Yesterday Slack, the workflow management app, was down. For a moment it seemed like the world was coming to the end especially with project managers; however, Slack is back up and running. However, this disruption brings 3 important lessons learned that every project manager could heed.
Always Have a Backup (Communication) Plan
Contingency plans are the credo that we live by! Always have another communication channel because you never know what may happen. Yes, Slack is efficient but even it has downtimes and disruptions. Don’t be caught off guard when this happens again (and it will.).
You Don’t Own Slack: Slack Is Not Your Company Email
Slack is so ubiquitous that you think that it is just like your company’s email. You may have subscriptions but Slack IS NOT your company email. Slack is an external communication channel. You own your company’s email channel.
Make Sure That Your Project Schedule Isn’t Down to the Wire
Slack’s being down magnified how some project managers’ work is always on the critical path. The critical path is where the slack (i.e. lag time) is zero. There is no room for error. As project managers, we are always told to have some lead and lag time in our project schedules just in case something happens. When Slack went down it derailed many project schedules and exposed a whole lot of project managers’ bad time management practices.
Going forward I hope that project managers view Slack as a project management tool and not a panacea. You still need to have backup plans, rely on your preexisting communication channels and not let your project schedules slip.