Increasingly companies are bringing their entire workflows and data streams into Slack via apps, integrations, and APIs. Slack is currently reporting over 135,000 active companies and that’s just the beginning amid a global rise of remote-first work.
Why this move to Slack? For millions of users, Slack is THE place for communication and collaboration. Slack is not just an email killer because it’s a novel form of communication. We already had SMS and WhatsApp. What Slack brings to the table is deeper-seated in company transparency and velocity.
Slack is seamlessly synchronous and asynchronous. It allows you to reduce context switching by creating a space for both short-form communication and long-form with a sprinkle of emoji-led authentic conversations and interactions. It also is beautifully designed.
Most importantly though, Slack brings in streams of information out of the countless siloed data sources in your consoles and Chrome browser tabs. It surfaces real-time and important metrics, queries, customer support tickets, PagerDuty downtime pings, and so much more. It’s become your dashboard for your company, team, and everything in between.
The average company loses more than 20% of its productive power to organizational drag. Put Slack in the picture though and development teams using Slack deliver 5% more output overall, with 23% faster time to market, 27% less time needed to test and iterate, and faster identification and resolution of engineering-related bugs, according to IDC research.
Here at CTO.ai, we use a plethora of Slackbots and SlackOps to run our company. From our Slack-first DevOps workflow automation platform to Geekbot for company standups to the Jira chatbot for our product roadmap to Greetbot to welcome new members of our Slack developer community, we are believers that Slack is the key to fluid, meshed flow states that increase productivity and observability.
To say the least, we are big fans of Slack, but don’t take our word for it. Below are some Slack hacks, tips and tricks for developers and engineering teams of all ilks to get the most out of Slack. In no particular order, here are what DevOps and engineering workflows technical leaders are using in Slack:
#1 Send Delayed Messages
Lizzie Sigal, Developer Evangelist, Twilio
“The Gator Slack app lets you send delayed messages at 9am in the recipient's time zone so as to not notify them if they've logged off for the day. Convenient, more thoughtful, simple.”
#2 Team Celebrations
Fletcher Richman, Co-Founder/CEO Halp; Senior Product Manager, Atlassian
“Every time a new customer signs up for Halp via Stripe, we post a gif to #halp-wins.”
#3 Infrastructure Tooling
Daniel Hochman, Platform Engineer, Lyft
“Clutch ships with authentication and authorization components. OpenID Connect (OIDC) authentication flows for single-sign on, resource-level role-based access control (RBAC) via static mapping, and automatic auditing of all actions with the ability to run additional sinks for output, e.g., a Slackbot.”
Don Burks, Technical Lead, Sphere
“/remind is one of the biggest ones. Instead of having to break flow from my keyboard and write something down, I can get Slack to remind me.”
(I personally enjoy CMD K for quick searching and /collapse for minimizing all those extra pop-ups from Slack integrations.)
#5 Wins, Failure Alerts, Retros, Standups
Brice Pollock, Senior iOS Engineer, BetterUp
- Looking for a way to give sales organizations more visibility to product teams? Use the Salesforce integration for closed opportunities in #general.
- Looking for a way to get more insight into build failures? Use a CircleCI integration in a Slack channel that reports build failures.
- Looking for a way to get more insight into runtime failures? Use a Firebase integration in a Slack channel that reports changes in thresholds for fatals and non-fatals.
- Looking for a way to help with Team Retros? Pin a poll to a Slack channel and use a slash reminder command (/remind) to get the team to enter responses prior to retro.
- Looking for a way to automate standup? Integrate Jira and Confluence so a new standup doc is generated every day with a random ice breaker question in a randomized standup order.
- Looking for a way to highlight SWAT or blocking issues? Create a macro that like reminders will print all blockers right before standup and anyone on the team can add a blocker or discussion topic.
#6 Website Metrics
Frances Coronel, Executive Director, Techqueria
“Website metrics are a way we measure impact and we use Arc to bring Google Analytics to us automatically each week and with a cumulative monthly update instead of having to manually go into there. It's so easy to update our partnerships deck and impact report with the latest numbers.”
#7 Product Support
Vlad Shlosberg, CEO, Foqal.io
“Immediate access to your customers and conversion to become a customer. With this Slack bot, it made our support process a lot more manageable.”
Symanto built a chatbot with Node.js in Slack using their text analytics API and sentiment models.
#9 Status Aggregation — Status Gator
Status Gator aggregates almost 700 status pages into Slack and you can query the status of any page on demand.
#10 DevOps Monitoring — AWS Chatbot
AWS Chatbot enables DevOps and software development teams to use Slack chat rooms to monitor and respond to operational events in their AWS Cloud.
#11 Pipeline Notifications — Spinnaker
Configure the Spinnaker software to receive pipeline notifications through Slack.
#12 Azure Boards, Pipelines, Repos — Microsoft
Post messages to Slack in response to events in your Azure DevOps organization, such as completed builds, code changes, pull requests, releases, work items changes, and more. Details here.
#13 Infrastructure Notifications — Terraform
Terraform Cloud can use Slack webhooks to notify external systems about the progress of runs.
#14 Developer Tools Slack bots — Slack App Marketplace
Don’t forget the preprogrammed apps made just for Slack. Use the Slack app marketplace to connect your development tools to Slack and raise visibility into builds, errors, or anything else that needs your attention.
Learn more about using Slack for dev teams with their handy handbook.
Now the power of Slack is within you. Take to the channels and reinvent your developer and DevOps workflows with the tools above or in a single control plane within Slack.
And if you’d like to make your life easier and want to take the CTO.ai Slack-first DevOps workflow platform for a free spin, just let us know.