Last year we received a notice from our CTO that our team would be doing a 2 week "test trial" of the new messaging app Slack. This meant we would cease all chat communication in Skype. At first this had our team feeling a bit uneasy. "Who is this new kid on the block named Slack?" we wondered. Yes, it looks cool, and comes with a friendly little Slack bot to help guide you through the set up process, program responses to poke fun, and house all of our thoughts, but could it connect our team better than our former means of communication, Skype and email?
Our concerns were quickly curbed as we got the hang of Slack. In fact, Slack replaced over half of our email conversations, unblocked team members that had Q's and needed immediate answers, and provided us a hub of communication, collaboration, and clarity at a moment's notice. As a digital agency that designs, develops and delivers technical solutions for web, we move at a VERY fast pace. Slack has allowed us to move even swifter, and maintain our sanity at the same time.
What is Slack?
Slack is not just a chat app for teams, it is a centralized location for communication, files, thoughts, ideas, conversations, questions and answers. It replace email threads and formal conversations with quick and efficient short messages. Slack acts a a centralized hub for all communication happening within an organization. And on top of all of that, it's FUN, user friendly and simplifies communication that should not be so serious.
Benefits of using SLACK:
- Team notifications
- Quick communication
- Collaboration with internal & external teams
- Great tool for sharing files and directly commenting on them
- Ability to search through ALL past communication, and uploaded files
- Very mobile friendly - feels as simple as a text message
- Integration with google docs/hangouts
- Integrated Web Hooks
"I love the webhooks allowing for status integration with CI services. It allows you to follow when code's getting deployed, when builds either fail or are successful." – TAG Engineer Brian Moore
Who is Slackbot?
Slackbot is there to help new users set up accounts by getting them started. Users can also program slackbot with responses, so when nobody else in the room is listening slackbot is always there. It's also a place to “dump” details and information that you want to come back to later. Slackbot NEVER forgets.
Search: What the heck were we talking about?
Slack has a powerful search tool making all conversations, uploads, files, and information readily accessible. The app searches through conversations, channels, and connected accounts to locate everything and anything ever discussed.
Mobile On the Go:
Another great feature of slack is the ability to keep messages and notifications in our pockets. The mobile messaging system allows for quick answers to questions if someone is blocked. It offers a simple way to send someone a notification and acts like a text message vs. an email. Third & Grove operates in three different time zones in San Francisco, CA, Cambridge, MA and Barcelona, Spain. Slack allows us to stay connected even when people are not sitting at their desks.
The primary use of SLACK is for chat. And there are many ways to do it. Slack offers one on one direct messaging to another team member, private channels for specific projects, or departments, and all channels to go company wide for notifications and recent updates. This is extremely useful to ensure only the necessary people involved get the right information. Email threads can go awry when the "reply" and "reply all" is not properly used and threads start to dive into a deep abyss.
Third & Grove knows when to take things seriously, and when to have fun. Slack provides a platform for everything in between. From #Cat Channels to #Music and #inspiration, we have an outlet to share ideas and inspiration. Sometimes you've got to take a break and have a good laugh.
Third & Grove's Favorite Channels:
"My favorite feature is that it's playful, which sets the right tone for work chat." – TAG CTO Justin Emond
Overall, Slack has increased productivity, cut down on email back and forth, and enhanced our internal communication company wide. Most importantly, we get to have a good laugh (at least 10 times a day). It can be tricky bridging the gap between time zones. From San Francisco to Cambridge to Barcelona, we try to maintain our sanity without skipping a beat. Whether it is email, phone, letter, text, skype, slack, or telepathy, if you are a start-up with a great idea, or a company looking for tech solutions send us a line. We would love to chat!