So my VP introduced us to this tool called Slack a few days ago. My first reaction? Greatttt. Another tool I need to keep checking for updates every 3 minutes. 2 days later, I’m absolutely in love with it.
It completely changed the way our team communicates in a matter of 2 days. We’re closer knit, communicating more clearly, and are more productive than ever before. It’s slightly magical. Why, you ask?
1. It’s elegantly designed.
You can tell that the team that designed it really took their time focusing on the little big details. It’s simple to use and powerful at the same time.
2. Notifications are cleanly executed.
There are badges in the Mac App, but they are subtle. Instead of things flashing in your face, there’s just a dot. Threads with new comments turn bold. They aren’t obnoxious stress inducing notification signals, they’re lovely.
3. The team conversations are fluid.
Tagging is an option, but it’s like a giant chat window for all members to see. Everything is archived, so there is no fear of missing out on an important interaction if you’re out sick or stuck in a meeting. That being said, rereading our team conversations is hilarious. We could probably create a season long sitcom script just by copy pasting our team chat transcripts.
4. Remote employees become fully immersed in team culture, without any effort.
Our team has one employee who works remotely 4 days a week.
We’ve switched from Lync (which is absolutely horrible, it crashes every 5 minutes, deletes things, doesn’t send full messages without alerting you, there’s no a character limit warning, it saves conversations in a sketchy manner, I could go on and on) to Slack exclusively, for internal team communication.
Keeping remote employees in the loop with Lync is practically impossible. With Slack, it’s effortless.
5. We now have a permalink to conversing with our VP.
Our VP is incredibly busy, but always takes the time to chat with us and address our questions and concerns. Lync crashing was a stumbling block for clear lines of communication and emails were a stumbling block because he gets about 8734 of those per day. Slack is a direct line with clean communication flow. It’s not something that will disappear or crash and kill a conversation. It lets him reach out to us at any point of the day when he has the opportunity, and gives us the chance to respond as soon as we’re free from meetings/surface for air from our latest projects.
6. There are group conversations, and private conversations, and they all feel permanent.
When using a normal chat client, or emailing a person, messages seem temporary, and folks tend to say things they wouldn’t say in person. They of course, AREN’T temporary, once you send a message on the net it lives forever, but still the transient feel remains. When you communicate on Slack, you can edit or delete, but it has a more permanent feel, because when you open the screen everything you’ve said previously is still in the window. I find myself thinking before I type, but not in a bad way, in a more organized thought process way. Try it for a few days to understand what I mean.
7. Tools are available, but tucked away in non obtrusive places.
You can hover over a message to display a gear icon that contains the options to delete or edit it. They aren’t in your face, they’re tucked away, which contributes to the fluid, clean feeling of the interface.
8. The ability to split apart channel topics has been mega helpful in assisting us in communicating more clearly.
We have a general tab where we do things like select our team superhero names and avatars (Have I mentioned how much I love my job and my team? Seriously. Best work environment on the planet. Oh, and #TeamIronMan ftw!) We also use that area to toss out ideas and concepts and figure out how to allocate projects. We have an inspiration channel to post awesome new tech we stumble upon, we have a process channel to discuss ways we can improve our work flows, and we have a questions channel where we can post urgent questions that need to be addressed to avoid impediments.
9. You can add media to your conversations with ease.
You can add links and graphics & you can use threaded commenting to have conversations about the assets you add. It’s simple and lost in one place.
10. Slack replaced 3 other tools, by combining all of their functionality into one.
We were using Lync for chat, we were using a hidden Facebook group for sharing inspiration and we were using Notable to toss out design feedback. Slack combined all 3 necessities into one elegant space.
I’m officially a huge Slack fan. If you’re looking for a new tool to improve team communication, definitely check it out.