At Interlink, we primarily work on Slack, a work collaboration platform often confused at first glance with a simple chat application.
It is structured like an old Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client, with channels arranged by topics and users that share messages, but it does a lot more than that.
With Slack, we enjoy text and video-based communication, as well as contextual file-sharing in a safe environment, with a powerful Application Programming Interface (API). We cannot sufficiently state the importance of this.
An API is basically a set of processes and tools that software uses to communicate with other software. Since we are living in an age of interconnectedness, an API allows us to have connected services pulling up work processes for us.
A very simple example: whenever a user completes a contact form on our website, we send that data to a private Google sheets document. Then a bot detects this and posts it in a relevant channel where people who must act on this information receive a notification and a link for access.
This is a professional solution, and a strong juxtaposition to other "free" services like WhatsApp, which unfortunately many companies use for work communication. Read about why we banned WhatsApp for our management team members here.
With Slack, when a partner works with us on a project, we invite them to a dedicated channel as guests. They can upload files, comments and have videoconferences with us. On top of this, we use Monday.com, a project-management solution that also connects to Slack.
We use boards that track anything from sales deals to Agile development sprints. When a status changes, we get notified in the relevant Slack channel for that topic. We know what to expect, and this helps us anticipate issues. We make the information available and we provide the tools for people to act on it.
For any further reference related to our code or research, we use GitLab issues. We already use GitLab for building our software, so it made sense to document any issues there.
Providing just anecdotal information through informal methods would be guesswork. We do not want to work that way, even if it is free, it would be too expensive for us.
Instead, we believe in helping people achieve task autonomy and mastery by having all the relevant information at their disposal. We love it because it favors action, and it works best with deadlines and planning.
Sometimes people confuse this with constantly reporting things to us. But that is not what we mean by tracking the status of a project, or sharing progress on a task. What we are trying to achieve is shorter time cycles that incorporate enough input in order to enrich the outcome.
This increases the chance of success. It is not like in past decades, where using multiple software solutions would cripple your organization. Here we are talking about discussing a need in Slack, documenting things in GitLab such as "What is the issue?" and "What dictates success?", then estimating the effort and organizing the tasks in Monday.
But everything comes back to Slack. Information does not live in a single place, it is manipulated in the proper touchpoint, but it flows freely across relevant spaces. And it notifies the right people.
This enables us to be ready for the future of work, which is remote. It gets even better when we can set automatic actions, as it cuts down time from what would otherwise be manual, boring tasks.
We are very happy with our internal work. But banning WhatsApp for our management team has unfortunately isolated those users who are happy using it, and who now feel like they cannot communicate with us.
There are two ways we go about that:
- Come talk to us on our website! We have a chat widget for support, commercial enquiries and general questions.
- Download Wayports and let's hang out!