Slack is a team messaging tool and our main method of communication.
We use it to get real time updates, without the preamble of a formal email.
We have a channel for each project, so all the latest information is in one place and visible by the whole delivery team.
Remember that under the Freedom of Information Act any recorded information, including digital communication, can be requested by a member of the public.
Set up your profile
Your profile helps other users know who you are, and helps them find you easily if they’re looking for you.
– set your username to your full name, for example ‘janesmith’
– use a recognisable profile photo
– fill in ‘What I do’ with your role and organisation
– you don’t need to fill in phone number or Skype
Slack is split into different channels, each discussing a different topic. These are listed on the left hand side, and by default you’ll be in three channels: ‘announcements’, ‘general’ and ‘random’.
‘Announcements’ is the only channel that is not optional – it allows anyone to make an important announcement to everyone on Slack. An example might be new job adverts, or a newly launched service.
‘General’ is for any work related chat, and you can leave this channel if you like (you can rejoin at any time).
‘Random’ on the other hand is for any non-work related chat, and you can leave this channel if you like (you can rejoin at any time) but remember that FOI does still apply.
To leave a channel, click the cog icon at the top of the screen and select the ‘leave’ menu item.
To join a new channel, click ‘CHANNELS’ on the left.
Anything you post to the channel can be seen by everyone else there. If people join in the future, they’ll be able to see it too (however there’s a limit to how far you can go back and see posts in a channel).
You can add formatting to your messages using Markdown, for example this will be *bold*. See the full Slack Markdown guide here.
Getting people's attention
You can refer to a specific person by using @ then start to type their name. Slack will give you an autocomplete list of people to choose from. When you post the message, they will receive a notification.
@andi_west that design looks great – is it ready to go into research?
For important messages for everyone in a channel, you can use @here or @channel. @here is normally prefered – it will send notifications only to people currently online in the channel.
@here the show and tell is starting in 5 minutes
@channel sends notifications to everyone – if they are not online they will get an email notification.
@channel the demo went great! Celebratory cake tomorrow
For private conversations you can use direct messaging – start by clicking ‘DIRECT MESSAGES’ on the left, or the + symbol next to it. You can then select all the people you’d like to have a private conversation with.
You can add people to the group later, but because direct messages are private this will start a new conversation without the previous message history.
This guidance was created from the UK Government Slack Usage Guide – ta muchly.
We talk constantly about what we’re working on and what we’ve learnt – but often this knowledge is confined to a Slack channel or a meeting room.
Blogging is a way to get our thoughts, knowledge and experiences out of our heads and to the wider team.
Be honest and open about the way we work.
Blogging helps us to build up trust with customers, inspire devs and designers to join us, and share our ideas with other digital teams and local government groups.
The more we share, the more we can encourage others to challenge their own perceptions and ways of working.
If you are interested in writing a post, speak to Kiri.
Writing and content guides
Events and conferences are a great way to meet people, share knowledge and tell the world about what we do.
If you’re at an event, remember that you are representing the rest of the team, so here are a few quick pointers…
- be delightful to everyone you meet
- be ready to talk positively about what you do
- attend as many sessions as you can
- take notes and share when you get back
- attend the dinner or after party. Some of the greatest connections are made when you’re relaxed
- take pictures, talk to people, then tweet at the people you’ve just talked to
- drink 3 cocktails if you know you’ll start heckling speakers
- speak negatively about people you’ve worked with (even if they’re idiots, it makes you look bad)
- waffle on about yourself. Listening makes just as much of an impression as speaking
- leave the house without a pen and notepad