Another task this week for the Live Web class sounded like this:

Find a live or synchronous site or platform online. Try it out. Describe it on your blog. How is it used? What do you find interesting about it?

During last Future of New Media class our professor Art mentioned that there was no mention of “being busy” in the literature before steam machine was invented in 1840s: after that we’ve got a railroad, people started travelling more, which led them into knowing more people and being more busy.

Here is this app saying that it helps people to be less busy and more productive, we’ve also started using it for our Designing Games for Kids class, so I’ll take a chance to write about it here, too. Slack.

slack-logo_large

Slack is a messaging app for teams that is on a mission to make your working life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. — that’s how Slack describes themselves on their website.

It allows you to create multiple channels for your projects and invite your team members to be part of it. Once everybody is there, you can start sharing files, send messages to each other and discuss things much faster.

It also allows mentioning/tagging specific people, so you know which message is directed to you and when you need to respond.

It would take much longer to fully understand how it works and what are the benefits, but from the first look it seems like everything is in one feed; in other words: it’s more about instant communication and conversation rather than full-scale project management tool (will elaborate on it below).

My view

Recently I’ve read an article of a CEO complaining how it is impossible to reach Gen Y’ers by phone. As an experiment, instead of calling he tried sending messages and guess what happened: instant response and more productivity was guaranteed.

If we talk about being less busy because of need to make decisions quickly, Slack might be a good tool because of the instant messaging option.

On the other hand: it’s definitely not about being less busy in terms of being less distracted and more productive. Slack offers a push notification option, which definitely means that you can be disturbed anywhere at anytime (it’s mentioned even in the tutorial that, if needed, you can be reached even during lunch — who needs that?) In the times of such high connectivity it doesn’t mean that the work is being done more efficiently.

I feel like I’m still a bigger fan of email because it lets me set boundaries when I’m working and when I’m replying to others.

In terms of project management, Slack seems to be too messy to see a full view and teams would still need to use something else to complement that. A couple of years ago I’ve been researching different project management tools for myself and ended up using Basecamp as it seemed to have the most of what I needed. It lets you create different projects (just as channels in Slack), see daily progress and each of the team members contribution, share same calendar and few other features. We’re still using Facebook group for instant communication but if Basecamp had instant messaging option just as Slack does, we wouldn’t need anything else.

Common problem for all of these tools is that everybody on the team must use it, otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.

My dream few years ago was that if I knew how to code I would build my own project management tool, because I know exactly what I need and I believe more people would benefit from it too. Maybe soon I will. 🙂

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