It’s Not Working
Our in-team communication tool wasn’t working.
We’d all felt this for quite some time, but it became clear when we added a new team member last month. I simply did not want to invite him to our current system. There were too many problems, including:
- Too much email volume
- An almost useless archive
- Too many clicks to send a message
- An insufficient mobile platform
My reluctance to add a new person to the system made me question why I wanted anyone to use this.
What to Use?
The problem was there was no clear solution that I thought we’d love. We use Asana to get work done already, but it didn’t seem to have the ongoing conversational feel we want. We’d tried Hipchat in the past, but it didn’t quite match our team. I knew there were other big project management options out there, but we needed something that would fill the ongoing conversational needs of pastoral ministry, some capacity to separate conversations, and easy filesharing. And, of course, no one wants to use email.
I’d heard of Slack recently, so I checked it out and found that it had almost everything we were looking for, was fast, and had a great mobile app.
Our team knew we had an issue with our previous communication tool, so I didn’t need to convince anyone to switch. Instead I needed to help people see how Slack filled our needs and using it was the only way to do that. So I came up with a few rules to help us get started:
- All communication has to be through Slack. In order for our team to get the biggest benefits from Slack (especially archives), we needed to go all in. This means no work-related text messages or emails. Just use Slack.
- Keep the conversations in broader channels. Slack uses channels instead of topics. We needed some time to figure out what is just a passing conversation for our teams and what needs its own channel. We’ve found that fewer channels are better.  Currently, we have channels set up for our each congregations leadership, special projects, preaching, etc. We’ll keep learning on this.
- DM a ton. The iOS app is fast and stable, so use direct messages to contact people instead of email or text.
- Use search. Slack has killer search functionality. Trust it.
How it’s been going?
After using Slack for over a month, the consensus is that everyone likes it. We made it through a busy season of launching a new website (which is actually three new websites!), planning Mission and Vision Night, and beginning/ending a fiscal year with everyone staying in sync. You can see our stats below. A few highlights:
- Much less email!
- Slack DMs are much more actionable than having work text messages mixed in with personal messages.
- The Google Calendar integration has been great for alerting everyone of meetings and events as they are scheduled. No surprises!
- Search is as advertised, but takes some learning.
If you’d like to see less email among and cleaner, quicker communication, I’d suggest you give it a shot. You can try Slack out for free, but I’d really like it if you used this link so that we can BOTH get a $100 credit.
What are your thoughts on Slack?