10h11 is not only about exploiting innovative data and interfaces for its customers: internally, the life of the agency is also regulated in this way. Over the course of a new series of articles, we will detail our methods and work tools that allow us to combine agility and efficiency! For a first edition, we propose you a zoom on the new app that is coming up: Slack.
Slack In a few words
Created in 2014, the startup is growing rapidly to reach today a pool of 2.3 million users. slack functions above all as a corporate chat tool. Although this definition is quite simplistic, the interface is designed to facilitate the rapid exchange of messages between employees, within a company or a work group. Available via browser, cross-platform desktop or mobile application, Slack now offers a relevant alternative to other more complex project management tools.
Is good project management with Slack possible ?
Why then move from “historical” project management tools such as Basecamp to the seemingly more limited interface offered by Slack? The question may arise, as many start-ups now seem to be taking the plunge and making Slack their default management tool. In my opinion, the key word is agility. Slack allows a reactivity and a quality of exchange that heavier project management tools can never offer.
Let us talk about the projects. How to integrate projects, the production team, deliverables, to Slack… Nothing could be easier: the interface allows you to create “chains” (private or public conversations), then invite the people involved in your project. We were able to compensate for this lack of a complete planning manager by simplifying our time and team management. By creating a specific “planning” channel, all team members receive their affection for a project every morning. Slack allowing to mention users in the same way as Twitter (@username-user), the member then receives a notification, indicating to him in which project (conversation) he must go to find his brief. Slack also allows you to create links from one project to another by indicating the name of the conversation preceded by a “#”.
Last but not least, if it is possible to quickly integrate new people into the team, it is also possible to open up to the outside world. iOS developer, freelancer, startuper? Slack allows you to create fully public channels to chat with people who share the same activities as you. Soon a channel dedicated to data visualization and data science?
The little something extra: integrations and intelligent bots
Slack’s other great strength is its ability to integrate third-party applications, such as Mailchimp or Dropbox. Once configured, these applications multiply Slack’s organizational interest. For example, you can integrate your favorite newsletter manager (with us, Mailchimp) and Slack will automatically give you all the information you need in real time: the time of sending a campaign, a new member of a list or unsubscribe… We use a large number of integrations, from the most serious (Dropbox, Google Calendar, Twitter,…) to those much less necessary, but just as appreciated by the teams (Spotify, Giphy,…).
Slack not only allows the integration of third-party applications, but also provides smart bots, free or not, that allow you to see the future of web project management. Among other things, we use Statsbot which, once logged into your Google Analytics account, automatically answers any questions you may have about your visit statistics:
Many other bots are available, such as Howdy, which automates all the repetitive tasks of a company and even orders meals for the team!
Fluidity, yes, but….
As you will have understood, Slack was unanimously adopted at 10h11. However, its use requires teams involved in their projects and above all autonomous. Indeed, the use of Slack considerably reduces the amount of emails sent between colleagues, but in return produces a large amount of “noise” throughout the day. The messages sent in each conversation/project produce notifications that can become a productivity problem if the user has not bothered to disable them.
Similarly, secondary integrations such as Giphy can create both a relaxed and pleasant work environment, but can quickly create a significant distraction within a team.
In short, Slack is an excellent tool for managing your agile projects, which can be forgotten, but which itself requires to be managed, so as not to overflow into what is nevertheless the heart of any company: projects.