Slack: How to Implement and Best Practices

Slack: How to Implement and Best Practices

Slack for Office Communications | Blueprint

Slack is the new go-to tool for interoffice communication. Here at Blueprint, we’ve implemented Slack within our office back in February and now send thousands of messages through Slack.

Our progression from email being our primary method of interoffice communication to Slack becoming King of our interoffice communication was not easy. It required careful planning and execution to make it successful, along with a clear plan of use within our organization.

Implementation

When I first introduced Slack to Blueprint, we tested Slack functioning within the Web Development team. This small, private initial rollout allowed for us to learn how to best tailor Slack’s usage across our teams.

To be effective with any tool, one must understand the reason behind the tool and why it is needed. Most know email is a dilapidated communication tool, but what’s the solution?

Slack is a real solution to the problem, it just needs to be explained correctly to team members. I simplified the usage of the three communication forms within Slack and correlated them to email and other office communication equivalents.

They are: Channels, Direct Messages and Private Groups.

Channels

Channels are like mass emails. For example: “announcements.” They are extremely generalized and usually have little to do with the tasks that many of us have in front of us. While some email solutions allow for an “auto-file” and “mute” feature to threads that you’d like to ignore, what if the email conversation of the email thread turns to call out directly to you? With Slack, you can mute that “Channel” and only get notified when someone calls you out by typing your name as a direct mention.

Direct Messages

One-on-one conversations similar to instant messenger (IM). IMing within the office is very common and is preferred over email due to speed. However, the use of IM in an office setting breaks down when you need to send a file over to a team member or you want to add another team member to the conversation.

Slack allows for massive file sizes (which beats email or having to track down a Dropbox account to send a link to that person via IM or email). If a conversation should be conducted with others on the team, the # symbol can be used to simply link to a channel for open discussion if need be.

Private Groups

This is similar to an email with a few team members involved being CC’ed. The problem with group emails is the REPLY ALL option. So many times, people forget to include the remainder of the group and the conversation forks into several directions. Also, new people can be easily added to a group conversation without any administrative oversight.

With Private Groups in Slack, only people who have been added to the group will see discussion here. If someone needs to be a part of a private group, they must be invited. They can’t add themselves, or even see that the group exists. While Private Groups may not make sense initially, you can plug other organizations using Slack into your team communication. Making sure certain administrative conversations are filtered within Private Groups as good foresight.

Understanding these forms and having a proper definition of them, particularly in “email terms”, make it easy for new users to catch on.

Naming Conventions

Another critical element of implementing Slack across an organization is establishing a naming convention for Channels and Private Groups. Here at Blueprint, we established a naming convention that will ensure duplicate groups with the same intent don’t exist:

*admin-example*:
for anything administrative

*build-example*:
for the development build process, which includes the initial design process

*design-example*:
for ongoing design needs

*dev-example*:
for ongoing development needs

*seo-example*:
for SEO campaign conversations

*ppc-example:*
for PPC campaign conversations

*video-example*:
for video projects

Open to Change

While this method isn’t perfect, it definitely helped our company get started within Slack. What are your thoughts on Slack? What are some other ways to use Slack that you’ve found to be beneficial?

By: Erik
  • Joshua Bains

    Slack is a great improvement on e-mail. It’s so intuitive that you can’t imagine going back to email. The only thing I wish you could do with it is bold, italicize and underline. THAT ONLY LEAVES ALL CAPS, WHICH DOESN’T ALWAYS SEND THE RIGHT MESSAGE.

    • Jeff Cline

      It’s in there Joshua. *bold* (enclosed in asterix) and _italic_ (enclosed in underscore). Took me a moment to find these too.

      • Joshua Bains

        *Thank you.*

  • Samantha Torres

    Slack has changed my life! Being able to easily find files or reference a status call with a customer has been great! One way that we’ve implemented it that makes life much easier is by adding status call notes to the channel devoted to a particular client. This has been huge in keeping everyone involved with that client on the same page. So glad you brought this to Blueprint, Erik!

  • It’s amazing how fast Slack is becoming the go-to communication tool for business. Thanks for breaking down the steps to implementing Slack. Many businesses will benefit greatly from this.

  • Jeff Cline

    New systems – So many are coming out on a regular basis and there is always the thought “why fix it if it isn’t broke?” But agreed with everyone below, Slack has been a great productivity and communication contribution to our business. Thanks for a great tool Erik!

  • Aaron Ward

    Slack is a great way to send and share large design files with our developers. This saves us time and allows us to work on more projects. Very efficient.

  • Soletia Owens

    Slack is a great tool. It is very convenient. I can send something to anyone in the office and get their quick response, whether it’s on a desktop or my phone. I prefer slack over email.

  • Adam Baxter

    Slack is the bombdiggity! The simple ability to have chat lines open with multiple coworkers at once, in an intuitive, user friendly interface, is life changing. It makes you more productive all around. Awesome stuff.

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Slack has really made a positive change for our office. Thanks for sharing this tool with us, Erik! It’s so much easier to send files and quickly check back on open items that may be in a “pending” state. I love that Slack helps me minimize the issue of losing track of unfinished business in my email account. Great tool!

  • Naima

    Slack is very helpful and can increase productivity of any company especially when it comes to internal communication. I can’t think of any other interface as awesome as slack.

  • Jeremy Campbell

    I wish everyone in my life was on Slack. It would make planning anything so much easier. It has made work much more efficient, so I’m sure it would work well trying to plan birthday parties and holiday gatherings as well. That way I could avoid gmail altogether and never have to weed through spam again 🙂