Here at Tuminds, we’ve recently adopted Slack as our in-house communication tool of choice. We’ve used it to reduce the volume of our internal emails, make sharing and finding information and files easier, and to improve communication between team members, no matter where they are.
Slack is a cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app which began life as an internal tool developed in-house by a games company, Tiny Speck, during the development of their game “Glitch”. The name is actually an acronym, which means, “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”.
Slack is available: as a downloadable desktop application, via the Slack website, and as a mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones; Slack integrates with a wide range of existing apps and web services, including Twitter, Mailchimp, Dropbox and Google drive.
Slack gives us the ability to communicate directly on a one-to-one basis, or on a one-to-many basis using Slack’s private and secure Direct Message functionality. Imagine other Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, and you’ll get the idea. Great for getting immediate feedback on something, or a quick decision when the boss is out of the office.
We also use Slack Channels to organise our general whole-team conversations, for specific projects and events, as well as sharing Social Media and technology news items that catch our collective eyes. You can make ‘public’ Channels – where everyone in the team can see the channel contents and join in with the conversations – or you can mark them as ‘private’, where there are subject matters which are limited to certain team members, for example an HR Channel.
You can tweak your individual settings to notify you of posts to the Channels or keywords of your choosing, meaning you won’t miss out on important messages or topics of conversation, but at the same time, you won’t be overloaded with notifications on subjects which are not necessarily relevant to you.
Slack allows you to drag, drop and share files, images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets right into Channels, or via Direct Messages to other team members. You can add comments or ‘star’ [i.e. favourite] items for future reference, and the whole of Slack is searchable, so you can easily find anything you’ve posted or said within Slack at a later date. Tight integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box means that you can simply just paste the link into Slack and that document is immediately in sync, and the document itself becomes searchable too.
Everything in Slack—messages, notifications, files, and all—is automatically indexed and archived so that we can find what we’re looking for, whenever we need it. Slack also indexes the content of every file uploaded, making PDFs, Word documents, Google docs, and more, all searchable. With one search box and a set of powerful search operators, you can easily find a message in your communication haystack.
Slack is available to use for free, but this version is limited to 10,000 searchable messages, and a maximum of 10 integrations. However, FREE is a great way to get started out on Slack, and to test-drive its capabilities, apps and integrations. Slack-friendly apps include Trello, Asana, Wunderlist, Todoist, Gyphy, Dropbox, Google Drive and loads more!
At Tuminds we’ve included Kyber as one of our key integrations, which gives us task management inside of the Slack UI, allowing us to create reminders and allocate tasks using simple English-like phrases. If you’re interested, you can check out Kyber here: https://kyber.me/
It may be somewhat difficult to visualise or imagine how you might use Slack on first encounter. However, there are wide range of use cases where Slack can help an organisation communicate and interact with your teams. Note that the following starter-for-ten list is by no means exhaustive, and doesn’t include any helpful ‘Slack bots’!
- Online Staff Handbook
- Publishing up-to-date Staff Rotas
- Channels for specific projects, events, or teams
- Staff Noticeboard
- Internal Small Ads [buy/swap/sell]
- All-User Communications [reducing internal emails!]
- One-to-One/One-to-Many instant messaging [reducing internal emails!]
- Knowledge Management/Sharing/Problem-Solving [“who knows anything about X?”]
- Online Suggestion Box
- Message of the Day [from your CEO, or someone funnier]
- Email Integration [posts incoming emails to a Slack channel for monitoring]
- To-Do Lists/Task Management [e.g. using the Kyber extension, allocate tasks to individuals, and yourself!]
- Team-Building [e.g. the ‘slash-nom’ extension, which helps arrange team lunches, or simply sharing photos or funny pictures]
Here at Tuminds, Slack has had a huge impact on how we communicate and share as a team, eliminating the infernal internal emails, and allowing us to communicate quickly and easily with each other, no matter where we are, and no matter what device we’re using. It’s also provided us with a great ‘hub’ to share ideas, information and files, and to organise and manage our projects and tasks.
So yes, I guess you could say, at Tuminds we HAVE all become a bunch of Slackers! ?
Slack HQ: https://Slack.com/
For more Customer Stories and Use Cases, see: https://Slack.com/customers
For information on apps/integrations, please see https://slack.com/apps
For information on bots [if you’re interested] please see https://api.slack.com/bot-users
“So yeah, we tried Slack” [great introductory video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6zVzWU95Sw