Can group chat turn PLM into addiction?

Can group chat turn PLM into addiction?


Social was once was a hot topic in PLM industry eco-system. The use of social networks is increasing. The latest Columbia Journalist Review article says Facebook is eating the word. According to the following passage:

The majority of American adults are Facebook users, and the majority of those users regularly get some kind of news from Facebook, which according to Pew Research Center data, means that around 40 percent of US adults overall consider Facebook a source of news.

Once demanded proliferation of social features into product lifecycle management and engineering software got a cold feet. Initial excitement of vendors is meeting a significant level of ignorance from the side of users to get engaged with new “social” features. Why is it happening? I was looking to find an answer and see if vendors are missing some points in the way “Social collaborative features” were presented to users.

My attention was caught by Signal v. Noise article Is group chat making you sweat? The article presents an interesting study related to usage of group chat in organization. The list of 4 positives and 17 negatives speaks for itself. The following passage is my favorite:

Group chat is like being in an all-day meeting with random participants and no agenda.

What we’ve learned is that group chat used sparingly in a few very specific situations makes a lot of sense. What makes a lot less sense is chat as the primary, default method of communication inside an organization. A slice, yes. The whole pie, no. All sorts of eventual bad happens when a company begins thinking one-line-at-a-time most of the time.

We’ve also seen strong evidence that the method and manner in which you choose to communicate has a major influence on how people feel at work. Frazzled, exhausted, and anxious? Or calm, cool, and collected? These aren’t just states of mind, they are conditions caused by the kinds of tools we use, and the kinds of behaviors those tools encourage.

One of the companies in the domain of group chat is Slack. I’ve been trying to understand the tremendous success of Slack as well as advantages and disadvantages of using Slack in an organization. I’ve been comparing my own experience of Slack usage and multiple articles making analysis of Slack success and failure.

I found the following article the most interesting. It presents a bit unexpected view and analysis why Slack is growing. Navigate to the following link to read – The REAL reason Slack became a billion dollar company. The point of view presented by Satya Van Heummen is interesting. According to the article, one of the main reasons users are keeping communicate via Slack are three reasons- fear of social isolation, addiction and search for a single source of information. Here is the passage which explains that:

“Yeah the power of slack is that if you don’t follow it all then time you’ve lost the conversation. So just Slack 24/7 and you’ll be fine :-D”. And then it hit me. This is what drives Slacks’ success. Because if you don’t follow Slack all the time you do not and cannot take part in the conversation with your team members anymore.


What is my conclusion? The idea to become a single source of information for the team is the one that seems logical to me. If you are not following Slack channel, you’re missing the information and you’re out of sync. Scary? Does it apply to product development, engineering and manufacturing. I’m not sure can provide a positive answer. On one side, it is important to stay with the most relevant information. On the other side, product development and manufacturing information is messy and complicated. It is not obvious what information you want to follow.  You cannot sit on all Slack channels everyday. You have job to do. So, addiction is an interesting idea. And it might work for small team working on the same product and/or problem. But it might not be a way for large manufacturing organization.  But, there are some interesting elements of Slack addiction that can apply to engineering activities. Engineering and manufacturing software companies can certainly learn something. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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