How we Work is an ongoing series where we talk about the software and services we use every day to communicate, collaborate and generally get the job done. In this third instalment, we’ll take a look at Slack, an online space where everyone in the organization gets together to talk.
Communicating around the office, across different offices and across continents can get a little challenging. So it is that we’re always on the look-out for tools that make things easier.
We’ve tried a bunch but recently, we’ve settled on Slack.
Settled on Slack doesn’t quite do it justice. We were really happy to find a secure IM and cross-team communication platform that just seems to get it. That’s flexible enough to bend effortlessly to how we work and so well thought out that it makes it look easy. That doesn’t require a lot of training for people to get started. Whose “rules” for use within the team can be created at a high level and / or that can evolve naturally.
Slack’s tagline is “be less busy.” We like that for its simplicity and its ambition.
At its core, Slack is a web and mobile app that lets teams communicate. It’s kind of an instant messenger client, but it goes beyond by being one-to-one, one-to-several and one-to-many. It’s also very flexible, allowing for integrations with a whole host of web apps that teams already use.
When sharing files in Slack (another strength of the platform), you have the option to send to an individual or to a group. Any comments added will be part of the file on Slack and said file can be searched for (and more importantly, found) at any time.
Teams divide up into their own channels to discuss the stuff that relates to said team. Channels each have their own purpose. Some have rules in place to preserve the original intent of the channel. For example, we have an #all-company channel that’s supposed to be used like an all company email list. Which is to say, sparingly and only when it’s something the whole company needs to hear.
We have over 30 of these channels that the company and various teams use. Some are work related, some are social and others are a place to discuss things that are tangentially work related. People join the channels that relate to them, whether personally or professionally.
The basic division we use for channels is this: