Tool Tuesday – Be More Productive by Slacking

Recently our team went to Dallas Digital Summit and had a blast. There were a lot of great sessions, met some nice people and even went to a Mavericks game. But while all this was going on there was one phrase I kept hearing, “We just started slacking”. After I heard another speaking mention it I decided to check it out.

Slack is a team collaboration tool that allows users to communicate about different projects all in one place:

tool1

From the screenshot above you can see that different client chats can be setup so teams can chat about progress on projects without getting caught up in typical group chats that occur. Which in my opinion is great if you have a team that works remotely or if you work in one location but don’t want to set up meetings for every update.

While Basecamp and other platforms are great for project management (which Slack integrates with a ton of other programs including some project management apps), logging in just to have a quick back and forth exchange on a project is a waste of time. Just chatting back and forth can save time, and the conversation can be uploaded to Basecamp so the history can be notated.

Slack can be used either online or via desktop app as well as iPhone and Android devices. There are even a Beta versions out for Linus and Windows phone:

tool2

While it is possible to setup group chats in Skype, Slack offers a more controlled environment and not to mention you have the ability to tag clients in chats when you might not be in that chat area:

tool3

You even have the ability to tag teammates in chats if they are offline or out for the day. Teammates can see this and respond to them when they see the notifications:

tool4

While Slack is free it does offer some paid versions that offer even more benefits like:

  • Searching an unlimited message archive
    • Everything is recorded and Slack allows you to search all of it
  • Guest access
    • Want to invite a client to their own chat? Do it at your own risk, but this is also valuable if you decide to work with a vendor or outside party on a project.
  • Email integration
  • Usage statistics
  • Google Authorization/App for domain sign-on

Slack offers a lot of different uses but at the time it does not offer any sort of voice call service, however it does integrate with an array of services like GoToMeeting and others in order to bridge this gap.

Overall this platform seems like a great way to keep communication better organized, especially when chatting online is your main source of communication this is a great tool to keep the chatter sorted.

I do wish it had it’s on proprietary voice call service, and a few others but the fact is they integrate with a bunch of other tools to offer what they themselves are unable to. The pricing is another thing that may deter some. It’s not a huge investment (depending on the size of your team), everybody likes something that’s free. And this isn’t a scream for “hey it should be free”. After all:

tool5

And Slack is certainly good and covers gaps in online team communication that honestly has been missing. The ability to keep client specific and project specific chat separated is huge. Chatting hello with someone and catching up on what was done over the weekend and then going into client questions can muck up a chat when you’re trying to re-read something.

Give it a try and let us know what you think. Or if there’s another tool out there you think we should check out drop us a line!