With information and documentation scattered across different tools and systems, documentation, onboarding, and remote collaboration became a challenge at Forbes. Without one central place to store and access information, teams lacked transparency, work wasn’t aligned, and processes became inefficient.
Slab provides a single source of truth for documentation and more, helping to streamline knowledge sharing and create a culture of transparency at Forbes. The transition went smoothly due to Slab’s search functionality and integration capabilities.
Forbes, the globally-known modern media company, prides itself on marrying innovation with journalism and storytelling. The company is constantly pioneering new ways of engaging with content, both with its readers and within the virtual company walls of its remote team.
Caleb King, the Director of Engineering, and Bharat Ramesh, the Engineering Manager, work to build the features and technology that bring Forbes to the world across borders and devices. But while they worked to make content accessible and engaging for Forbes readers, they noticed that internal knowledge sharing was missing the mark.
When the two first joined Forbes, the engineering team was using multiple tools, including Google Docs, Confluence, and Jira. As a result, information was scattered across the various platforms, making it hard for engineers to know where to look for the resources they needed.
“Files, docs, and slides were scattered and hard to find,” explains Caleb. “We wanted a tool to centralize all of our documentation and resources, while working with the other technology in our ecosystem. Our goal was to make it even easier to share, search for, and discover important information.”
“Our goal was to make it even easier to share, search for, and discover important information.”
Because information was hard to find and tools difficult to use, the way people documented critical processes had become siloed—or stopped entirely. This slowed the development of Forbes products and was out of alignment with the company’s mission to share content and information. Caleb and Bharat set out to find a solution that would make information available, accessible, and further create a culture of knowledge sharing across their organization.
When he came across Slab, Caleb quickly saw how it could become a centralized location that would help everyone find the resources they needed. But because changing tools is hard, he didn’t want to force anyone to make the switch without feeling bought in. “There are always internal skeptics and it can take a lot of social capital to champion a change,” he says.
To make the transition easy, Caleb relied on Slab’s search and integrations functionalities. Thankfully, all historical information was searchable from Slab, so people could continue to use their preferred tools and find existing documentation easily—all while getting used to using Slab. Caleb and Bharat then started documenting all new information in Slab, building a library of content and a new practice of building one central repository for engineering resources.
Now, the Engineering and Product teams at Forbes use Slab for documentation, onboarding, and general knowledge sharing. Before they start working on a new feature, they kick things off by writing the technical and product requirements in Slab. And to keep everyone in the loop, they use Slab to document ongoing planning, so that team members know what’s coming next. “Slab has become a hub for engineering documentation—if anyone wants to learn about a feature, see our release plans, or preview what’s on the roadmap, that’s where people go,” says Bharat.
Because Slab integrates with multiple tools across the organization, documenting information is now interwoven with other workflows, and searchability makes it easy for folks to find resources they might need.
An unexpected outcome of using Slab has been a new culture of documentation and knowledge sharing, simply because it’s easier to create, share, and find documents. The team has also become more connected through Slab, which they use to document their organizational chart and profile pages for each team member. Every person’s page includes details on how they like to work, further helping them get to know each other and better collaborate remotely. As a fully remote team, the ability to work seamlessly together and connect in Slab is invaluable.
“Slab has become a hub for engineering documentation on features, release plans, and our roadmap.”
Managing all of the many parts of the release process—who was releasing what, any issues that came up, or progress towards goals—used to be a challenge. With Slab, the team can now track a queue of releases by priority and other details so everyone knows what’s on deck and what’s coming later down the road. By providing this level of transparency and visibility into what other teams are doing, they’ve increased trust on the team.
Caleb and Bharat also use Slab for all onboarding materials, which has led to a faster process overall. In fact, using templates sped up the process of bringing new engineers onto the team by over 66%—what used to take three weeks now only takes one. What’s more, Slab has further improved onboarding by making it easy to incorporate incremental improvements and feedback from new engineers on the go.
Sharing information in Slab has led to an increase in documentation, faster repeat processes, and a more connected team overall at Forbes. By democratizing access to processes, idea sharing, and critical documentation, the Engineering team has affected a change in culture when it comes to documenting and distributing their work. And other parts of the organization are taking note: Forbes is expanding their use of Slab to other teams to continue to empower them and increase transparency overall.
"Slab has helped us create a culture of knowledge sharing. It empowers people to create documentation as they work and find important information on their own when they need it."
As they continue to make valuable content available to folks worldwide through their publication, it’s no surprise that Forbes remains committed to internal content creation and sharing with Slab. “My goal is to use Slab for documenting everything at Forbes, so that everyone can contribute, collaborate, and organize in one place,” says Bharat.