Optimizing Slack Communication - Addressing the BlastAll #channel Fatigue

Distributed responsibility and Slack notification nuisance

Slack is a fast paced platform used for workplace communication. When a customer has a problem, they contact the company's support team. If the team cannot resolve the issue quickly, they forward it to developers using the built in #channel Slack feature.

The Problem

The #Channel fatigue occurs when developers get tired and constantly distracted by the annoying alerts so that there's no actual work being done but only responding to various messages.
Usually everyone on the development team receives the alert and they're confused about whether to answer or ignore it because most of the alerts are marked urgent and it is not clear who is responsible for it.

Support channels are chaotic at best, with the support team using #channel for big or small problems capable of being resolved by any developer.
Some issues are fairly urgent but since every member of the team gets alerted, the distraction intensifies. Developers shy away from support channels or leave them completely, making the whole communication framework even worse and completely inefficient.

Do Not Disturb - Slack’s inefficient way of addressing distractions

Slack’s “Do Not Disturb” feature allows users to pause Slack notifications.
Users can temporarily snooze the notifications when they need to focus and work uninterrupted. The time intervals can also be customized depending on their availability or can be set to recurring hours to prevent after-hours interruptions, allowing users to review messages received while in the Do Not Disturb mode.

Unfortunately, their coworkers can still see them when they're on and choose to message them when they're available. However, they still can push notifications through if it is urgent-only once per day. Slack messages are also sent to their mobile apps.

Shifter  - Slack app for rotation scheduling

Despite efforts by Slack Technologies to counter channel blasts, they have failed so far to establish a Slack rotation system that would allow for the distribution of team tasks among individual members based on their availability and ability to perform them. 

Shifter is a new Slack rotation application that acts as an on-call rotation scheduler for your teams. Thanks to Shifter a single person is always available from within the team during specific, set working hours to handle any technical issues from the support team. Shifter handles the routing and problem dispatch to a single person. Shifter is an easier and simpler way to manage the complexity associated with appointing team members  with responsibilities and makes managing the addition and removal of responders from the rotations simple. 

Shifter offers a simpler way to manage the complexities of on-call rotations and makes it easy to add or remove devs from the rotations without having to adjust the lineups.

After selecting developers and the rotation, Shifter assigns and updates your user groups. The Slack Rotation has a lineup of upcoming rotation schedules directly on Slack for devs to plan ahead and set aside time to focus on other matters. The Slack mention rotation ensures that instead of engaging the entire team, only one person, the one on-call,  replies to the Slack mention call and avoids Slack distractions. 

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