Effective communication is critical for a project to succeed, as we are taught in project management training. It is also one of the easiest aspects to get wrong as everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to how they want to be communicated with. A communication strategy/plan can help visualise this and should be finalised before the project commences. A popular tool used by project managers to help them manage communication is Slack. If you’re undecided about what to use to help you manage communication flow during your next project, read on to find out more about Slack and other alternatives.
What is Slack
Slack is an instant messaging platform that is designed to make sharing information easier and simpler. It has been described as a big chatroom for your organisation. Its combination of pubic channels, direct messages, and file sharing makes it an attractive alternative to emails. To set your project or business up with Slack is straightforward – you’re assigned a workspace when setting up an account. The workspace has a unique url which can then be shared with your project team and anyone else you want to include i.e stakeholders. Increasingly slack is being used to replace other forms of communication, such as text messages and even face to face meetings which can have other benefits too such as saving money (less travel, refreshments, likely to be shorter meetings/conversations on Slack). One of the main features of Slack is its ability to integrate with third-party services, an element welcomed by project teams. For example, it is seamless with Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as Zendesk and Zapier. Another powerful aspect of Slack is the ability for the user to ‘search’ across all content within the workspace quickly and efficiently, rather than searching your emails first, then meeting minute note or resorting to asking people if they remember the conversation!
If you’re still not convinced by Slack or find its operating system confusing, as its use isn’t included in most project management courses, there are now a number of reputable alternative options on the market. These include:
Bitirix24 – Free for up to 12 users, it really gives Slack a run for its money. Key features include Social networking, task management, document management, phone capability, and Activity Stream which is like a showreel of all critical events and tasks related to the project.
Chanty – Ideal for small to medium size teams, this communication platform goes one better than Slack with regards to the search function – allowing all message history to be browsed with no date restrictions!
Mattermost – If data privacy is a concern for you, this option is hosted on a private cloud
Workplace by Facebook – For team members who use Facebook outside of work, use of the workplace service should be relatively easy. Its unique quality is the ability to use it to communicate with other companies as creating groups is not listed to any particular domain.
Fuze – If app integration is a key consideration for you, then Fuze is the perfect alternative to Slack. Choose from free or priced plans.
Other feasible options if you’re looking for something similar but different include – Cisco Spark, Fleep, Discord and Miro.
Whatever communication platform you choose for your business, make sure you fully get to grips with it before rolling it out to your project team to avoid making what should make your project more smoothly into something that causes more problems than it solves.
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