29 comments

  • Jon MyersJon Myers, almost 4 years ago

    Slack is fine.

    The problems described are often a breakdown of processes or the lack thereof.

    7 points
  • Samuel HulickSamuel Hulick, almost 4 years ago

    Hi all! I'm the person who wrote this. If you have any feedback, I'm here to respond to it in something approximating real time!

    6 points
    • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 4 years ago

      Great article. Very well written. Can see how Slack isn't what you wanted from it.

      Having said that, there's a case to be made for "learning how to interact with Slack". You don't have to read every single word/update/channel.

      See it a bit like how I read your article. I skimmed it. And with other articles, I won't read it at all and just skip to the comments to see counter-arguments. Because those will tell you what the article is about just as much as reading the article itself. Yet it saves you TONS of time.

      So let's say you read nothing. You let your teams do their thing on Slack, each in their own vertical, and you only read the stuff where you get tagged, or whatever comes in through private messages.

      This does require managing what your team expects from you. Make sure they know that you don't read everything. Make sure they know that you don't respond unless they talk to you directly.

      I think knowing what to read and managing expectations are the most important parts of dealing with anything online. There's such an endless amount of content, that it's easy to get lost.

      Having said of all that, I do want to reiterate that I understand that Slack might just not be right for you :)

      1 point
  • Ix TechauIx Techau, almost 4 years ago

    So now the recent trend/competition is who quits Slack first for maximum hipster points? Slack is just a tool. It makes no promises and it's up to you to use it properly.

    4 points
  • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, almost 4 years ago

    This is a fantastic article. I use and enjoy Slack, but I also like to think as deeply as I can about the effects of our tools, so I appreciate how much thought went into the rippling effects.

    What's interesting about these tools is how they arrive and feel like white knights for our team communication problems. Basecamp came on the scene that way and for a while left like it, but gradually problems persisted and you start being receptive to newer tools, never realizing that the tool isn't the problem.

    What I mean is that sometimes a better tool does a lot of good, but many times the problem isn't a tool problem. Rather than create a problem, a tool can often just expose or facilitate it.

    There's much to take away from this in terms of design problems, I think of the Wicked Problems class. Great stuff, I shared it in multiple places.

    3 points
  • Andrew SmithAndrew Smith, almost 4 years ago

    We use slack – I've been apart of 4 teams: 2 teams were purely development studios in which we all work together, slack became a project management tool.

    1 Team was a guy who started a 'we're all freelancers' thing and invited freelancers to the mix, but it became a dictatorship and was something I had to inevitably leave.

    Slack is perfect for small teams. When it becomes an IRC client and everyone's joining in, it's too much, far too much

    1 point
    • Julie RobertsJulie Roberts, almost 4 years ago

      I agree that it is perfect for small teams. I think it works well for the two sides of my team: we have a some remote people doing marketing and then 3 creatives (all in one office). For the remote people, they have a quick and reliable way to reach the creatives who are on the computer all day (they tend to be out and about and mobile) and their interns. For the creatives, our team is small enough we can get silly on a Friday and go gif crazy but if someone isn't responding, we're aware of their workload and why.

      1 point
  • Lucas CobbLucas Cobb, almost 4 years ago

    Go with hipchat then. DND built in and the rest of the features Slack has. Seems like an issue with multi-tasking based on your article though. There may be some folks on your team that can interact on a Slack all day and still be extremely productive. If that is not you, work out a way to seem available while still being able to focus on your work. That may mean putting more hours in a work day.

    I'm one of those that can chat and work at the same time and a lot of people on my team can't. I still praise the tool to the higher ups as an important tool so they keep it in the workflow. Some folks at your shop might be doing the same. Adapt or you will fall behind.

    1 point
  • Peter MainPeter Main, almost 4 years ago

    I'm wondering if @-mentioning people with inline prioritisation would be interesting? @peter-1: 'High Priority', @peter-9: 'Low Priority'

    1 point
    • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, almost 4 years ago

      No, because everyone will think things are important and by doing that nothing is important. Software can not solve the human condition

      3 points
      • barry saundersbarry saunders, almost 4 years ago

        Maybe, people tend to be pretty careful with the high priority option in email (mostly because it's the easiest way to annoy people)

        1 point
        • Dean HaydenDean Hayden, almost 4 years ago

          Alas, not in my experience. Email and anything else that has a hierarchy of importance is open to abuse. Don't give them the option

          1 point
          • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, almost 4 years ago

            Aye, it depends on who you're working with.

            Anecdotal, but relevant; when I search my inbox for "urgent" or "ASAP", all the emails I'll find are from 2 or 3 specific colleagues. The other 10 I work closely with aren't in there at all.

            0 points
        • John PJohn P, almost 4 years ago

          hahahaha no they don't the only people I EVER see use that end up marking every email high prio

          1 point
    • Luca Candela, almost 4 years ago

      The core problem in slack is not prioritization, is threading. The room/channel model is incredibly inefficient. Zulip was (and still is) much better at that because you could start a thread and then focus on it, or zoom out and see the entire channel. It was functional, quick and very elegant and I'm not quite sure why slack hasn't stolen that feature yet.

      0 points
  • Mike HeitzkeMike Heitzke, almost 4 years ago

    It's a tough balance. The communication has been great for a fully-remote team, but I've found that the direct messaging can be very distracting. We've been trying to keep all discussions out of 1:1 stuff and in specific public channels.

    At least this way people won't get growls or feel urged into conversation unless everyone starts @'ing each other. In which case (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    1 point
  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 4 years ago

    I always thought it was funny how Slack was sold as a productivity tool when chatrooms have been around for years and have always been a huge time sink.

    Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome chatroom app but it's definitely not some kind of magic work bullet.

    0 points
  • Chris Rosenau, almost 4 years ago

    We started trying Slack but there were too much command line stuff. Currently we are trying Glip.com which is working quite well. They have a great free service. Flow seems cool but much more expensive.

    0 points
  • Duncan RussellDuncan Russell, almost 4 years ago

    Meh, I never liked the app much either. It just felt pretty dated and fiddly.

    0 points
  • Luca Candela, almost 4 years ago

    The problem Samuel describes is SO real and it was solved very well by Zulip.

    https://zulip.org/

    Sadly Dropbox hasn't really invested in it, and it definitely needs some help on the fit and finish side, so I'm posting it here hope they will pick up some more contributors.

    0 points
  • Samuel HulickSamuel Hulick, almost 4 years ago

    @Max Thank you for sharing this!

    0 points