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Workstreams Visual Overview support

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Workstreams Kanban board

Just like Slack, the Kanban board has risen to prominence recently, largely because it is just a great way to get stuff done. It originated from the simple concept of pasting post-its on a wall and moving them from left to right as tasks progressed to completion. From this starting point, online Kanban boards were developed including the Workstreams Kanban board, which is the centerpiece of the web app. With simple drag and drop operations, it is much simpler to use and you don’t even get ink all over your hands!

Even more importantly, the Kanban board provides the perfect compliment to the Slack app. Whereas the Slack app allows you to work at the task-level, the Kanban board lets you see the overall view of all your projects (i.e., Slack channels), all your tasks, and how each is progressing from left to right across your board, that is, towards completion which is what it is all about.

Customizable process steps

One of the most powerful features of the Kanban board is the ability to customize the work steps. Of course, everyone needs the first step: planned, as well as the last step: completed. Everything in between is up for discussion. Every team tends to have their own unique process. With this in mind, the in work steps between planned and completed are completely customizable.

For example, let’s revisit our Recruit Programmers task in our #recruit-development-team channel. What does it take to get this task to completion? In a larger company, there are typically several steps, such as:

  1. Prepare Qualifications List.
  2. Notify Recruiters in HR.
  3. HR Posts Recruitment Ads.
  4. Review CVs.
  5. Choose Interview Candidates.

Customizing your Kanban board to reflect these steps takes seconds. What? Yes, that is not a typo. You can set up an entire process in a project in mere seconds. Here’s the steps…

Customizing “In progress” steps

  1. Go to the channel in your Kanban board. For example: #recruit-development-team.
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the swimlane. The Configure Channel dialog displays.
  3. Replace In Work with Prepare Qualifications List.
  4. Click the + button directly below Prepare Qualifications List. A new step is added.
  5. Replace Name of your work step with Notify Recruiters in HR.
  6. Click the + button again and add: HR Posts Recruitment Ads.
  7. Click the + button again and add: Review CVs.
  8. Click the + button again and add: Choose Interview Candidates.
  9. Press the Save button. Like magic, you now have a 5-step process for recruiting the personnel you need for your project.

TIP –Notice that the HR department needs to get involved here. Just add the necessary people from HR to your #recruit-development-team and then you can assign them to tasks 2 and 3.

Workflow templates

To get you started, has two groups of custom workflow templates that you can choose from. We offer a set of generic, simple workflows based on widely used scenarios, and a set of use-case based, industry-proven workflows. Here is how you can use them:

  1. Go to the channel in your Kanban board. #recruit-development-team.
  2. Click the gear icon in the upper-left corner of the channel lane. The Configure Channel dialog displays.
  3. Note the Use a workflow template dropdown menu
  4. Select your desired workflow template.
  5. The graphic below previews how your taskboard will look like.
  6. Re-arrange and edit the columns if necessary.
  7. Click Save to use the workflow template

TIP –In order to use a workflow template the in progress column of your taskboard must be empty, with no tasks in it.

Smart filters and color labels

Workstreams is so awesome you’ll end up using it in all your Slack accounts and in all your projects. So your Kanban board will grow quickly. To help you narrow down what you are looking at we provide smart filters. To help you visually identify related tasks, we provide color labels. We covered color labels earlier so let’s look at smart filters now.

You access Smart filters in the upper-right corner of the Kanban board: in the search entry field that says Type to Enter. This is a free-form entry field so you can just click on any text that you would like to filter on. Or you can use attributes and modifiers. Click in the search entry field and you see all of the attributes and modifiers you can use to filter:

  • assignee

  • description

  • due Date

  • humanTaskId

  • label

  • status

  • step

  • Title

Yikes! That’s a lot to remember. Don’t sweat it. Smart filtering is very smart. It autocompletes as you type. Let’s look at a few examples.

Using smart filters to display a label

  1. Place the mouse cursor in the Type to Enter entry field in the upper-right corner of the window.

  2. Type the letter l (L as in labels). The labels attribute displays.

  3. Select labels:

  4. Type the letter r (R as in Recruiting). Auto-complete fills in Recruiting and all tasks labelled with Recruiting display.

Using smart filters in the web app to find an assignee

  1. Place the mouse cursor in the Type to Enter entry field in the upper-right corner of the window.

  2. Type ass . Really! The word: assignee displays in the drop-down.

  3. Select assignee. In the entry field, assignee: displays.

  4. Type Joe Schmoe after assignee:. All tasks assigned to Joe Schmoe display.

Using smart filters in the web app to find any text

  1. Place the mouse cursor in the Type to Enter entry field in the upper-right corner of the window.

  2. Type: CV. All tasks with the text CV in them display. What? Only two steps. Well it is that easy.

Configure the format of your task messages

One of our core USPs is that we are proudly a “Slack 1st” app. The full functionality of our web interface can be accessed and used entirely in Slack. No cutting corners, no suboptimal experience. Each task has its own task message in Slack. These tasks messages have three formats:

— Full view —  The tried and tested version, loved by our users. It caters to the “in charge” crowd, to the users that need full control of every aspect of the task. All the information about the task is unfurled, in plain sight. The title and description are in full view, along with all the controls one might need.

— Basic view —  Get it down to basics. Block Kit enabled us to craft a message type that caters to those users who are in between. Those are the users who like some useful information and controls right at their fingertips without dealing with the clutter in the channel. For them, we’ve developed the basic view. It gives you the essential information about the task, everything you’d need to know, along with useful controls for setting due dates, assignees, and labels.

— Compact view — Things start to get compact! This format of our task message gives you and your teams the essentials only – nothing more, nothing less. By being only two lines long, it blends seamlessly into your channel’s communications. It provides the name of the task, it’s status and info about any labels, due dates or attachments. That’s it! Essential info without causing any distraction or clutter to your communication and work. Magical!

Of course, you and your team have total control over which format is used in your channels. Here is how to make changes:

Choose a task message format in the Workstreams Slack app

  1. Go to the channel you want to configure.

  2. Type @Workstreams setup or @workstreams help, and click Enter
  3. Select Channel Settings and a dialog will appear
  4. Choose your preferred format from the dropdown menu. Easy!

Choose a task message format in the Workstreams web app

  1. Go to the taskboard you want to configure.

  2. Click on the gear icon next to the channel name

  3. Select Configure channel setup and a dialog will appear

  4. Click on Slack messages

  5. Choose your preferred format from the provided options. That's it!