“My boss goes to meetings. I slack all day”
-Sara McWhorter, UX Design Lead @ Kapost
Slack is the new team collaboration darling. If you’re a designer, you love it because it proves that design is king; Slack is not functionally very different than HipChat or IRC. If you’re a developer, you love it because you get to go to fewer meetings. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you love it because it offers the promise that you too could create an explosive product.
But if you actually want to ensure work gets done? Maybe you don’t love it all that much.
Sure, Slack makes communication easier. No booking conference rooms, no reserving audio lines, no checking schedules. Whenever and wherever you are, just spit your thoughts (and emojis) into a channel and hope it reaches the right person at the right time.
But maybe MORE communication doesn’t mean BETTER communication. Maybe MORE communication means MORE noise, MORE distractions, MORE “yeah, *someone* should do that”s, and LESS accountability.
LESS clarity around roles and responsibilities and deadlines.
FEWER official decisions and agreements.
If you just want to blast directives to people and hope they’re on board, Slack lets you do that. But if you want to make group decisions, get agreement and clarify responsibilities, you need to gather your team and work together. You need to meet.
Meetings don’t have to be face-to-face. But there has to be be some shared time and place for a team to gather to be sure they jointly understand team goals and their role in achieving them. Otherwise, there’s a lack of action as people wait for others to chime in. Maybe a better solution will be proposed. I’m sure someone else will step up.
Scheduling a meeting sets a time frame in which decisions and next steps need to be decided. It demands closure. A persistent team slack channel is designed to keep conversation going on.
So do you just want to communicate, or do you want to get work done? If it’s the latter, schedule a meeting, run it effectively, and move on.