Rock Trembath

3 Slack Tips to Help WITH Team Management

If you work in tech, odds are you’ve used Slack. The instant messaging and collaboration platform is used by more than one hundred thousand organizations and claims eighteen million daily users.

At first glance, Slack didn’t appear to be much more than another chat platform with the ability to start threads. However, as I used Slack more, I found the features and integrations can make managing a team significantly more efficient.

Great communication makes for a great team.

So here’s three Slack tips that I use to keep engagement up and the team aligned.

Tip #1: Use Polls to Gather Team Feedback

If you have a team of more than a few people, you often want to operate with some level of democracy. This tip is aimed at getting regular feedback and buy-in from your team. 

It doesn’t matter whether the question is serious like those relating to team goals, or simple, like where to order lunch from – a quick poll is often the best way to see how everyone feels.

Installing a polling plugin in Slack gives you an easy way to see how everyone in the channel team feels about a specific idea or initiative.

There are currently quite a few different options for polling in Slack. Most recently, I used the Polly plugin. It was quick to install and easy to implement. You can choose whether to make the answers anonymous or visible depending on the subject of your poll. 

As a first test, I used my Slack poll to ask the team how they felt about our morning stand-up meeting.

This led to the next hack…

Tip #2: Use Reminders to Replace Routine Meetings

Startups love the AGILE methodology. It is a great framework that helps keep the team aligned and moving forward toward their goals. In our case, one of the key meetings was a daily stand-up where everyone outlines what they’ve been working on, flags any issues and coordinates upcoming work.

After polling my team, the general consensus was that our morning stand up meeting was valuable, but often ran long or got derailed with larger discussions. To keep the touch point, and not lose too much time, we moved our morning sync into a Slack channel.

Each day, at a specific time, everyone on the team committed to provide a short list of the items they’re aiming to accomplish. Other team members could then see what the objectives were and add their comments to a thread to help out or ask questions.

No meeting required.

Since I was occasionally unavailable when the call had to go out, I set up a simple reminder in Slack so things would run smoothly in my absence and I could stay informed on the work being done.

Creating a Slack reminder is super easy. Simply call the /remind command, state the channel, message and recurrence of the message.

Here’s an Example:

					/remind #marketing-team What's everyone working on today? Every weekday at 9 AM

With the time we saved removing this mundane morning meeting, I created a Friday afternoon slot where we could share interesting work and bond as a team to close out our week. Overall it was a big success.

Tip #3:  Integrate Your Project Management Tools

As I mentioned in tip #1, there are a lot of different plugins available for Slack. This includes integrations with most of the big project management platforms like Jira, Monday, Pivotal Tracker, Asana and many others.

The functionality depends on the plugin and your project management platform of choice. Asana has been my tool in the past years, but I’ve also integrated Slack with Jira.

The Asana Slack integration allows you to create, edit, list and comment on tasks within my Asana projects from directly in Slack channels. You can also use these project management integrations to make the accomplishments of the team more visible to outside stakeholders by automating periodic updates.

One thing you need to be mindful of with project management tool Slack integrations is how frequently they will notify the channel.

If you turn on every option, the integration will spam your team. When people receive too many messages, they tend to get overwhelmed and tune out or ignore the information.

If you decide to try this tip, make sure to get feedback to tweak what information gets pushed into Slack so you can find the right balance for your team.

What did I miss?

I love learning shortcuts and hacks that can speed up my day. If you have a Slack hack or essential integration that I should know about, please share it with me on Twitter.

Want to collaborate?

Fill in a few details below and I’ll follow up to find a time to chat.