We’re used to communicating instantly in 2016. Some of us prefer Facebook messenger over WhatsApp, some communicate on Skype, iMessage or Hangouts. On the one hand, this mixture of communications tools inevitably leads us to them all simultaneously. On the other hand, from what I see around me, people tend to consistently use one specific communication tool for each individual.
Then we go to our offices and, as if we’ve rolled our brains back 20 years, we use – wait for it – email! And we (mis)use it for literally everything. Reporting that a minor test run has completed, or sharing subtle information, which is relevant only to the sender and recipient, and CC’ing your whole team. Just in case somebody’s interested and wants to add more stuff to their already full mailbox.
All this noise results in important messages getting lost in the heap of rubbish or them being read too late. With social networks, we use tags to search for relevant information, or we create chat groups to get our personal projects finished – such as meeting in the right pub on time! So why not use this approach for team communication as well?
I know some people who communicate to their teams through Facebook messenger, in group chats or Skype groups. And it works quite well for them. When I was thinking of a tool to give our project a chance, someone recommended Slack. I saw some videos and was eager to give it a try. I set up our team, created a #welcome channel (on Slack, channels are like chat rooms) with some general information and links to YouTube videos. For client-related tasks, I created one channel per group of tasks. For example: #networkData, #monthlyBatch, #dataModelling. Then #fun and #generalchat channels were added later.
We still use email for communicating with the client but, thanks to Slack, we dropped Skype and WhatsApp from team communication. We have less communication overhead, are more responsive and even our conservative colleague (I used to call him an email guru :)) began liking Slack.
Slack is more than just another communication tool. It reminds you about messages from channels, syntax highlighting, GIF integration, YouTube and SoundCloud embedding features, addressing people directly in channels, sharing files, and much much more. Make sure to check the ‘15 slacks tips in 5 minutes’ video from the resources section to get started.