The popularisation of remote working has raised many questions about managing a remote team, especially when it is international. Such a system of work requires a completely new approach and tools, as well as setting priorities. In...
Slack has quickly become a go-to app for teams, with a staggering 70% market share in the workstream collaboration category.
We have been using Slack at Teamdeck from the very beginning and can’t imagine our daily communications without it. Reacting to custom emojis with more custom emojis is super entertaining as well.
Bottom line: we love it. And we’re clearly not alone in that sentiment.
One of the great things about Slack is its option of connecting 3rd party services to it via the so called Slack Apps. Install such an app and your humble chat tool becomes supercharged. Suddenly, you’re able to see notifications, to-do lists, polls and *many* other bells and whistles.
See, while Slack Apps can be great time savers and productivity boosters, there’s also a possibility of app overload. We’re spoilt for choice and many Slack Apps are completely free to use. No wonder that it’s tempting to go ahead and add dozens of apps, bots and notifications to your channels. Chances are, that you’ll destroy the very thing that made many of us like Slack in the first place: its simplicity.
This is why, before you go on a Slack App Directory shopping spree, take a minute to go through our list of tried-and-tested Slack apps for Project Managers. Then, pick a couple of apps that best complement your current toolbox and implement them into your workflow. To keep things easier to manage, we’ve divided this list into a couple of categories:
Move your project management software to Slack (partially at least)
Since Slack is a crucial part of the toolbox for so many teams, it comes as no surprise that other software vendors want to extend their functionalities and cater for Slack users as well.
When you set out to look for useful Slack Apps for project managers (or for the whole team in that case), start from checking the tools that are already present in your workflow. Most of key project management apps offer Slack bots or notifications. At Teamdeck, we’re using Jira to manage our backlog, so we’ve installed the Jira Cloud Slack App. Notifications and issue previews allow us to save some time going back and forth between browser tabs. Trello, Asana or Zoho also offer Slack Apps you can add to your project’s channel.
Keep an eye on your product
Here’s the thing about Slack and other chat-based tools – it’s often the quickest way to alert PMs and other team members about any emergencies. This is why, it’s handy to install Slack Apps that will let you know when something unexpected happens. It’s especially important for teams working on products that are already live.
You might want to check these:
All of the messages from Teamdeck users end up right in a dedicated Slack channel, where we can spot them and act quickly.
Another way to keep an eye on your project and the product you’re developing would be to schedule data dashboards to appear in the Slack channel of your choice. Use Geckoboard’s Slack app to see your key metrics in the form of an informative dashboard:
Build your dashboard using data from 60+ sources including Jira or GitHub.
Facilitate communication between your team members
While Slack is popular among distributed teams (you can quickly reach other team members, discuss certain issues or express your feelings with emoji), it’s still just a chatting app, which has its limitations.
Fortunately, Slack App developers have already created dozens of apps, designed to improve team communication in specific circumstances. Project Managers will especially appreciate these:
- Standuply – as the name suggests, it’s a Slack bot for daily standups. You schedule the time, Standuply gathers replies from your team via Slack and creates a report for you. Neat!
- Team O’clock has a dedicated feature for organizing planning poker sessions right in Slack. They also support Slack standups and retrospectives.
- Polly is an app for setting Slack polls. Simple surveys are great for quick decision-making. Anonymous polls can help you gather valuable feedback from your team.
Create an automated workflow (without coding)
Regardless of the growing number of available Slack App, sometimes you may need something more flexible than an out-of-the-box solution. You might even want to design a whole workflow that could really simplify your life (e.g. get a bug report from user via live chat directly on Slack and then send it to Jira with a simple command right from Slack). Good news? There’s a solution that allows you to build similar automated workflows in your browser, no programming skills required. It’s called Zapier and by signing up you can start connecting over 1000 apps to each other, Slack being one of them. There are also some Slack-based templates to get you started.
You can integrate Teamdeck with Slack using Zapier.
If this then that is another platform you can use for repeating workflows, even for devices other than your computer. Imagine saying to your Google Assistant OK Google, tell Slack I’m 5 minutes late. Guess what? There’s an app(let) for that on ITTT. Another applet allows you to skip some steps when posting a picture of whiteboard notes to your team’s Slack channel. ITTT’s library of ready-made apps is extensive, but you can also configure your own recipe using the available devices and services.
As you might have noticed, the list of our favorite Slack Apps for Project Managers is not terribly long. It’s because we’ve witnessed first-hand that an abundance of apps does not necessarily translate into a productivity booster. A thoughtful selection of automated workflows, notifications and apps may, on the other hand, be of huge help, especially when working with a distributed team. Bottom line is that the tools you choose should support your PM process, not the other way round.
You can connect Teamdeck with Slack as well. For starters, we have a public API that enables you to access your Teamdeck data and send it to Slack. This is great when you need full personalization and want to create a Slack App from scratch. If you’re not into generating webhooks and writing scripts, you can create an automated workflow using Zapier. We’re still in private beta phase there, so access is provided via email. Ping us on chat if you want to try this feature yourself, and we’re happily send you an invite.