Slack Vs Hipchat: Communication Isn’t Just about Tools

May 17, 2016 - 2 minutes read


“It’s a poor carpenter that blames their tools.” It may be a cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true, for carpenters and iPad app developers alike. Most app development companies (and many non-tech companies) made the switch to Slack, Hipchat, and other chat-based workplace communication tools over the past year. As users move past the honeymoon stage with chat apps, Medium has been filling up with compelling criticisms of 2.0 team chat tools. The question is, how much of these criticisms stem from problems with the apps — and how many stem from problems with communication itself?

We’ve been using Slack as our core communication tool here at Dogtown Media for some time now. For the most part, we’ve been happy with it — true to the software’s promise, it makes communicating about ongoing projects much simpler and more intuitive.

That said, while the platform promises to make email obsolete, we still find ourselves using email regularly. Slack is great for real-time communication and transparency but email still feels “right” for many inter-team conversations.

The challenge of prioritizing

As many op-eds from the mobile app development community have pointed out, chat tools like Slack have a tendency to generate notification overload. On the flip side, traditional email has a negative tendency to generate backlogged “threads” with confusing privacy status between cc’s, bcc’s, and forwarding.

Both problems ultimately stem from questions of priority: how can an iPad app developer decide what needs attention now at the expense of focus, versus later at the expense of timeliness? While Slack and email offer contrasting benefits, the core challenge is sticking to a personal organization regime — which is ultimately a personal challenge, not a platform requirement.

Boston mobile app developers who can use the tools efficiently in tandem are sure to find benefits to chat apps for team communication.

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