Slack ist vor allem im Startup-Bereich ein häufig genutztes Tool. Unser guter Freund Christoph Magnussen wirft einen sehr differenzierten Blick auf das Worktool und teilt seine Einschätzung mit uns, wann Slack sinnvoll ist und wann nicht.

Den Beitrag gibt´s hier auch im Video-Format. Checkt Christoph Magnussens Youtube-Channel für weitere interessante Beiträge zum Thema „Arbeitsweisen der Zukunft“. Der Channel liefert außerdem viele Insights für Leute, die sich ernsthaft mit Video-Marketing beschäftigen.

Why you should jump onto this 3.8 billion dollar ship — or why not!

I cannot remember one single enterprise tool within the last 10 years that generated such a viral buzz on a global scale. Slack is by far the most successful app for internal team communication out there. We test, use and leverage a lot of team tools like Google for Work, Trello, Confluence, JIRA, Hipchat and many more for our clients. But if you talk about Slack, employees suddenly turn into passionate ambassadors.

A tool is never an all-in-one-plug-and-play solution. So if you want to leverage Slack and get the maximum performance out of it this is what we’ve learned during the last months running several Slack accounts:

The Ideal Slack Team Size is 5–20

The ideal team (company) size is 5–20 people. To this level Slack will boost your internal team performance. Anything beyond 20 will get noisy within the channels and you start setting up private groups which is basically a step back towards closed email like communication.

The ideal solution will be a future product feature to manage several teams within one account if you are a larger company. We’ve seen clients using Slack with more than 150 people in one Slack team but this turns out to be so noisy that people ignore it (this is of course somewhat related to the ideal team size in general. Great read from the Modern Team about this here).

60% + of all conversations should take place within public channels

Slack’s major use case is to make communication more open and transparent. That’s the key feature. If you don’t want that and use Slack mainly for direct messaging and closed groups you really do not need to switch to another tool — simply stick with email.

For Slack you should aim for 60%+ communication within the public channels. And if you are below 25% you should even ask yourself if you want to change at all regarding the way your team works and communicates.

A simple not random Channel Structure

It’s so easy to get started with Slack that we see a lot of grown accounts that are very messy. We recommend to organize your channels the same way you organize your work: e.g. client or project based channels with a ‘p-’ or ‘c-’ in front of the name and internal stuff (we use ‘b-’ for Blackboat for everything internal). No rules will end in a mess and won’t help anyone if your account keeps growing.

There is no ideal number of channels but we recommend additionally to the client or project channels to set up channels like

  • Q/A for questions
  • Coffee Machine for random talk and fun conversations or event and lunch planning. Just the stuff your people do when having a coffee and talk
  • Resources for important links and information (note: never ever use Slack as your file management tool. It will not replace your server, Google Drive or Dropbox)
  • News for industry or competition news and communication related stuff

So Slack is an outstanding success and a great tool — no question. The limitations depend on how you use it and not the tool itself. If you want to improve your internal communication and collaboration culture for example, to increase your teams performance or transform the way your people work, there is much more effort needed than just signing up for Slack. But it can be a part of it and is definitely a good first step to go.

Note: One day after my post I received this blogpost from a friend: Uber ditched Slack for its employees and went to its chief rival instead

Slack’s focus on helping companies cut down on e-mail has led the company to massive success in just over two years, with even Microsoft tempted to make a takeover bid. But Slack’s weakness has always been that it’s better-suited for smaller teams, lacking certain security and identity controls necessary at global companies like Uber.

That’s what I mean: choose a tool that suits your business purpose and your setup. Just because “everyone” is using this tool doesn’t mean it’s the one and only solution.

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