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If you’re familiar with Slack and your project management software, you can leverage the two together to turn your average PM processes into a full-fledged, time-saving project management strategy. Both your PM platform and Slack are bolstered by integrating each with the other, which allows for more powerful automation, efficiency, and oversight in your projects. Ready to learn how to do it? Let’s get started.
Why Integrating Project Management into Slack is Worth It
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your PM career or you’ve been the mastermind behind hundreds of projects over the last 20 years—your job as a project manager is not easy. And with new software popping up every day, things are more complicated than ever.
Not only are you responsible for completing projects on time and budget, but you also have to manage the people executing tasks and the software they use, too.
Executing projects requires easy, instant communication. Which just so happens to be what Slack does best. But when you integrate your PM software with Slack, something magical happens. For example, you can:
- Create tasks and action items from a conversation
- Notify the right person when you complete a task
- Keep everyone in the loop on scope or timeline changes
- Share files and important info with your teammates
- Celebrate wins together from opposite sides of the country
- Keep the momentum going from start to finish
The misconception many people have is that Slack should replace the current tools you already use for project management. This is the furthest thing from the truth. On its own, Slack isn’t a project management tool. But integrating it into your existing workflows will make your current tools… that much better.
Collaborative tools like Slack make it easier for you to fulfill your duties and list milestones as goals are met. It also helps ensure a higher level of clarity in projects and accountability within the team.
The Investment Needed to Integrate Project Management into Slack
The first thing you need is project management software you’re familiar with and happy with. If you don’t yet have a PM tool or are unhappy with the one you’re using, now’s a great time to invest in something that works well for you and your team.
Not sure which one’s right for you? No problem. Check out our top picks, here.
Regardless of the PM platform you go with, the rest of this article will help you integrate Slack into your project management workflows so you can manage projects (and your team) with ease.
Integrating the two requires you to learn how Slack works alone and with your current PM software. Doing so can be time-consuming, but it’s important to be prepared. Some platforms integrate better than others, and Slack offers a full list of PM integrations here.
We believe in transparency here at Crazy Egg, so there are no unrealistic promises given. Beyond a cash investment in your PM software, you’ll likely need to pay for one of Slack’s paid plans. There is a free-forever plan, but it limits your possible integrations, Slack channels, and the number of old messages you can access. So, it may not work for you and your team.
Slack’s paid plans are $6.67 per user per month for the Standard tier, $12.50 per user per month for the Plus plan, and an Enterprise tier with custom pricing.
After you upgrade, you’ll need to spend some time getting comfortable with all the premium features you now have access to and how to make the most out of them.
As with anything, there is a learning curve. But we are going to give you the steps you need to take to start your journey on integrating project management into Slack and turn that learning curve into a straighter line.
Here’s how to get started:
- Check for Slack Integration with Your PM Software
- Learn What Slack Can Do With Your PM Software
- Sign up for Slack
- Find Your PM Software’s Slack App
- Install Your PM App for Integration
- Create Slack Channels for Your Projects and Teams
6 Steps to Integrate Project Management into Slack
Slack makes tracking all of your project details easy and keeps all your communications in one central location. Follow the steps below to supercharge your project management solution with the collaborative features of Slack.
#1 – Check For a Slack Integration with Your PM Software
The first thing you want to do is make sure your PM software plays well with Slack. Slack itself has over 2,400 integrations (over 300 of which are for project management)—so, you’ll probably find a built-in integration. But it’s still worthwhile to check before reading any further.
To check, head to the Slack homepage, hover over the “Product” link in the top navigation menu. Then, click on Integrations.
On the next screen, scroll about halfway down the page and click “Explore the Slack App Directory”. From there, you can search for your project management tool or choose the project management category to see all of the project management tools that integrate directly with Slack.
#2 – Learn What Slack Can Do with Your PM Software
Not all Slack integrations are created equal. Some are more deeply integrated with each other than others.
So, the next step is figuring out how Slack and your project management software can work together. You may have an ideal picture in your mind, but the feasibility of that idea depends on the quality of the integration.
Some integrations may let you perform tasks in your project management tool directly from Slack. Want to set a task due date based on the day mentioned in your conversation? No problem—in one click, you can do so without ever leaving the conversation.
Want to make an automated announcement when you meet a project milestone? Some integrations make that easier than ever.
There are four things to focus on when integrating project management with Slack:
- Automation capabilities, such as creating a new task from Slack chat
- Planning through Slack conversations and the ability to schedule action items
- Oversight improvements, such as status updates from Slack pushed to project status
- Collaboration on shared documents or other tasks
After you’ve clicked through “Explore the Slack App Directory” in the previous step, Find your project management tool in the directory.
To do so, you can click Project Management in the right-hand navigation menu or search for the tool using the search function at the top of the page. If you’re using a less common PM tool, the search is probably faster.
Once you find your software you can read a description of what it does when integrated with Slack. For example, here’s what Slack can do with Trello:
You can add new Trello cards directly from Slack with a slash command. You can also join Trello cards and boards, change due dates, and even attach Slack conversations to cards.
You can even invite Trello to a Slack conversation to automatically set up a new board with the right members while keeping your current Slack conversation attached. All of these functions help streamline project management without disrupting the natural flow of collaboration.
#3 – Sign up for Slack
Next it’s time to sign up for Slack and check out the pricing. This can be straightforward if you don’t have many apps you want to integrate. You can actually add up to ten apps on the free version of Slack.
The big problem with the free version is teamwork and collaboration outside your organization is not supported. You get a limited amount of messages per month, automation is not included, and security, data protection, and compliance measures like HIPAA guidelines are not included.
Paid plans allow you to use as many apps as you want with no limitations, providing the best pay-off for your team.
Once you figure out what plan is best for you, it’s time to integrate your PM software’s Slack app.
#4 – Find Your PM Software’s Slack App
You can search for your PM app manually or through the search function available on the app directory page.
Once you find it, there will be a brief explanation on how it enhances your project management experience, with an option to read more.
Once you click the next arrow you are taken to a full description page, including a full list of features, permissions, and compliance and security elements.
In general, apps will connect your PM tools and services with the Slack software. This allows you to use them without having to leave your Slack workspace, making it easy to find and share data and collaborate, eliminating errors by supporting the work you do without having to go to different platforms for each action.
#5 – Install Your PM App for Integration
Now that you have found your PM app it’s time for you to install it. This is very straightforward and simple to do. On the same page that you viewed more information about your PM app—directly to the left you will see an “Add to Slack” button.
After you press this button you are taken to another page that requires you to give Slack permission. Simply click on “Allow” and you will have successfully integrated the application with Slack.
Now, there is one more thing that will take your team and project to the next level.
#6 – Create Slack Channels for Your Projects and Teams
When you are coordinating a project in Slack, the platform offers you a blueprint to help you get familiar with how other PMs and teams use it effectively. This is great for beginners and makes Slack even more user-friendly.
Starting with channels helps set the tone for how your project will be managed. Channels help organize all the right team members for a particular topic of discussion or task in a central location.
Within the channels, you and your team can share ideas and make decisions to move your projects forward.
Channels can be public, private, or even contain multiple organizations within.
So an example of focuses channels in Slack could be one called #roadmapq3, which would work as a space for members to discuss goals and benchmarks for the third quarter of the year.
A #weekly-update channel can be set up so everyone involved with the project can post exactly what they have completed for the week, giving you a clear picture on who is struggling or how on-track everyone is.
Or, you can create a channel named #internal-project-management that can be a private space for all managers where knowledge is shared, along with challenges.
To create your channels:
- In the Slack desktop view, click on your workspace’s name in the upper left of your screen.
- Click on “Create a channel”
- Enter a channel name that describes the purpose of the conversations to happen therein
- Enter your channel’s description (you also can make the channel private in this step by clicking the toggle next to “Private”)
- Click “Create” to finalize your new channel
- Add members to your channel by typing their name and selecting it from a menu. You can also skip this step for now and come back to it later if relevant people haven’t created their Slack accounts yet.
Channels are created to segregate project planning and include the necessary scope for each goal and process required for the project to be completed on time and under budget.
Makes sense? Great. Setting up channels specific to your project is how you make it into the PM hall of fame. Channels offer teams clarity and consistency with no compromises.
That’s it, now you have integrated your PM app and are ready to maneuver through Slack like a project management ninja.
In fact, to make things even more seamless, you can begin to automate routine actions and communication with Slack’s workflow builder (only available on paid plans). This is a way to create your own custom workflows.
If you want to do this, head over to the main menu in Slack. Just click on your workstation name in the upper left. Then, go to Tools –> Workflow Builder.
The best part about this Workflow Builder is the potential for customization, but if you don’t want to spend that kind of time, you can use the pre-built templates Slack has waiting for you.
Collaboration has never been easier, as you can search for coworkers in Slack, easily get critical information fast, or deliver content and work needed to move a project forward. Channels for projects, teams, and individual roles keeps everyone on the same page.
There you have it. Now get out there and start crushing those projects with Slack integration and climb to the top of project management stardom.