How to Use Slack For Project Management (And Still Stay Productive)
What makes a good project management tool even better? Every one of us has their own preferences, and a simple google search will bring a long list of features – most of which are not even needed for your regular projects.
The simple definition of project management software: Any tool that helps with the management and organization of a project.
So, why pay a huge amount on project management tools with features that are not even needed?
In this post, we will highlight how you can use your communication app ‘Slack’ as a project management tool. But before that, here’s a small overview of this team collaboration tool.
Why Should You Use Slack for Project Management?
Slack, often called a virtual meeting + water cooler app is known for its organized structure along with a simplistic design and easy to navigate interface. These features led it to become a favorite of all small business users. In fact, a survey revealed that Slack boosts team productivity by almost 30 percent.
It comes with multiple robust features and add-ons making it the center for all your team activities.
Here are some of the most efficient ways in which you can use slack as a project management tool to enhance your team activities and get projects done faster.
Slack allows you to set a channel for your team. Either create one channel for each department or a single channel for the whole team – it all depends on how you want to use it. For beginners, a single team channel is enough. Test a little and go with what suits you.
You can also create private channels of all the decision makers of the project if you like. However, it is advisable to keep information public and transparent. It also allows team members to communicate in one-on-one conversation threads within the same channel.
Moreover, it also allows team members to easily search for their messages using the search functionality.
Plugins, Add-ons Integration and Slack App Directory
There are certain project management features that aren’t built into Slack but they relate to advanced project management. If needed, they can be availed through Slack apps, a free app store that can be used with Slack software. The Slack apps feature is inclusively made for people who would like to perform more from their collaboration app. These tools are provided by and maintained by the teams behind these add-ons.
You can easily integrate premium project management tools such as Asana, Jira, Trello, IFTTT, and many others to streamline the project flow. Other than these tools, you also have access to productivity tools to increase the pace of your projects. Some productivity tools available in Slack app include Trello, Google Drive, To Do, and AltSuite. You can search even more based on your requirements.
Slack also offers the option to add apps that aren’t directly related to project management but help a great deal in making it successful anyway. These include Twitter, MailChimp, Dropbox, GitHub, and even Google Drive.
Automation and Slack Reminders
There’s a feature that you won’t find in any other team collaboration app, and it’s automation. Slack lets you automate most of your tasks using its own inventory of programmable functions and IFTTT features. It acts just like Siri or Cortana, but instead of offering voice based apps, it offers reminders just through notifications. You can further train it to remind you of important tasks related to project management, or even to answer user questions, all within Slack’s bot app. And, if the bot doesn’t have enough information, you can get slack apps made by other developers. For example, Hubspot offers a slack bot app to answer marketing related queries.
Apart from the bots, the programmable functions are great for making quick reminders to discussions. Using ‘/Remind TEXT TIME’ where text is the message you want to be reminded about, and time represents the time in numbers or words. For example, ‘/Remind me to check sales email account every one hour.’
Slack also offers to-do lists and task management features. Instead of making separate to-dos, you can make them in Slack group so all the team members can see them and work accordingly. The task management feature comes with favorite feature (a star that highlights important chat strings). You can also star important conversations within a particular thread.
Every discussion can be turned into a thread by clicking on it and commenting. The threads can have endless discussions. The good thing about having threads is that only people who are involved on that thread get the notifications whenever a new message is posted.
This keeps the whole team in the loop so they can work on other much-needed aspects. Once the starred task is completed, just un-star it and it will drop from your to-do list.
Easy File Sharing
Project management is all about managing files, folders, excel sheets, and most importantly teams in various threads. The tasks are cumbersome, but Slack comes with features to manage them all, well, most of them. It allows channel members to share files easily either through their desktop or a cloud storage system.
You can also connect Slack to Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud storage solutions to easily share files among other team members. You can then add the files to the to-do lists or create ready-made templates for sharing code, articles, and even configuration files within your work group.
Google drive also allows you to create files from your workspace, saving you from the hassle of opening a browser window to work. These files can then be searched, shared, and indexed by Slack.
This means you can use the Slack’s built-in search engine to search for files or the content available in those files.
Google Drive also sends a notification to Slack whenever someone accesses the files you have shared in Slack channel.
Progress Measurement and Feedback
A project is never complete until it meets all the requirements. These are usually tracked, so the teams have an idea about their progress. This was one area where Slack lagged initially. However, due to the availability of Slack apps store, third-party developers have created plugins and add-ons that businesses can use to create, track, and get feedback from teams on their projects.
Team admins in Slack can easily add tracking applications to their slack channels with just a single click. Apps they can add to the slack channel include Workstreams, Asana, Trello, and multiple others.
For example, if you integrate Asana to your slack channel, the app will allow you to add projects to the chat string, assign a team member to it, add or change deadlines.
Similarly, Trello allows a whole card to be added to Slack channel. You can even add new cards directly from Slack. Even if you want to change dates, add new members to it, add descriptions, all is possible by integrating Trello with Slack app.
Clean and Simple Organization
Finally, Slack offers a clean, uncluttered design to easily organize all these projects. It offers multi-window operations in a single thread so that all your services and tools remain in the same place, making it easier to move ahead with the projects.
Slack or other similar tools are an affordable alternative for people who are looking for low cost project management tools. It is easier to handle and offers multiple add-ons to manage, track, and complete projects on time. It acts as the hub for all project related discussions and planning.
If you are just starting out with project management and need a tool to help you with your current projects, then this tool easily help you do that.
This guest Post was written by Sajjad Shahid, Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways.
Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways – A Managed Ecommerce Hosting Platform. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups
Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways.