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1 team collaboration service + 1 brainwave = 1 excellent project management tool

Have you used (or heard of) Slack? This freemium online service ensures that group communication Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Group emails can really kill productivity. It's time to put mail clients to rest and use collaboration services like newly launched Slack. Read More is quick and smooth, and all but takes long group emails out of the equation. For quite some time now, we at MakeUseOf have been using Slack for team collaboration, with positive results.

Recently I realized that with Slack’s clever set of features and well planned, distraction-free UI, the platform can double up as a project management tool for many people. See if you’re one of those people and learn how you can go about setting up Slack to be your online personal assistant.

slack-sign-up

Will This Re-purposing Work For You?

Using Slack for project management is ideal for solo businesses and two-person teams. With a bit of smart organization, it can work for bigger teams as well. If your team is too large or your projects too complex, the setup can get messy, and you’re better off looking for a different app for project management. Of course, for team collaboration How Collaborative Writing Tools Make Your Life Easier How Collaborative Writing Tools Make Your Life Easier Thanks to the Internet, collaborating on a writing project should be a breeze. If you have ever co-produced one, you know this can be difficult. It shouldn't be with the right tool. Read More purposes, it’s best to stick with Slack.

How To Configure Slack For Project Management

Setting up a Slack account is easy, although there are quite a few steps that you have to get through first. Fill the sign up form on Slack’s home page and follow the onscreen instructions as you go along.

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slack-sign-up-team-url

Put Channels To Good Use

Channels form the crux of Slack’s communication setup. They are simply information or message streams accessible to everyone on the team. Of course, if you’re a one-person team, they’ll be notes to yourself. Create separate channels for individual projects, so that the info related to each of them stays organized. Include a channel to note down ideas.

It’s easy to end up with too many channels because you have the freedom to create them. To keep the channels manageable, have just enough of them to separate your main projects. Here’s a look at some of the channels that I have created for my personal Slack account.

slack-channels

Take Notes Quickly

To jot down random notes, send a direct message to Slackbot, Slack’s built it robot, which gives you a blank slate for note-taking. Anything you type on this default scratchpad is for your eyes only. This solution is also great if you already use Slack for team collaboration, and want something simple to keep tabs on your work, without having to deal with the complexity of a full-fledged personal Slack account.

slackbot

You can also create a private group and skip the option to invite members to the group, so that its content stays accessible only to you. But Slackbot is definitely the simpler option.

Turn Favorites Into A To-Do List

Want to add a task to your to-do list? Type in the task as a message in any channel (or in Slackbot, if you’re part of a team), hit the Enter key, and then star that message. All starred items appear in a separate list at http://your-team-url.slack.com/stars. The Starred Items section can double up as your to-do list. Once you have finished a particular task, un-star the message corresponding to it and it disappears from your makeshift task manager.

slack-to-do-list

Integration with various third-party apps is one of Slack’s most useful features. This makes it easy to bring data from your accounts on those platforms into Slack. Twitter, Dropbox, MailChimp, and Google Drive are some of the popular apps that you can choose to integrate with your Slack account. With Asana or Trello integration, you can have a shared to-do list for your team members within Slack.

Make Important Files & Templates Accessible

The free version of Slack offers 5GB of space. Make the best use of it by keeping your important files handy, whether they are Google docs, pdfs, or images. Use the Create Snippet feature to set up templates for content that you need on a regular basis.

slack-snippet

Get Notifications & Reminders

Set up reminders for various tasks using Slack-IFTTT integration. Have a five o’clock meeting every Thursday? Enable the desktop notifications feature in Slack, and set up an IFTTT recipe (our IFTTT guide) to get a reminder at 4.30, in a channel of your choice.

slack-ifttt-recipe

From the Account Settings section, program Slack to display something funny or inspiring every time the app loads. Need a reminder to take more breaks away from your computer? Slack can tell you that repeatedly till you begin to remember it on your own. Here’s one reminder that I find helpful.

slack-loading-screen

Take Slack With You

Slack works on multiple devices and OSes. Whether you have a Windows machine, a Mac, an Android tablet, or a Linux laptop, you can use it to sign in to Slack. Keep this service handy by installing the appropriate native app or shortcut for your device. In the free version of Slack, the message archive is searchable for up to 10000 messages, which is a lot of leeway if you’re the only one using the account.

slack-apps

Ready To Get Organized With Slack?

If all you want is a simple annotated overview of your projects, Slack as a project management tool is likely to be overkill. But if you want a feature-rich organizer, Slack is the right candidate for the job. You can also have Slack as a dashboard to manage other items such as your bucket list, reading list, birthday calendar, address book, etc. The tips listed here are just to get you started. If you put your mind to it, you can come up with many more tricks to customize Slack to suit your needs.

Have you re-purposed Slack or any other app in this manner? Use the comments section to tell us how.

  1. kelvin
    June 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Hi there

    Can you show me how to use trello in slack? Because i don't want to use too much platform

    Thanks for your help!

  2. shahid durrani
    February 9, 2016 at 5:01 am

    It is enjoying site, Thanks for the ideas.

  3. Asif Lateef
    December 31, 2015 at 7:31 am

    I need get reminders from Trello to Slack on the due date of cards. Can anyone help?

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      January 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Asif, have you tried using IFTTT to connect Trello and Slack? You might be able to create a trigger to get Slack notifications for Trello cards that are due.

  4. jake
    December 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Don't use slackbot to take notes, put your notes somewhere they won't be arbitrarily deleted without warning like mine were.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      December 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Sorry to hear that your notes got deleted accidentally, Jake. Were you able to recover them? I haven't had any trouble with Slack so far, but I'm still careful about having backups for my notes.

      • jake
        December 4, 2015 at 5:37 pm

        I heard back from Slack this morning, private messages are deleted after 30 days and there is nothing I can do. My advice remains.

        • Victor
          April 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm

          We can use a channel withou any other person in order to keep notes, todo, etc..

  5. Justin Jackson
    September 28, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    We're using Slack to actually create, edit, and manage project tickets. There's an app called Partyline that allows you to connect Slack to Sprintly or GitHub Issues.

    Then you can use commands like this to create new tickets:

    /github create Who handles incoming customer support tickets label:question

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      September 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      I'm constantly amazed at Slack's ability to be so versatile and yet so streamlined. I hadn't come across Partyline before. Thank you for sharing it, Justin :)

  6. larry.c.zheng
    June 12, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Hi, there
    Anyone know how can I use slack to build a grocery shopping list ? Meaning a list of things, a member can pick one or few items from it every week, month...
    Thanks!

  7. Ani
    May 19, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I don't think you can actually have a shared task list from Trello within Slack. It just sends all the update notifications to a channel inside Slack, that is all.

    • Akshata
      May 19, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out, Ani. That is what I did mean - if you have a shared to-do list on Trello, your team members can view changes to it in a Slack channel. My choice of words was confusing, I guess. My bad.

      • Akshata Shanbhag
        October 21, 2015 at 2:16 am

        That's interesting, Yana. Thank you for sharing it!

  8. Martha
    May 13, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    This product lets you do project management using chat commands within Slack @ aboard.roboheart.io

  9. Akshata
    April 16, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    JC, you could use an IFTTT recipe to post Google Calendar (birthday) events in a Slack channel.

  10. JC
    April 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    How do you input multiple calendar reminders to come up as notification on their respective days, for instance a birthday calendar, as you mentioned?

  11. PJ
    March 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Pretty simple question, I guess, but I thought the idea was for discussion items in a channel to be threaded.

    IOW, if I create an item 'Update the master data', and Larry, who is also in the channel, wants to chime in with, 'Exactly which master data are we talking about? There are multiple items'.

    How does he do that? Is it cascaded anywhere, as in the P2 theme in WP?

    Is there a good video somewhere of how this is being used for threaded discussion and projects?

    • Akshata
      March 20, 2015 at 6:54 am

      PJ,
      I don't think Slack has that kind of cascading system yet. Best thing I can think of right now is searching for name mentions as relevant. But yeah, keeping track of a conversation is difficult that way.

  12. Rodrigo
    March 11, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    How did you put starred items on the sidebar?

    Tks!

    • Akshata
      March 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Rodrigo,
      Click on the channel name/username in the sidebar and then click on the star icon next to the name at the top in the main section. It will then automatically appear under *Starred* in the sidebar. If that isn't what you're asking about, do let me know.

  13. Viral Waghre
    February 26, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Hi,

    How to share screen on the slack.....?
    Please let me know ASAP.

    Thanks,
    Viral

    • Akshata
      March 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Viral,
      As far as I know such an option does not exist on Slack.

    • Sunil
      March 17, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Viral
      You can use /gotmeeting or /hangout and share the screen outside slack.
      They also have this feature for /hero users.
      You have to put these commands in the message box

  14. Jamina
    December 1, 2014 at 1:40 am

    I would recommend anyone thinking of using a collaborative web tool to take a look at the one I've been successfully using called Dooster. dooster.net

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