I know that Slack isn’t an actual project management system, but it does help me to manage our projects by cutting down on email significantly, and it’s so much better thank Skype.

There are a wealth of tools out there designed to become the sole hub for all of your needs when it comes to communication and collaboration. While many of them come close to hitting the mark, few competitors hit the bulls-eye in the same way as Slack.

To say the very least, this website and smart-phone application exists as a chat tool with all of the trimmings. Many users claim that it takes email out of the picture when it comes to file sharing, communication and instant collaborations with a group of people. The focus of Slack is in combining chat features with superb file-handling ability. It eliminates the clunkiness of email attachments and the frustration that comes with switching between applications when you make an instant-messaging breakthrough with friends or coworkers concerning a particular project.

Slack Features and Settings

This technology is a cross-platform tool that massively reduces the number of windows and operations that you must have running at any given time in order to keep productivity at its height. There are a ton of advantages that instantly win over potential users when they consider the kinds of creative doors that this software can open.

It’s very user-friendly (once you figure out how you want to organize it) when it comes to customization and accounts can be easily searched using a number of parameters. Work is streamlined with abilities such as instant file sharing and moving files between Slack and cloud services without any middleman program or file conversions.

Slack enables you to work with a clean and efficient window where controls are intuitive and actually fun. It is responsive and easy to organize in order to encourage creativity rather than hamper it. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to attach a file to a chat message and send it to individuals or groups while still easily retaining control over privacy levels.

Users are divided by channels, individuals, and private groups. This tier organization allows you to stay engaged with both friends and coworkers simultaneously without fear of mixing up the signals and allowing the wrong information to reach the wrong people. The integrity of your information and files is always intact with this service as well.

Messages are never deleted, and all interactions and data can be easily transferred to integrated or auxiliary services. The versatility is outstanding, incorporating 12 secondary services to date that include Dropbox and Google Drive.

While Slack is awesome when it comes to features and abilities, there are still some drawbacks to the service at this point in time. The controls and interfaces are fairly straightforward, making the interactive icons and concierge functions somewhat redundant and annoying to most users. Still, the fact that the company is striving to make users aware of all of the software’s potential is reassuring nonetheless.

The Slackbot also redeems itself by existing as a tool to set reminders and increase functionality. For instance, the Slackbot can be told to set reminders for actions and events that can extend from hours to days, and for now this is bridging the gap of not having recurring tasks or milestones in Basecamp.

While Slack is fairly simple to setup, it’s often helpful to have a community manager, a task that a virtual assistant is often very good for. Not only can a virtual assistant help with community management, they can also help with setting up reminders in Slackbot, Slack setup, channel creation and maintenance, etc. Below you can learn about my setup and usage of Slack, and if you’re interested in getting some help feel free to setup a consultation.

My Project Management Setup

Each member of the ENTRELEVERAGE online business management team can direct message any other member of the team and have it kept private in Slack.  I find this is super important to not clog up the client channels with personal information or bug the entire team.

Then, each current client has a channel that we use to discuss their project.  We were doing all of this in Basecamp before and also through Skype, but that had its drawbacks.  First of all, everything in Skype was private between 2 people unless we set up a group chat, and honestly, I found that intrusive.  And when the conversation was happening in Basecamp, the amount of email we were receiving was out of control.  Slack has helped me determine these three rules for my project management system:

  1. Email is for client communications
  2. Basecamp is for updates and for always knowing where a project stands
  3. Slack is for quick communication pertaining to projects or work in general

I also have a few other channels setup:

  • One for my VA’s / Account Managers so we can have a group discussion about all of our clients without bothering the rest of the team
  • One for my web design team so we can collaborate and by in sync with one another
  • I also have a private channel setup that is just for me when I need to check links on different devices.  With this, I just paste in a link, and I can open it on my desktop, laptop, tablet or phone

I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface on everything that slack can do just yet, but this is definitely a tool I plan to keep around for a while.

Are you using Slack?  Do you have any tips or hacks to share with us?  Leave them in the comments!

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