It’s tool time!
No, I’m not Tim Allen. But I wanted to let you know about Slack, a great tool that’s helping to improve team communication and collaboration in my businesses while improving productivity.
What is Slack?
From their website (https://slack.com/):
- “Slack is a platform for team communication: everything in one place, instantly searchable, available wherever you go.”
- “Slack is free to use for as long as you want and with an unlimited number of people.”
What could be better than than?
Slack integrates with a bunch of services that you may already use (see https://slack.com/integrations for the entire list, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Trello, and Asana).
You can share images and text very quickly and easily, and it’s very lightweight.
There are versions on Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, so you should be covered.
So how slack is improving team communication and collaboration for me
I’ve just started, but I’m using it as like an instant messaging tool amongst team members and businesses. But let’s go through a couple of pictures and I’ll explain it to you.
Starting in the upper left, within the blue box, is the two different slack “teams” I’m on. The first one is Pro Website Creators, then second one is Wordflirt, which are two different companies. Each team has it’s own configurations, rights, and memberships. You might think of them as companies or organizations. For example, one could be your company, another could be your church, another could be your family, etc.
In the green box is the name of the team.
In the Orange box is a list of “Channels”. These are communication areas that the entire team will have access to. They increase transparency by putting knowledge in everyone’s hands. Channels include messages, files & comments, inline images & video, rich link summaries and integration with the various services. Complete history & search across all channels is built in.
The “general” and “random” channels are built in. But I created one for a website project that we’re doing, and the really nice thing is this: anytime you want to see what’s happening on a project, or channel, you just go there; you don’t have to wade through all kinds of texts, banter between people, etc.
Here are some ideas for Slack Channels:
- for a Family Team: schoolwork, activities, meals, vacations;
- for a Company Team: product releases, suggestion box, news articles on your company;
- for a non-profit: fund raising ideas, donor possibilities, events planning;
In the Purple box are the people on the team and where you can Direct Message them, meaning it’s between just the two of you.
The green highlight means that’s the communication channel, group, or direct message you’re currently viewing in the main window.
We’ll talk about Private Groups below.
In the main window, where the communication is occurring, you can easily share files. If you click on the file, it all show up in the right pane. Then if you click on the Settings gear or Actions drop down, you’ll get what’s in the Yellow box, which are options as to what you can do with the file.
Now one other really cool feature is the ability to create Private Groups.
Here is where you can limit who gets access and can contribute.
So for Claudia Loens of Wordflirt and I, we created private groups for our design projects so that we can invite others to participate in those projects without being able to see other projects.
Slack is really helping me improve my team communication and collaboration, and I’m still in the process of transforming how I am communicating with key people both within and outside of Pro Website Creators.
I recommend you give it a try; it’s free and just use it with a few people to get the hang of it, and to see if you want to roll it out further in your company or organization.