Blog » How SlackOps (ChatOps) can help you work more focused and be more productive (and more remote...)

How SlackOps (ChatOps) can help you work more focused and be more productive (and more remote...)

This article is not sponsored by any of the brands/companies named into this blog

Do you know the feeling, when you are starting with your work and opening up a lot of apps/websites like;

  • Your e-mail
  • Your Slack/Business chat application
  • Your Jira/Trello/project management board with lots of notifications
  • Your GitLab/GitHub/Whatever that runs all CI and your open Pull Requests
  • Monitoring for your apps with notifications and stuff
  • Some news apps
  • ... Stack up everything you are using

During the day, in all that apps things happen. And all apps will ping you, and you will switch tabs/screens the whole day to keep up to date with everything that is important...

For myself, I get really tired of switching all that context and different user interfaces. And I think there is a solution for this...SlackOps! Or ChatOps if you don't use Slack, whatever you will name it...

I will call it ChatOps from here, and it means that you try to get all the important information to your chat application.
Why your chat application? Because most of the time you are already working on that application to collaborate with your colleagues. So you can stay more in the same application to search for different things.
Oh, and if you start posting important things openly in your chat channels, you can simply interact with colleagues! All from one place!

What are my benefits of integrating my most used tools into my chat apps?

For myself, I like the fact that I have 1 point to look into to get all the important notifications.

Struggling with 101 browser web browser tabs, with lots of different UI's is lots of work. Yeah, you know how all the UI's work (if your not facing some "new updated UI"), but you're constantly switching between them.
When I have all my important notifications and ongoing stuff in 1 place, I feel more focused.

Some other benefits of starting working more with ChatOps are;

  • With some integrations, you can directly interact with the application. So you don't need to leave your chat application!
  • With most chat apps, you can directly set reminders for important posts
  • Avoid "you have to be in the office to get involved" situations. Co-workers who are working remote are seeing what is going on in the chat application
  • If some urgent support ticket/alerting notification is coming in, and you need some people to share information fast, you can just @mention them and they will get notified directly
    • If you have conversations in the channel openly, people can get involved into the urgent situation more easy
  • By splitting up notifications in different channels, you can get the people in the channels that need the notifications
    • And people can just get in and out channels when needed

Start by routing your notifications to Slack/Mattermost/RocketChat/Teams/Discord/... Channels

Start by making a list of all the most important apps you use every day. Try to sort them on most used, to less used.

Now you can start by integrating your most-used day-to-day app into your chat application. With every most-used app you integrate, your chat app will have more of the important information. And you will need to leave your chat app less frequently.

I would suggest to think about who needs the notifications and separate the integrations in different channels, depending on whats suiting your personal needs.
This way, people can decide if they want to join the channel and get updates from the integration or not. And when you need someone from outside the channel, in most chat apps you can just invite them into the channel.
And then when the invited person does not need to follow channel anymore, the person can just leave the channel again (or just mute it. Whatever you like).

Here I will give you some information about the integrations I like the most, and links to integrate some most used tools into Slack.
If you use some other chat app, there is a big chance that you can find some way to integrate your tool into your favorite chat app somewhere online. But because I mainly use Slack, I decided to post about Slack integrations below.

Jira/project management

With the Slack Jira integration, you can integrate Jira (project management AND service desk) into your Slack. I really like the fact that you can use transitions/post comments etc. directly from the Slack interface!

For me, I think this is one of the most awesome integration to get started with (if you use Jira on daily basis).

GitLab/GitHub/BitBucket (CI/CD)

Most of the times, the place where code lives, is where things happen... Things people like your co-workers want to know!
Pull requests are getting ready to get review, deployments happen (or fail), tests are failing... So why not get notified into Slack by using the GitLab for Slack app!

This way you will have less interaction with your git-software, and more focus on the important work!


I hope this one is not one you will use day-to-day. But when something get's down, you are really happy with this integration.

When someone gets down you want to get notified. And integrating it into your chat application is a awesome way to get notified!

For example, Uptimerobot provides a Slack integration.
Using OhDear as monitoring? No problem, they got you covered!
Another monitoring tool? I assume that you can also integrate that into your chat client!

The best benefit when some monitor will going to "ping" you into a chat channel, is that you can easily work together to tackle the ongoing downtime.

Faster issue resolve times... Do I need to say more to convince you to using ChatOps (more)?

HubSpot/Website chats

If you use HubSpot, you can use their Slack integration to integrate lots of HubSpot

For myself, I really like the fact that when you use the "website chat" feature, the chat will be transferred to a Slack channel/thread.
That way, you can chat with (potential) customer directly in your daily-use chat application! This can result in faster response times.

I assume that if you have some website chat application from some other provider then HubSpot, that there are also integrations available for them!

Your news applications

Some new release of software X is released today! Some critical security issue is fixed in the just-released! Ticket sale for conference Y is starting tomorrow!
Or... your favorite boy-band announced some tour! Oh uhm, whatever news you want to keep up-to-date with, you can just get messages into your chat application!

For Slack, you can integrate RSS feeds into Slack. Yeah, RSS feeds, welcome back to the 00's!
But hey, RSS feeds are just oine of the simplest, machine-readable way to process news articles. So why not using them to integrate latest relevant news into your chat application?

Custom Slack integrations

Can't find a integration for your favorite software? No problem! You can also create your own custom integrations.

For simple things, you can just use Slack WebHooks to connect things you want to your Slack.
If WebHooks are not enough, you can decide to create your own full-blown Slack application.

In fact, you can integrate everything you want into Slack by using custom integrations. So be creative!
If you created some integration for yourself, and decided to publish it as open source, feel free to post them in the comments!
(Also if you don't open-sourced your integration, feel free to just comment about it. Maybe you will inspire others with your awesome idea!)

And the last one; Getting grip on your e-mail, and also integrate email (notifications) in Slack!

For myself I don't really like email as a communication platform. For some situations yes, but for collaborating with people and having overview, email is a "nope" for me...
Also, I really don't like automated email notifications. If you have lots of software mailing you day-to-day updates, you can get end up getting 50-100+ emails per day.... And most of the people (including me) don't read them.

Start by searching for the most-common, auto-sent emails, and use automation's from your email provider to move them in separate them in different folders (for example; GitLab/Jira/Monitoring/News letters/...). You can also make sure the mails are marked as read by default, so you never have to look at them again.

After moving lots of automated emails (that are mostly also are notifications in your chat app after reading this blog), directly to some folder and mark them as read, I hope your inbox will get lots cleaner!
The goal should be, to get only "human-written" emails into the inbox. Nothing more.

And the last step, is sending your emails to Slack. If you get notifications of your emails into your chat client, you have no reason anymore to start your day by scrolling trough lots of emails!

Using Emoji's to make ChatOps work even better for your team

For some reason I can't use emoji's into this blog (need to look into that later... For now just going to explain some things about emoji's!). 

But when you integrate ChatOps more and more into your day-to-day workflow, you can effectively use emoji's to power up your ChatOps game! (see screenshot below).

At the screenshot above, you can see that I use the "eyes" emoji to make sure that I am looking into the issue of the message.
You can use lots of emoji's in your chat app to have efficient communication, with less typed messages.

Your example, you can use the green check-mark emoji to show people: "This task is done!". Or if someones asks: "Who is joining the meeting about this project?", you can just reply with some green checkbox/red cross'es. Simple and effective!

Be creative with the emoji reactions on messages/threads! And use them to level up your ChatOps game!

And now, you only need to start your chat application on the begin of the working day

And when you start your chat application, you can just look at the unread messages and keep yourself informed about what is going on.

Did you read something and do you need to get into that later? No problem, just create some reminder within the chat app directly!

Need to connect with some colleague, and also want to share things with the whole team? No problem! Everything is into your chat app!

I hope after reading this blog, and implementing the most-used tools into your chat application, you can work more productive and have better co-operation while doing your work!

What do you think?

What do you think about integrating as much as possible into your chat application? Having your own experience about this? Tips? Recommendations?

Please feel free to post some comment below!

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