Getting things done requires clear actionable priorities and efficient communications. That's why it's a huge pain if you have to complete tasks in one place but must email or message people about those tasks in another. TeamworkIQ's message streams for tasks solves that that problem.
TeamworkIQ Message Streams is a powerful real-time chat, messaging, notes, comments and file sharing feature that's available in your free trial and some of TeamworkIQ's paid subscription plans.
TeamworkIQ's Message Streams provide real-time task and process level messaging in the context of actionable workflows. Instead of switching back and forth between TeamworkIQ and email, Slack or Teams you can instantly exchange messages with other process participants to ask questions, get answers, add notes, leave comments, problem solve and brainstorm.
The experience is more like how you might add comments and resolve issues in an online Word document or Google Doc - except that the experience is real-time messaging, not adding "comments" for review later.
The result is ultra-efficient communications where actionable tasks and actionable messages co-exist side-by-side in context of each other.
Messages Can Serve Many Purposes
Messages can serve many purposes. Perhaps a note to yourself, a comment a for future consideration, a question that you need someone to answer, or an issue that needs attention.
How To Add "Comments" or "Notes" to a Message Stream for a Task
Messages that do not @mention a person and messages that are not flagged are treated as information comments or notes.
How To Add "Actionable Messages" to a Message Steam for a Task
Messages that @mention a person or are flagged are treated as "actionable messages" and are called to the attention of whoever was mentioned, the task assignee, and other process participants.
How To "Ask a Question" or "Raise and Issue" in a Message Stream for a Task
If you want to ask a question of one or more people, @mention them in your message. When you @mention someone that "actionable message" will get highlighted in red in their process and dashboard views within TeamworkIQ.
If you want to raise an issue, add a flag to a message. Everyone can then see an issue is present. The task assignee however will see this issue as an actionable message for them to read and resolve even if they were not explicitly mentioned.
Combine @mentions and flags to further escalate issues and direct them to the attention of specific people.
Structured and Unstructured Communications. Together At Last!
No matter what needs to get done, teams tend to communicate and collaborate in two fundamental ways: structured work and unstructured work.
Unstructured work takes place through conversations. Brainstorming and problem solving are examples of this kind of work. Unstructured work may take place in video conferences (e.g. Zoom), email, messaging apps (e.g. Slack or Teams), phone calls or meetings.
Structured work follows planned processes and pre-defined tasks. A standard operating procedure, procedural checklist, or a step-by-step workflow give structure to repeatable processes. A project plan gives structure to what needs to get created.
Completing tasks within a structured process sometimes requires unstructured work. The conversations may enable the participants to immediately complete the task, or they may help task assignees to develop an action plan – e.g. subprocesses or subtasks – that provide the required structure. Unstructured work may also enable participants to raise issues, alert the process owners to delays, request that tasks be reopened or enable task assignees to receive guidance from the process owners or more experienced team members.
TeamworkIQ combines unstructured work with structured workflow by providing an integrated chat feature. Each workflow has a chat topic, which is accessible only by the workflow's participants. Each task has a thread within that topic. Comments, notes, messages or files that need to be shared in relation to a workflow task can be shared as part of the task. When completing a task requires unstructured Q&A, clarifications, flagged issues, brainstorming or discussion, these conversations can happen in the context of the workflow task. If someone wants to get the attention of other participants or to flag an issue as an important issue that needs to be resolved, she can flag a message or "@mention" the desired user/s.
Including unstructured communication in the TeamworkIQ workflow provides important benefits, in comparison to separate email or texting. Teams don't need to manually set up email aliases to communicate between process participants, and users don't need to search for task-related conversations in their already-overwhelmed email inboxes. Process owners can easily see – in context – all of the unstructured communication associated with a task or workflow. And flagged issues and @mentioned users raise alerts in the TeamworkIQ banner and in workflow checklists.
TeamworkIQ's chat feature also has important security benefits. Because only participants are able to send and receive messages on a workflow's channel, there is no risk of forged / phishing messages. There is also no risk that a user will accidentally send an attachment to someone who is not authorized to participate in the workflow. There is no risk that a user who has been removed from a workflow will be able to access chat content (including shared files) the next day or week or month. Conversely, when a new participant is added to the workflow, she gains access to the workflow's existing chat content; this would not be the case if email were used instead. All chat messages are encrypted end to end (unlike email) and are stored in encrypted form on disk. And a workflow's owners can see all of the messages that were transmitted during the workflow, providing a useful audit trail that places the workflow's unstructured work in the context of the process structure.