Lots of teams are using Slack or any other communication tool (Microsoft Teams, Discord, etc.) to collaborate on projects. When people are heads down into operations, it can become messy and your favorite comm tool that had to help you and increase productivity becomes a huge black hole, where the information simply disappears into nowhere.
This is the reason, lots of companies arrive at the idea of putting some rules and guidelines around Slack that will close the black hole and keep the communication flowing even when the tension is high.
As multiple customers were asking me to put some Slack guidelines together, I decided to post them online so that everyone can use them. Below you will find the exact document I put together for my customers. There is a downloadable DOCX file as well in case you want to revamp it and use it for your team.
Note, the rules are initially written for Slack but you can use them with any other communication tools (be it MS Teams, Discord, etc.)
Slack is a communication platform and not a project management tool. Each tool focuses on its core function. For Slack, it is all about communication.
#1 reason to use Slack instead of handling communication in the Project Management tool is the speed of communication.
Slack use cases:
There is more to it, but it gives you a general idea of what Slack is about and that it is not only about talking projects, it fosters human relationships.
Additionally, it is smartphone friendly, supports multiple communication channels, and most importantly, is scalable.
The web version of Slack has certain limitations.
To take advantage of all the features, please:
Every Slack user has his/her profile section, just like on Facebook or LinkedIn.It is required to fill up your profile section to create a consistent experience across the organization.
Default Slack notifications are set to notify me about all new messages. Which can become very distracting, especially if you are a member of multiple channels. This can easily overwhelm you with distractions and significantly reduce your productivity.
To avoid it, update your notification settings to notify me about direct messages, mentions & keywords.
Your notification schedule must follow the business hours you operate (work) in. If you have a wrong notification schedule set, you may be receiving no notifications during the hours of operations.Which can affect the productivity of the entire team.
Ensure, you have the notification schedule adjusted to your business operations hrs.
Sound and Appearance
In the Sound & Appearance section, uncheck Include a preview of the message in each notification (disable this for extra privacy). This will hide the preview of the message when a notification arrives and will help you be less distracted by low-priority messages during your work.
Your sidebar is where you have all the channels and a navigation panel.Uncheck everything except:
These are the quick links you will be using often and that will help you remove the unnecessary noise.
Show and Sort
Shortcuts to Learn
Just like the shortcut you use in the browser to open a new tab, use this shortcut to open the search feature.
The search feature allows you to quickly find and navigate to a specific channel or direct messages conversation.
For the rest of the preferences (settings), feel free to select the options of your personal preference.
Google Calendar is a required integration in Slack as it notifies you about all the scheduled meetings.Follow the steps from this link to complete the installation.
1. Fewer messages mean a more efficient collaboration.
Tip: to draft a message with multiple paragraphs, press SHIFT + Enter/Return to create line breaks.
2. Write longer messages that scan quickly
3. Use threads for effective team collaboration. Seriously.
4. Replace short follow-up messages with emoji reactions
Emoji reactions are unsung heroes in Slack. They can communicate lots of different things to your team without needing everyone to post “I agree” messages.
5. Reduce off-hours pings with Do Not Disturb
6. Response expectations at the channel level
7. Default to public channels for better workplace communication
8. Treat the conversation as a task.
Every conversation in Slack (or any other communication tool) is either an action item (request) or must result in specific action items (tasks).
Hence, every time somebody starts a conversation, it has to be treated as a new open task.
The conversation then is called an open conversation.
The conversation can be closed only if:
The conversation then is called a closed conversation.
Every conversation inherits the delegation relationship, where the conversation starter is the delegator and the person responding is the executor.
TIPS & TRICKS
9. End every conversation with WWW.
10. Do not randomly start Slack Huddles
If you want to have a conversation with somebody, make sure you confirm with that person his/her availability before initiating Slack Huddles call unless it is URGENT.Otherwise, it is considered as rude.
11. Tag the task you are discussing.
If you are discussing a new task or an existing one, always add a project management tool task link to the conversation.If the task you are talking about is not in your tool, then it must be immediately created.
1. Daily Use
2. Channel use
Create channels if:
Do not create new channels if:
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