How to Get Started

Resource: Technology Tips, Best Practices, and Q&A

Using new technology helps us work in public, but it’s important to remember that we are working to adopt the principles and behaviors that enable a more responsive work environment. The specific software used on your team may change over time, but the behaviors that underlie the technology are the key to our success.

Google Docs: Collaborative Documents

If we have to wait for colleagues to make edits, save a version, and then pass documents our way, we fall victim to information bottlenecks. Information – our most important asset – gets locked in our desktops, stalled by file transfer software, and held hostage by inbox file limits.

Thankfully, companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM have developed technology that allows teams to work simultaneously in open, shared documents.

Platforms that enable ‘collaborative documents’ are widely accessible. It is now possible to work in a document/spreadsheet/presentation at the same time as your colleagues, no matter where you are in the world. Because the work saves automatically (or automagically!!!) every half second or so, you are working in a living breathing document. These documents are stored in the cloud, and are open and searchable to entire teams with just a tweak of the sharing settings.

Trello: Iterative Project Management

When working on projects, I’m sure you find a way to track what needs to get done throughout the week to accomplish your work. If you’re managing others, you probably want to know what your team members are doing so you can check in on the progress of the entire project. What if there was a simple way to track the tasks of an entire project online?

Thankfully we have Trello, an awesome project management tool that makes collaboration easy and, dare I say, enjoyable. Trello allows you to look at your project from 30,000 feet. You can create lists that represent chunks of time or project priorities - it’s totally customizable. Within each list, there are cards that represent action items. These cards have a few great features that make your life easier.

  • Members: you can add one or many individuals to a card - which helps establish accountabilities.
  • Labels: You can attach color labels to help organize the lists (e.g. create a red, yellow, green code for level of priority, or add a blue label for when the task is complete).
  • Checklist: Pull a Christopher Nolan and create a dream within a… I mean, a list within a list. You can create smaller tasks within a greater task.
  • Due Date: Assign a date for a given task and Trello will send you a reminder email as the date approaches.
  • Attachments: Ever start working on a task and then spend 15 minutes searching for the excel spreadsheet? In trello, you can attach relevant documents to the card to make working on the task easier.

As you experiment, you will get a better sense of how to organize your projects. We have found that the best way to use trello is to integrate the structure of the board into weekly sprints. This document will give you step by step instructions for how to run an Action Meeting using Trello.

Slack: Communication for the 21st Century Organization

In a perfect world, everyone at PepsiCo has a clear understanding of each person’s role and responsibilities within a project. In this world, we are able to collaborate seamlessly by working in shared documents, referencing the trello board, and sharing information and questions along the way. We are coming to realize that email is not the best medium to create this environment.

Slack is a communication software that more accurately reflects the way humans share information. Slack’s goal is to make you less busy. While it may take some time to get into your groove, once set in motion Slack will eliminate unnecessary emails and will become a searchable repository of your work.

The Basics:
  • Signing up: Once you have an invite into the slack channel, you need to set up your profile. We suggest making your username firstname.lastname to avoid trying to figure out which Sarah you’re talking to. Add a profile picture and include your phone number.
  • Direct Messages: You can message any member of your team through a direct message. This works a lot like AIM or Google message - best for sending a quick note or a question that concerns one individual.
  • Channels: Conversations in Slack are divided into channels. Each channel provides a space to discuss work within a specific project or domain. For example, we would want to create. You can also create channels that are more interest based, like a running club. The goal of a channel is to build a searchable space that contains organizational information.

  • Notifications and Tagging: You can manage the amount of notifications you receive on your desktop/mobile in your Preferences. When composing a message, you can tag an entire channel by typing @channel in the message. If you want to address one person, you can tag them by writing @firstname.lastname in the message.

Next Level Slacking:

Once you have a grasp of the fundamentals, it is easy to start testing out the more advanced features.

  • Uploading files: you can upload files like documents, photos and pdf by either clicking on the up arrow button on the left hand side of the message box or simply drag the file into the channel.

  • Creating posts/snippets: Posts and snippets are two kinds of files members can create/share within Slack. Posts are good for sharing longer pieces of writing with your team. Snippets are best for sharing code or unformatted text.
  • Pinning items: Did someone just share a really important message? Do you think you’ll need to see this message again? Pin the message - then you can easily find the message by clicking on the channel information button located to the left of the search bar.
  • Search: All messages and files shared on Slack’s public channels are instantly searchable so you can quickly return to discussion and important files. Additionally, you can add modifiers like in:[channel], from:[username] to filter the relevancy of the search.
  • Integrations: You can integrate some of the tools (like trello and google docs) into your everyday Slack use. Sharing all relevant google docs and pinning them to a channel is a great way to manage your project’s information.