5 Tips for Efficient Slack Communication

Slack Channels

Everybody uses Slack these days. It’s a fast, convenient and easy way to synchronize teams, and a great alternative to email. Although it stirs some controversy, I still believe it’s the best corporate chat tool ever created.

Here are some tips that helped our company make the most of it over the past years while building a highly efficient team.


#1 Don’t use both email AND Slack

No EmailWhen you decide to switch to Slack, make it a policy not to use email for anything, but legal documents.

This way you’ll avoid a problem when you’re talking over multiple channels to your colleagues or employees, dividing their attention. This will also help to avoid misunderstanding, or lost pieces of important information.

Once you’re in, you’re in!


#2 Set expectations to response time (and disable notifications!)

NotificationLike any messenger, Slack can be very distracting.

Things pop up all the time, craving for your attention. Make it easy for your developers to make stuff done without being interrupted every second!

Let them disable notifications, and set expectations as to how responsible they should be in Slack. Say, “check Slack every 1 hour”.

 

#3 Don’t have one person on more than 3-4 channels

Lots of channels, each for a different topic, can be frustrating to follow. Things start to get lost, and people are getting confused where to post. Keep your team sane by limiting a number of channels one person is required to follow.

I’d recommend the following structure:

  • #general – Company-wide announcements;
  • #random – Things unrelated to work: cat pictures, music preferences, etc;
  • #dev-chat – Developers-only channel for general chat & announcements;
  • #sales – Sales and marketing guys;
  • #<project> – Project-specific channel, where <project> is a short project’s name.

 

#4 Create special channels for automatic updates

Slack Auto UpdatesAllow developers see if their last build succeeded, without leaving Slack. Create a channel where you’ll post updates from your favourite CI!

You can also post GitHub and JIRA updates there, so the team knows what is going on with the project, and who else is delivering what.

This way you’ll avoid countless merge conflicts and people stepping on each other’s toes.


#5 Use it for standups, in a humane way

GeekbotCreate #standup channel and start using Geekbot to let people post their daily updates, asynchronously.

This keeps the whole team in sync, and gives you a at-a-glance overview of what’s going on.

 

 

These tips are in no way a complete list, so if you have something that works for your company, please share it in the comments below!


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