About 3 years we joined Slack. It was super exciting. First we used it internally. Then we rolled it out to our entire community of global client staff. By mid 2016 we had over 100 users on Slack.
Before Slack we relied on email, Skype and Asana (we also tried Trello in there for a bit) for communication and project management. But as our team grew and we became more spread out across multiple time zones we knew something had to change
Slack was a game changer
In the beginning we really loved Slack! It was shiny and new and revolutionised how we did our work. Not everyone was talking about it like they are now. It felt like we were part of an exclusive club that had discovered the magic of Slack. It made communicating so easy and fun. With everyone working remotely Slack played a huge role in building our team culture and connecting us all in a social way.
We spent a long time creating structure within our Slack account; getting the mix of private and open Channels just right, formalising our naming conventions and integrating it with other platforms.
After a couple of months we invited all of our global contractors to join Slack. The idea was to use Slack to really connect everyone. By this time we had contractors in the Philippines, the US, India, South Africa and Eastern Europe.
When the gloss started to wear off
The longer we had Slack the more we realised it just wasn't working how we hoped it would. Looking back our expectations were a little unreasonable.
Our list of channels was spiraling out of control. Managing those channels was becoming a full time job.
Conversations became lost. During Australian business hours our Australian and Filipino based staff could have real time conversations. But then when our South African and American staff came online hours later, those conversations were buried.
Internally we all started to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out!). We would wake up to a ridiculous number of notifications. It then took up big chunk of every day trying to catch up on threads. It started to hurt our productivity.
What do we use now?
It took a long time to move away from Slack. Even though we knew it wasn’t really working for us we had grown attached to it. And we still really loved the social aspect. It was great for team building and also developing individual relationships.
We needed a tool that would improve our operational efficiencies and still continue to build our team culture.
Today we use Basecamp. It provides us with a really great overview of the entire business. We can see who is working on what, when tasks are due and generally keeps the whole team accountable.
The key to making Basecamp work for us was to get the set up right. Next week we will publishing our guide to setting up Basecamp.