Slack Adds Actions, for Better or for Worse

You’ve’ll Float Too

There’s a problem with Slack. It adds noise to the workplace. It has added more keystrokes to my daily tasks. It’s just another thing I have to check-in with before proceeding with an actual task at hand.

It simultaneously befuddles processes, and untangles messes. Both are true.

However, Slack has never been a project management tool. It’s no doubt proved useful to teams, big and small (with a $5.1 billion valuation). I’m a firm believer that if your organization employs Slack and Email and no project management software… you’re in for a world of hurt.

But if you’re in the camp that employs the holy trinity (Slack, Email, and any PMS tool), Slack Actions might be your knight in shining armor.

You see, the problem is (as it currently exists) when an email thread goes off the rails, and your sidebar with your co-worker or project manager on Slack — everyone on the email chain is cut off from your singular conversation.

But what if there was a way to loop a Slack conversation back into the communication trinity? An example from The Verge:

In the work-tracking service Asana, for example, you’ll be able to turn a Slack message into a task, complete with the person responsible, due date, and corresponding project. You can also add Slack messages to existing Asana tasks to provide additional context.

Which hopefully emails a notification to the responsible parties. Elementary documentation of record keeps everyone in the loop.

Image from Slack.com

The expanded definition of a Slack Action, from Slack’s documentation:

Actions allow your users to quickly send messages from Slack directly to your app, enabling them to create tasks, comment on messages, follow-up from tickets, and more.

Actions are one way of integrating your app with Slack, similar to the integration points provided by slash commands or interactive messages.

When an action is selected in Slack, your app will be notified with some relevant info; your app could then follow up by:

I believe this helps Slack’s continuity problem. This should prove useful, turning little strings of text into actionable tasks. Any feature improvement that reduces keystrokes for creating a task, or improves productivity is a win.

But, I also believe this is a loss. A loss for those who do not use project management tools. Any feature improvement that excludes workplaces will feel left out and see no positive benefit. I’d like to see a default Slack Action, called Email the Team. Basically, instead of creating an Asana Task, or a Jira Issue, why not open the Mail.app composer and a snippet of the quoted text from our Slack conversation? That would easily be the fastest and sure-fire way to loop my singular conversation back to the main team. Hell, I’d even settle for an Action to Slack DM quoted text to a channel or teammate.

Again, it all comes back to reducing keystrokes. In productivity, that’s the ultimate endgame.

 

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