to you and add it to Libby’s knowledge base so that she is constantly learning.

2. After she has sent you a response, she asks if the information was helpful or not, and offers an opportunity to give feedback, so that Libby’s manager can see how useful the information is and update it if need be.

3. Additionally, Libby’s manager gets a weekly reminder of the number of unanswered questions or pieces of feedback so that they can slot in a bit of time each week to update her.

If you’ve ever heard of the skateboard analogy this was our process for building Libby:

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We first built our skateboard, our MVP, which was a very simple ‘Office Bot’ using our current platform. Then we realised that we needed it to do more since we were ultimately employing our ‘Libby’ to do a very specific job.

We sat down and wrote notes for our Libby MVP, MVP+1, MVP+2 and so on, so that we had a vision of the idea but knew that by the end of MVP and then MVP+1 and so on we would have a viable product that we could continue using ourselves and also offer others.

At each stage, we continued to use Libby ourselves to test her out in anger and gained feedback from the team as well as other friends of The Bot Platform to constantly put the user first in our development

Eventually, Libby became a bot who lives on Workplace by Facebook to help answer all those mundane questions that you, your employees and colleagues always want the answer to but can never find the right place or person or don’t want to bother said person for the answer.

Libby is like a new member of the team; she takes a bit of onboarding to get her knowledge up to scratch but after a little investment in her, she is saving us time and money by answering those FAQs that ordinarily, another person would have to stop what they’re doing to answer.

Libby was also built as an extra layer on The Bot Platform, she uses the same technology.

We have added a few additions to Libby as she has evolved to make her as useful as possible (such as the feedback loop which keeps her learning)  but she comes ready made and you can get her set up in less than 10 minutes, the same as all the other bots built on The Bot Platform.

You sign in to a seperate admin which only handles Libby making her easy to update and find statistics on to understand how she is being used.

Having found Libby vital to our everyday working lives, we wanted to share this with everyone else on Workplace by Facebook and create a quick and easy way for others to get rid of their archaic wiki pages and handbooks and start welcoming an ever evolving team member to help with those FAQs.

Learn more about Libby here!

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