Although I’d heard of Slack from the NoVa Code & Coffee Meetup, I’d never had the opportunity to use it in a work environment until this past week. I thought I’d set my first impressions down in a blog post while they were still fresh in my mind.
What I dislike:
- Opening Screen with random “Fortune Cookie” message
Telling me “You look good today” when I first log in? Kinda weird.
- The Slackbot
I still haven’t figured out what this bot is used for. Anyone?
- Desktop Notifications
If you don’t already have ADD, you’ll feel like you do after receiving 1 billion back-to-back notifications from the chit-chat in your #random channel. Fortunately, this is adjustable (see below).
- Giphy integration
What I like:
Makes getting the right information to the right people easier and more efficient (e.g. if you need to reboot the development server in ten minutes, putting that message in the #developers channel tells the people who need to know without “spamming” everyone.)
- Channel-by-Channel notification settings
Being able to pick & choose which channels can interrupt your flow with desktop notifications helps improve the signal-to-noise ratio. You can monitor the #servers channel, while squelching #random, for instance.
- The Team Directory
Especially since I work with a geographically distributed team, this helps me put faces to names/voices, and better understand the role(s) each team member plays.
TL; DR – Although Slack is annoying with its default configuration, it can be turned into a helpful group communications tool by tuning its settings.