Your Slack is getting a major update – new features you need to know about

The workplace communication tool has announced a raft of new features to help teams with task management.

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A major new update is coming to the Slack app today. The work platform is set to roll out ‘Lists’, a new set of task management features designed to rival basic PM software offerings.

Slack says Lists will enable teams to manage projects and organise To Do lists. Outstanding tasks are presented via board views, similar to Trello and

Lists will come to customers on all paid plans over the coming weeks. We’ll go through the top three features, what they bring to businesses, and how to get the best use out of them.

1. Manage projects

Simple List

One of the biggest changes that the new Lists update brings to business users is the ability to create, assign, and manage individual tasks as part of a larger project.

This basically means that users will be able to structure data stored in Slack (such as messages posted in channels) in a spreadsheet or kanban-style board layout view. Record cards can also be added that contain information about due date or ownership.

An example project that Lists could be used for would be employee onboarding. If details about a new starter were shared during a Slack Huddle, Lists could instantly capture that information and input it directly into a list of tasks relating to their profile setup.

2. Triage requests

Workflow Form (1)

Most people will be familiar with Slack’s Workflow Builder, which allows team members to build automated processes. For example, the builder might currently be used to launch a webform that invites employees to report product bugs or glitches.

With Lists, any request that gets submitted through a workflow form will automatically populate a list of tasks. Users can then look through these submissions to filter ideas quickly, and triage timely requests, without having to first store them in a separate file.

It’s designed to limit time wasted on red tape and admin tasks. Slack’s latest Workforce Index found that users report spending up to a third of their day on tasks that are “not meaningful to their job,” such as excessive paperwork or data entry.

3. Team planning

Threads on Slack

The new update will also make Lists shareable in the same Slack workspace. That means all employees in a department or business will be able to visualise the assigned tasks for a project in a simplistic list view, for joined-up collaboration between project team members.

Users will also be able to add comments that tag specific team members, starting a conversation via a message thread on the list item. In addition, if a team member is assigned a task, Slack’s Workflow Automation tools mean they can be tagged automatically.

“With lists, you can turn conversations in Slack into actionable tasks that drive work forward,” says Slack CEO Denise Dresser. “Now those loose next steps shared in a project channel can be tracked across a team.”

Is Slack now a project management tool?

While the new features are less suitable for complex projects, small businesses will find them useful for collaboration between two or three team members.

Managers and employees can use Lists to save time from switching between apps like Google Sheets. But more cross-functional teams wanting to manage large, long-term projects, a more powerful project management system will be necessary.

Read more about the top project management tools for small businesses, as chosen by our research team.

Written by:
Helena Young
Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.

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