Last September I was first invited to use Slack. The founding members of the Indie Game Report (TIGR) thought it would be a good idea to collect all of our official business and pending projects in a single area and they thought Slack would be the most ideal way to do it. Having never heard of Slack before then, I was a little hesitant. I am pretty young but I am sort of a dinosaur and new apps frighten me. I timidly joined the TIGR Slack channel and to be quite honest, it rocked my world.
I drastically cut my time on most other social media sites and spent most of my free time checking the TIGR slack channel. Shortly after, I was invited to join the Button Shy slack channel as they were publishing a game of mine and they used Slack to corral all of their designers into a single location. Yes, more slack! It didn’t take long after that I realized how powerful of a tool this would be to run my own business and by the end of September, less than a month after first joining Slack, I created a Slack Channel for all things Letiman Games.
What is Slack? ^
Slack is basically a real-time messaging/chat channel for teams that allows for archiving, searching, and file sharing. There are apps for slack so you can easily connect using any mobile device and stay connected with your team members wherever you go. Slack saves about 10,000 of your most recent messages and has a variety of applications and settings that will make truly revolutionize the way you run your company.
How will Slack help your business? ^
The beauty of the slack channels is that you can open up multiple chatrooms within the channel, so you can
have a different channel for each game you are working on. We go as far as having multiple channels for the same game to parse out different functions. For Groves (our current project) we have 3 different channels, a general channel, a channel solely for rulebook editing and discussion, and a channel for file sharing and editing. This allows us to easily focus our efforts and have multiple members working on different areas of the game.
Another amazing feature is that you can limit what members have access to which channels. For instance, we hired a rulebook editor to help us with the Groves rulebook. While he is in the channel, I may not want to grant him access to the early stages work we are doing on development of our Dino Dude Ranch expansion. Not a problem at all, just limit his access to the Groves chatrooms only, or to just the
Groves Rulebook chatroom! There is also a private channel between each member, so you can private message any member of the team as well.
You can also search within the channel. If you are trying to remember a discussion you had about a particular rule or file, you do not need to waste time scrolling through all of your previous conversations Simply search terms
throughout the entire channel or within specific chatrooms. You can also filter your search to just files as well. This has been amazing for looking back at previous conversations I had that I might not have written down or gotten to correcting yet.
Now this all sounds great but I saved my absolute favorite feature for the end. My favorite part about slack is that it truly builds that team comraderie. We have a united location where we can all discuss aspects of the game we are working on. We can effectively have an experience like we are all sitting around a table discussing the game we are developing. I can introduce our artist to our graphic designer to our rulebook editor to a designer of another one of our games and we can all have a laugh over something stupid I said yesterday. The slack channel can act as a watercooler where we can go when we are stressed with our normal day job and just say hi to our fellow team members. It makes us feel united. We work better because we all have access to each other for feedback and discussion. We are all friends now and we will work more efficiently and make better games because of it.
As you can tell, I have very few negative comments about slack because I think it is amazing. If you are a publisher and you work with multiple designers, artists, and contractors, I cannot recommend slack enough. Go try it out right now. You can thank me with pizza!
Are are any apps/software/tools that your business cannot do without? What is your favorite, I want to hear about it!