One of the primary benefits of using Slack is the ability to communicate and share information across a company, but as usage scales it can sometimes lead to information overload and an inability to keep work organized. Pingpad released an update today to bring an organizational layer to Slack that could help teams keep their project information more orderly inside the communications tool.
"Most companies we work with spend 80 percent of their time in Slack, but the conversational UI is a blessing and a curse," Pingpad CEO and co-founder Ross Mayfield told TechCrunch. "Slack is great at communication, but it doesn’t support collaboration and coordination. We help you get Slack organized," he explained.
The update includes a new concept called Pingpad boards, which offers a Trello-like experience for organizing projects by content type such as open items, completed tasks and shared documents. Each of these items is more than a simple to-do task. They are each full-fledged documents unto themselves. Clicking any item on the board opens an editor for adding content.
While the board is separate from Slack, the work on the board is fully integrated in Slack via Pingpad Conversations.
"Today we have Pingpad Conversations that let you have a focused conversation on a task, a decision or content you are creating, which are synced across Slack or in the PIngpad Web App," Mayfield explained.
That means if you share a note created in Slack, the Pingpad bot recognizes it as a note and allows you to see more information about it, while teeing up next actions such as providing feedback about the content or even closing the item when it's completed. All changes get synced across Slack and Pingpad automatically.
Pingpad was first released last year as a stand-alone Wiki for use with Slack. You could create documents in Pingpad and share them inside Slack, but not much more. The update provides, not only the ability to create and share underlying project documents created in Pingpad, but also additional conversational structure for projects within Slack through on-going automated integration with Pingpad and the ability to collaborate with colleagues and move projects forward.
Not surprisingly, Mayfield doesn't see this as additional set of activities, so much as a helper tool to make Slack users more productive. "What we are doing is helping things get done in the flow of the regular work where they are doing their work now," he said.