Not sure if any of you have used it, but what do you all think about the communication software slack? Does it work well with a robotics team? Let me know what you think!
Didn’t use it when I was on the FRC team, but we use it as our primary mode of communication for one of the engineering organizations I’m a part of in college. I think it has a lot of functionality and the fact that you can make a channel for every subsystem is great. In a way, it’s like a chat/instant messaging based forum. I would definitely recommend it.
Team 8 has used Slack since last Build Season and it has worked pretty well for us. We have channels for each subteam (#build, #programming, etc…) and create additional ones for specific tasks that need to be completed (#competitionlogistics, #sciencefairvisit, etc…). Its a great way for quick communication when compared to email. The only challenge is that for it to be effective you have to get enough team members to check Slack regularly.
We use it, and experience the same problem - it’s primarily just the leads who use it, but we can get the students using it by reminding them that that’s where the information exists.
While I cannot speak from the standpoint of having an entire team using Slack, I created a group for our programming team, composed of 18 students and mentors. We have been using it for over a year, and have been very impresed.
Slack’s free plan is amazing for the price. We can have unlimited members, channels, and the file and photo sharing works nice. I recommend if this is the course that you choose to consider, to make a google drive account, most teams have one already. You can copy the share link of the file, and it will share it with everyone in the channel to make sharing files easier.
Slack has some of the best customer service that I have encountered with, our team is using it to replace Skype and Google Hangouts. Slack has plans to add voice integration sometime in 2016. Administrators can set-up bots, allowing a bot to remind the channel or everyone when there is a meeting, or important event! There are so many integrations to make slack even better.
If you choose slack, you will need to consider the difference between Private Groups and Channels. Channels can have lots of spam, and everyone can see those messages. Private Groups are only visible by those in it.
One of my goals for 2017 is to hopefully push towards Slack when I have more leverage. It is an amazing tool, and replaces Skype, GroupME, Kik, and Texting. We still have a teamspeak server for voice.
EDIT: After reading, one of our programmers made a bot to log how much time people get on Slack. But yes, getting people to get on slack is a challenge, just like checking your email.
Let me know if you have any more questions!
I would add - our team uses slack in conjunction with Google Hangouts at the moment. Simply paste the link to the hangout into the slack channel, and have your members join up.
I’m also on Team 8, couldn’t resist speaking up as well
Slack has been very useful to us, we make consistent use of it, some subteams more than others, but overall it’s proven to be a fairly effective communication tool. We use it for group discussion, calendar updates (there’s a Google Calendar integration for Slack, any updates or new events we add to our team calendar get posted to one of our teamwide channels), brainstorming, and general coordination. It really helps make sure everyone is on the same page with what we’re working on. If you have any specific questions I’d be happy to answer them, but my general response is: yes, it is mostly definitely useful, would recommend.
Team 694 has been using Slack for a year now and it’s been great (partially because of the fact that we had previously been using email). Slack is actually designed to be used by teams and can be set to send desktop notifications to users. The challenge, of course, is making sure that people are constantly active and available to be reached by slack. To this end, for anyone who didn’t know, most browsers allow you to pin tabs so that they stay open and can’t be closed by default, making it easy to make sure slack is always open.
We also implemented angry yelling as a solution for members not being online enough XD
True with our programming sub-team (the only ones on our team on slack)
Psst: 1810 Programmers on CD (I may be the only one): Check slack or else… more learning homework on thursday!
Yes that was what I feared, although I feel like it is easier to get them to download the app and then they get direct notifications instead of emails that may or may not be spam or important.
We have been using Slack. I get better responses from the team this way than I do through email.
We also have sub sections for the team leaders and a joke area named the Pun-ishment Room.
It is a very useful tool. I recommend it.
Team 1540 has started using Slack, at the recommendation of a couple of the software members, myself included. I’ve also used it at a summer internship.
I find it to be a very useful tool - we tried an email list for our department, but email is clunky and too heavyweight for small questions, which leads to small questions not being asked electronically. (At least for our team.) This way, it’s possible for everyone to ask whatever they want, and if it’s in a public channel, everyone else can learn from it too.
One thing to make sure to recommend to team members is to modify the notification settings - if you don’t, you can get pinged for messages that you don’t want to be pinged about. With the notification settings set to only notify you when you’re directly contacted, it’s possible for team members to ignore most conversations in the moment and then catch up on their own time later.
Also, for your programming subteam, the GitHub integration features are very useful! You can have Slack notify you about everything that happens in your repositories, in a public channel that the rest of the subteam can see.
Looks like a nicer alternative to email, but is there video calling or plans for adding it?
May be able to integrate google hangouts video call or something like that.
You’re completely correct.:ahh: Googled “slack video chat” and this explains how to do it through google hangouts.
810 to use Slack within the controls group, but barely anyone posts anything. We’ve tried to get programmers to join #programming, but it has 5 members in all (including me and the head of controls. There’s only 3 new programmers in there, out of about 10).
We just set up Slack on our team with just team leads and it’s going great so far. We’re going to add all team members soon.
My favorite part is the integrations - we use Trello for a Scrum-like experience, and it posts to Slack every time a board is updated. Same for when a new revision is pushed to GitHub. It’s great.
I should mention that I pushed for us to use Slack because we were having communication issues with our team leads. I would email and text them and still barely get replies. With Slack you can mention someone and have it notify their phone and get their attention pretty quickly. You can also search Slack!
4901 didn’t choose to go with Slack, because we had a few too many users on dumbphones still. We chose GroupMe because it works over SMS as well, and that works well for our purposes.
That said, the company I work for uses Slack all the time and it’s wonderful. I was pushing for us to use it across the mentors of different FRC teams here in South Carolina; the real test will come next season, I suppose.
We started using Slack this summer, it has worked well for us so far and we plan on trying to use it during build season. Like others have said, it is primarily the leads who use it, but I think that is to be expected of any communication system on a team.
If you have a lot going on that different people are involved in, and you find that many of your younger members are without facebook, then it helps out a lot.
Team 980 started using Slack in June as an experiment. Overall, the responsiveness of student team members is much better than our email experience. Though, not the engagement we’d really like to see. When asked, most students “see” many of the posts. They often fail to respond when requested because if they don’t do so immediately, they forget about the message (too many shiny objects, too little time).
We’ve integrated Trello, GitHub, Google Drive, and DropBox (from which we are migrating to Google Drive). We like the ability to create channels dedicated to team functions and logistics (chairmans, controls, attendance, etc.), though it took time for members to learn to post outside of the general channel.
For better or worse, a private student_forum was setup (no mentors), and we’ve actually seen useful products: the students nominated on team leaders within the forum, which they posted to the general channel. We use the random channel for pun-ishment and off-the-wall humor, etc.
We’ll see how Slack works through our build season, as students and mentors have come up the learning curve in the off-season.
Good luck, teams!