Slack Police

Random Observation/Comment #571: Take time to learn your tools. A few shortcuts and quicker defaults can save a lot of time in the long run.

Like any other employee moving from an enterprise Microsoft-based infrastructure into the “start up tools”, I immediately fell in love with Slack. It just feels like a series of organic conversations that can replace the old way of holding multiple meetings. The standing purposeful channels let you monitor your interests and limit your email bloat.

However, keeping up with Slack can morph into keeping up with another digital distraction (e.g. Email, Jira tickets). If you’re like me, you want to read everything and get to the holy “inbox zero” or in the case of slack “unbolded channel names.”  It’s another full time job to drink from the fire-hose of conversations and filter through the relevant ones. It also becomes unwieldy as your company grows in size.

Here are some best practices and unspoken etiquette:

  • Don’t assume everyone will read all the channels, so use @ to specify the person the conversation is appropriate for to ping them with a response
  • If you use @here on #general, it better be miraculous. This is the same as emailing the whole company distribution list
  • Create channels carefully and consolidate where needed – I’d create channels on specific subset of groups (e.g. #Lab-leads) or general topics (e.g. #pptninja)
  • Ask everyone to be part of the “slack police” – we keep each other in check to make sure conversations belong in the correct scope of the channel
  • If your conversation on slack goes on longer than 5 minutes, jump on a call or go in-private (unless it’s all relevant to the channel).
  • Name your files properly so it can be easily searched
  • Comment on the file or image directly to maintain the conversation
  • If you use a slackbot like twitter, make sure it’s on a separate channel all together
  • Use slack for sharing reading links relevant to the channel. I think slack is most useful for grooming market intelligence.
  • Use emoticons on messages. What a wonderful feature to show agreement or emotions on a message line without typing “I agree”, “congratulations”, or “I don’t get it”.

~See Lemons Love Slack