Anrok, a rapidly growing startup, needed a way to share ideas, document work, and collaborate. Their Product Manager Russell Salazar sits at the intersection of many teams and helps folks work together to launch new features. He had experienced the pain of wasting time searching for the right documents and getting bogged down in formatting—all of which slowed the product development process.
With Slab, Russell can easily share information, reference other posts, coordinate projects that span multiple teams, and shave hours off his time spent formatting and editing posts. As a result, new features and ideas are released more quickly. Russell uses Post Insights and in-line comments in Slab to see which ideas are gaining traction, so he can get additional input and better collaborate with cross-functional stakeholders.
Russell Salazar is a Product Manager at Anrok, a software company that automates sales tax compliance for SaaS businesses, so they can focus on their core products instead of worrying about collecting, processing, and reporting sales tax. He joined the company because he loves building tools that take care of the mundane aspects of work so people can stay within their areas of expertise and do what they love to do.
Russell’s role falls across three pillars: high-level planning, ground-level execution, and customer input. Every aspect of his work involves collaborating with numerous cross-functional stakeholders to align on strategy, resources, processes, and execution.
“We’re able to launch better features because Slab provides one central place where our team can engage in a back and forth, creating a more complete set of ideas for people to think about and be inspired by.”
Before joining Anrok, a growing startup, Russell worked at the tech giant Microsoft, where he experienced the challenges of knowledge sharing. “There were countless wikis and information got lost easily, not to mention, many people simply didn’t use the internal knowledge management system,” he explains. If he wanted to find certain information, he often had to email a colleague and wait days for their response—a slow and frustrating process. What’s more, formatting Word documents took him hours every week.
Once at Anrok, Russell was onboarded quickly using Slab posts featuring company policies, product processes, and past Product work. “By reading through the initial documentation shared with me and then creating my own, I was able to get familiar with Anrok and how the company uses Slab simultaneously,” he says. Searching and browsing topics, Russell easily found information and traced past themes of product thinking. Because search results are informed by the reach of content, Russell knows he’ll find the documents his team cares about in a heartbeat.
His onboarding was so seamless that, in his first month, Russell developed his own Slab templates and shared them to guide collaboration moving forward. Russell also no longer spends hours each week formatting documents to make sure stakeholders understand them. Slab helps him complete the writing part of the process and share documentation faster, allowing him to focus on collaborating with and unblocking other teams.
“Slab made it easy to incorporate past knowledge and templates into new ones for the team to use moving forward.”
Russell and other stakeholders at Anrok use Slab for the product planning process, creating and sharing discovery and product requirement documents (PRD). With Slab, Russell leverages other teams’ work, such as engineering and finance, to create a PRD that is cross-referenceable and links to research or strategy from other teams. That way, people can easily find extra information or context.
Before, Russell sometimes hesitated to share new ideas because a doc wasn’t ready. Using Slab saves him time with easy formatting that helps him document information in a way he’s proud to share early and often. This has led to better and faster iteration in product planning.
Company-wide, Anrok uses Slab to document company policies, like its holiday schedule and onboarding process. They also adhere to a shared folder structure that helps different teams store, share, and reference documents.
Russell uses several Slab features to enhance collaboration and make documentation easier to find and understand for others. For example, he relies on hints to highlight key messages or specific sentences for the Sales team to focus on for talking points. He organizes ideas with topics, branching them out and tying in various resources, such as the opinion of tax experts on product functionality. He also uses integrations to embed Figma files and Height links, so cross-functional teams have up-to-date information at every step of the process.
“With Slab, everything lives in one central location, where it’s easy to find, reference, and dig into,” he says. “Information is inter-referenced, and we don’t lose sight of things that might be connected.”
By collaborating in Slab, Russell always has a pulse on ideas and projects. He uses Post Insights and in-line comments on his Slab posts to evaluate how a new document is gaining traction internally. For example, if nobody has looked at a post, he sends reminders, or if there are lots of comments, he knows it's a good idea and can get started on the next steps. “Before, ideas would get lost in a meeting or Slack channel; documenting them in Slab posts keeps the conversation going and signals whether folks want to pursue an idea,” he says. “After all, an idea only matters if people read and discuss it.” This level of visibility makes Russell more effective at coordinating and collaborating with other teams—a core aspect of his role.
As with any company, different teams communicate in different ways. With Slab, Russell doesn’t worry about ideas getting lost in translation when he’s working with other teams. Instead, he can easily portray ideas using formatting, structure, and embedded links. “I’m able to quickly tailor things to who I’m talking to, which allows us all to better connect ideas without having to translate them,” he says.
Sharing and gauging engagement with ideas in Slab has a downstream impact, too. It allows Russell to socialize more ideas and impact the product roadmap. "We’re able to launch better features because Slab provides one central place where our team can engage in a back and forth, creating a more complete set of ideas for people to think about and be inspired by,” he says.
As a growing cross-functional team, having a place to document, find, and move work forward is critical to collaborating, delivering products, and scaling as a company at Anrok. Collaborating with Slab encourages everyone to share their ideas—even in their earliest stages—by making them easy to find, read, share, and integrate with other tools.
With Slab, Russell can focus on doing what he set out to do when he joined Anrok: create products that help take care of the mundane so that people can focus on their areas of expertise. By helping him share his ideas early and often, communicate with other teams, and collaborate with cross-functional stakeholders without losing anything in translation, Slab empowers Russell to focus on what he does best: connecting the many dots and teams necessary to take features from inception to launch.