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Has anyone gotten early access to Stride yet? Is it worth the wait or should one look elsewhere?

Is it worth the wait or should we go use Slack or other competing products?

10 answers

5 votes

I was in the beta for a while (before the announcement), and the AUG leads and community champions are using it now.

Organisations are being brought on-board in batches, but I've no specific times to share.

Thanks. What did you think and do you recommend we wait?

I'm not impressed or unimpressed either way at the moment.

I've raised some questions about APIs that I think it needs, and annoyed that the / commands every other chat in the world implements is not there.  There's no multi-account support in the client as far as I can tell.  On the up side, it works just as well as Hipchat, seems perfectly stable, and the tasks are mildly helpful in a couple of places.

I'm not a heavy user of it yet (but then I wouldn't class myself as a heavy user of Hipchat either)

I think the wait depends on your needs - what specifically are you looking for as a killer feature?  Also, think of Stride as being a smoother version of Hipchat (with some stuff around tasks) when you're evaluating.

Thanks! We currently use Google's G-Suite and its Hangouts, Mail, Drive, etc. for collaboration and Trello for task management. I would like to get away from email as much as possible, rely on channel communications and create on the spur voice and video calls within communications channels. I also understand that there is a decisions and tasks feature that you can use from within the chat history. I believe that will help us. Really looking to do this on the cheap (free if possible but willing to pay). $6.67 for Slack per month vs. $3 for Strides is a consideration. Never used Hipchat so don't have the context for that.

Oji Udezue Atlassian Team Dec 02, 2017

Hi Tahir,

Just a reminder that this is still the early access period, things are firming up fast. To address some of the feedback here:

  • APIs are firming up and in some places way ahead of Slack. We're working hand in hand with many developers who have exciting apps to release soonish. And people can start building their own internal tools once the API is GA.
  • Multi-site with one account just shipped and multi-site with multiple accounts is coming.
  • Actions and Decisions are a game changer. Many early teams are really finding them useful. We're going to be improving it very quickly too.
  • We just a released a big bunch of features - search improvements, focus mode, lots of fixes; conversation management coming soon.
  • We now have build in video meetings in a new way - deeply built in. Rapidly improving in other ways very soon too. Expect to stop using some of your extra video/meeting tools and services when used properly.
  • Speed of delivery of features is not an issue. Wish I could share the roadmap with you, but expect quick updates on a rolling basis (that is the entire point of releasing Stride, the base of the next 5 years of innovation in this space).
  • As you say, pricing is compelling

Early access is what it is, there is the expectation of a moving target at the moment (hopefully). Hope you try to stick around for it if you can. But do what's right for your team.

@Oji Udezue - I don't know what the criteria for early access are. But is it possible to get it now so we don't spend too much time and effort on transition? Would appreciate your help.

We just got into the beta last week and so far we have mixed feelings. In my opinion, it has the foundation to be the best in the business, but because of a few problems it is unusable to us right now. Keep in mind that we are a smaller business and not having admin capabilities is not a big deal for us (besides, I'm sure that's coming eventually).

Here's what we thought:

The good:

  • The UI is awesome. It's so much cleaner than Slack. Seeing as how our employees are new to business chat, it makes adoption really easy and we don't miss some of the power features from other chat programs. Everything is so clean, laid out perfectly, and a pleasure to work with
  • Starting, stopping, and joining video meetings are all very well done. It's like every channel has a persistent meeting room that anyone can just drop in on at any time. Awesome when you have quick daily stand-up meetings over video chat.
  • The search feature is impressive
  • Works great on all platforms already. We have people on iOS, Android, PC, and web, and it all works well together
  • I love having a quick link to look through all files shared in a channel. I also like the decisions and highlights, just as sort of a bookmark in a conversation that you can go back to, though I don't know if we'd use decisions and actions the way they intended. It would be nice if they changed Files to Files and Links like they have in the search options so you can look through links you've shared too.

The bad:

  • As of now, there are serious sync issues at times. Some people don't see any files in the files list after they've been shared, profile images take forever to get in the program after assigning them, sometimes people don't get messages until a while later (though usually it's impressively fast), the badges with new message counts are not synced at all between devices, etc. Honestly, usually it works well, but sync issues are not something you can have in a program that you rely on.
  • Notifications for meetings could be a little better. There are notifications, but they're quick and easy to miss, and there is no message in the chat that says "So and so started a meeting. Click to join." If we start a meeting with a group, it's almost guaranteed someone is going to miss the quick notification and then there's almost no indication that a meeting is ongoing or that they were invited. There's a camera icon next to people's names sometimes, but there's no way to tell who's in that meeting and the camera icon doesn't seem to appear next to rooms. Basically, it needs to be a lot harder to miss a meeting notification and a lot easier to catch up with a meeting notification if you missed it.
  • There is no group chat under direct messages and no way to invite someone to a discussion you're having with another co-worker. It's either 1 on 1 discussion or you have to create a new room without any chat history. This is especially annoying because of the next point...
  • You can't delete a room, which is especially troublesome with no admin features. Someone added a room by accident and now we can't get rid of it (we can remove it from our list, but it will always be in the master list of rooms)

The ugly:

  • I'm surprised and frustrated that other people have mentioned that the video and sound quality is good for them, as it's become the deal breaker for us. It's horrendous. I'm not sure what we're doing wrong, but if we get more than 2 people in a video meeting, everything goes to pot (1 on 1 seems to work great). With 3 or more participants, people's video desync with their voice, people lose video and it says they are having connection problems, the sound starts to constantly pop and cut out so you can't even understand each other, etc. It literally is unusable, and we have great internet.

As a company, despite the things listed above, we actually loved Stride and at one point decided to use it over Slack, but we had no choice to drop it after the video quality issues. Daily video meetings with multiple remote people is one of the primary things we use this type of software for. Honestly, I think most of the things I listed above will eventually be fixed, and we would even use Stride now despite the issues in the bad section, but without a workable version of video conferencing, it's unusable for us. We'll happily come back if they fix that fast enough though.

Edit: The message notifications aren't near as bad as I thought, so I took that out. They do have a flashing toolbar with the number of missed messages and they do change the icon in the system tray. I think I was using the web version before or something because I didn't notice it before. I think there could still be a more persistent notification for meetings and the ability to see who is in the meeting, but it could be there is and I just haven't noticed it yet now that I'm using the desktop version.

@dallinsmithThank you for an amazingly detailed answer. Appreciate the insights. 

Thanks! I made one change to my answer after using the Desktop version today. Notifications are actually really good on the Desktop version (other than perhaps some improvements on meeting notifications). I think I was using the web version before when I made my observations about notifications.

To be honest, I really love Stride and so does my team and we will keep using it if we can get the meeting quality up. There are still features that aren't in there yet, but I'm sure they'll be added later, and to me, what they do have in there right now I like better than Slack or anything else, but then I'm a sucker for good UI design and Slack's is pretty messy in comparison. 

I'll let you know if I figure out the meeting quality thing because everyone else seems to indicate there are no problems with their meetings.

Many thanks @dallinsmith. Will wait to hear about meeting quality.

@dallinsmith this detailed feedback is awesome -- I'm wondering how you feel about Stride with the recent updates. Personally, search and focus mode have both been game-changers for me -- but I might be biased :)  

Curious about your take!

@Monique van den Berg

We are still currently trying Stride on a daily basis, largely because we have a few employees that drag their heels each time we try yet another product and we have faith that Stride will continue to improve.

I noticed they recently added a message in your conversations that say when your video meetings start and finish, which was a huge improvement! It's good to see things being worked on and regularly updated.

Here's are the most important features I feel are still missing:

  1. Most important - I still don't receive notifications most of the time on my Android phone. Others in my group don't seem to have the same issues, so I'm not sure what's going on, but missed notifications are a huge deal for me.
  2. Second most important - Improved video quality - we're still using Stride daily for video meetings. Unless there are only two people in the meeting, we don't have a single time we meet together that someone doesn't lose their video feed. I'm wondering if this is due to our remoteness to the Stride servers? (our business is located in Boise, ID, which is not exactly Silicon Valley)
  3. Stride notifications are wonderful if you have the program open and in your task bar, but if Stride is minimized to the System Tray (and not open in the task bar), if you get a notification it disappears after a few seconds and is gone with no indication anything happened. I would like to see it add the program to the task bar if it isn't already there and have it blink with an icon showing me how many missed messages I have (it already does this if it is minimized to the task bar instead of the system tray). At the very least, I'd like to see a badge in the system tray that says how many missed notifications I have.

    If you have it minimized to the system tray (my personal preference), it's very easy to get up for a cup of water, miss a notification, and have no idea someone messaged you at all when you come back. Again, missed notifications is a huge issue. To get by this, I have to try and remember to always have Stride open in the task bar, but sometimes I forget - and inevitably miss an important message.

    I think this is a limitation with Stride being what I assume is a web app in some sort of Windows Shell (i.e. Chromium) because Slack has the same exact limitation. To get by this, Slack has an option in system settings to make it always minimize to the Taskbar, even if you X out (meaning you can no longer minimize to the system tray at all), and to load when windows loads like this, so you never miss a notification. This is a decent solution, but Stride could go a step farther and just make it pop up on the taskbar if someone messages you when it's minimized to the System Tray. This would be a huge improvement to the reliability of notifications.

Here are a few other small issues I'd like to see resolved but that aren't as huge for us

  1. Somewhere I can see who is already in a meeting before joining
  2. The ability to delete a room after creating it (we created a bogus room by accident and can only archive it, but it still shows up in searches and can be reopened).
  3. The ability to have an impromptu group chat. Right now we just move to a company room to chat if we need to, but if I'm talking to an employee and we decide we need to bring one other person in on the conversation, it's a bit of a pain to switch to a room, especially since we might not want others dropping in on the conversation and Stride already has issues with creating non-permanent rooms. We don't want to create special rooms for every conversation we have with just 3 employees. Basically, it would be nice if it was easier to transition from an existing conversation to a new conversation with extra people.
  4. Admin options (not as important for us, but it seems to be a high priority for others and I can see that it would be absolutely necessary before Stride launches to the world)
  5. I love that Stride recently added a record in chat on who attended a meeting when it closes, but if there were more than 3 people in the meeting, it just says +4 people or +2 people. It would be nice if this was a link you could click to see the entire list of people that were in the meeting. It can be really helpful to have a pseudo record of who was present at a meeting on a specific day. 
  6. I LOVE the way meetings are now, where there's a notification and anyone in the room can just come and go as needed, but it would be nice to also have the option to invite someone with a more direct invitation, similar to how Skype and Slack let you ring someone. Perhaps there could be a "ring", "poke", or "call" button inside the meeting? I'm not sure what the best way to accomplish this is, but when you're trying to get a meeting together with multiple people, there's always someone that needs that extra nudge past a normal notification to join the meeting.

    I would not want to see the current ability to join a meeting in progress (in a room you're a member of) without a special invitation go away though - that's an awesome feature for daily stand up meetings and a large part of the reason we chose Stride over other options.

Feature-wise, Stride is already awesome enough for us to choose over other solutions. I wish they'd spend a little more time on some of these remaining usability issues and we'd be all set.

Sure @Monique van den Berg! I had a computer malfunction the first time I posted this, so apologies if this reply shows up twice.

We are still currently trying Stride on a daily basis, largely because we have a few employees that drag their heels each time we try yet another product and we have faith that Stride will continue to improve.

I noticed they recently added a message in your conversations that say when your video meetings start and finish, which was a huge improvement! It's good to see things being worked on and regularly updated.

Here's are the most important features I feel are still missing:

  1. Most important - I still don't receive notifications most of the time on my Android phone. Others in my group don't seem to have the same issues, so I'm not sure what's going on, but missed notifications are a huge deal for me.
  2. Second most important - Improved video quality - we're still using Stride daily for video meetings. Unless there are only two people in the meeting, we don't have a single time we meet together that someone doesn't lose their video feed. I'm wondering if this is due to our remoteness to the Stride servers? (our business is located in Boise, ID, which is not exactly Silicon Valley)
  3. Stride notifications are wonderful if you have the program open and in your task bar, but if Stride is minimized to the System Tray (and not open in the task bar), if you get a notification it disappears after a few seconds and is gone with no indication anything happened. I would like to see it add the program to the task bar if it isn't already there and have it blink with an icon showing me how many missed messages I have (it already does this if it is minimized to the task bar instead of the system tray). At the very least, I'd like to see a badge in the system tray that says how many missed notifications I have.

    If you have it minimized to the system tray (my personal preference), it's very easy to get up for a cup of water, miss a notification, and have no idea someone messaged you at all when you come back. Again, missed notifications is a huge issue. To get by this, I have to try and remember to always have Stride open in the task bar, but sometimes I forget - and inevitably miss an important message.

    I think this is a limitation with Stride being what I assume is a web app in some sort of Windows Shell (i.e. Chromium) because Slack has the same exact limitation. To get by this, Slack has an option in system settings to make it always minimize to the Taskbar, even if you X out (meaning you can no longer minimize to the system tray at all), and to load when windows loads like this, so you never miss a notification. This is a decent solution, but Stride could go a step farther and just make it pop up on the taskbar if someone messages you when it's minimized to the System Tray. This would be a huge improvement to the reliability of notifications.

Here are a few other small issues I'd like to see resolved but that aren't as huge for us

  1. Somewhere I can see who is already in a meeting before joining
  2. The ability to delete a room after creating it (we created a bogus room by accident and can only archive it, but it still shows up in searches and can be reopened).
  3. The ability to have an impromptu group chat. Right now we just move to a company room to chat if we need to, but if I'm talking to an employee and we decide we need to bring one other person in on the conversation, it's a bit of a pain to switch to a room, especially since we might not want others dropping in on the conversation and Stride already has issues with creating non-permanent rooms. We don't want to create special rooms for every conversation we have with just 3 employees. Basically, it would be nice if it was easier to transition from an existing conversation to a new conversation with extra people.
  4. Admin options (not as important for us, but it seems to be a high priority for others and I can see that it would be absolutely necessary before Stride launches to the world)
  5. I love that Stride recently added a record in chat on who attended a meeting when it closes, but if there were more than 3 people in the meeting, it just says +4 people or +2 people. It would be nice if this was a link you could click to see the entire list of people that were in the meeting. It can be really helpful to have a pseudo record of who was present at a meeting on a specific day. 
  6. I LOVE the way meetings are now, where there's a notification and anyone in the room can just come and go as needed, but it would be nice to also have the option to invite someone with a more direct invitation, similar to how Skype and Slack let you ring someone. Perhaps there could be a "ring", "poke", or "call" button inside the meeting? I'm not sure what the best way to accomplish this is, but when you're trying to get a meeting together with multiple people, there's always someone that needs that extra nudge past a normal notification to join the meeting.

    I would not want to see the current ability to join a meeting in progress (in a room you're a member of) without a special invitation go away though - that's an awesome feature for daily stand up meetings and a large part of the reason we chose Stride over other options.

Feature-wise, Stride is already awesome enough for us to choose over other solutions. I wish they'd spend a little more time on some of these remaining usability issues and we'd be all set.

Thanks again for taking the time to articulate all this, Dallin. I'm making sure the Stride team sees this!

I have an Android and have never had any issues with the notifications and haven't heard that from anyone else. (I am, however, surrounded by iPhones.) Have you tried deleting and reinstalling the app? 

I got invited about a month back and I have to say that it’s quite disappointing. Admin features are almost non-existent: no user management, role management, channel management, guest access, audit control, analytics, bots. It’s basically a messenger with a simple task assignment feature. I don’t get how anyone can just create a channel as they please, or complete any task whether assigned to them or not, or kick all users from a call even though they didn’t initiate it i.e. guests in that call..

Stride’s UI is absolutely beautiful and the pricing is really attractive so I honestly wanted Stride to be something close to Slack - but unfortunately it’s several years behind.

And looking at how slowly Hipchat was developed (edit feature being developed for 5+ years and still not implemented, really?), I expect something similar with Stride.

Thanks Sakib. I guess we are going with Slack.

Robust message editing is present in Stride FWIW. I'm not on the Stride or Hipchat teams but I suspect adding it in the same way to Hipchat was a significant challenge, thus the presence of the silent edit command (s/original/fixed) in Hipchat versus the Edit action in the … menu for Stride.

Yeah, 

Stride is ambitious to cover Slack features, but not yet not yet...

And - we are waiting for integration with JIRA, like Hipchat.

We just got our early access trial.  It's disappointing so far, and I actually think it's encouraged us to give MS Teams a deeper look. (We use O365 already)

I hear integration with JIRA server is not yet figured out, the admin portal is very weak, and while Stride has a nicer UI, we have more functionality in HipChat.  

Given that we would be paying more/user/month for us to move to Stride (we're a non-profit org), I'm not seeing anything compelling yet.  

Thanks Jennifer. Appreciate the insight. We use Google Apps and it is very robust and will now integrate it with Slack.

We just got access and as we are also Office 365 users and using Skype for business (uggghhh) I would say that Atlassian have got the meeting part nailed.  We always had lots of Skype audio issues but Stride just works right out the box, great audio and video quality and easy screen sharing.  We also have Microsoft teams which is not that impressive so I think we will be using Stride for our meetings and wont face all the Skype audio problems which are legend. I had also read that MS were integrating Skype into MS Teams.


What is missing is the Admin controls and integration with JIRA and Confluence but I am hoping that will come soon.  So bottom line Stride has all the makings of a great product.

Hey @Art I'd love to hear more about your comparison to Microsoft Teams. As an Office 365 user, I would have thought the integration with your documents would make Teams pretty powerful. Curious to what your experience has been...

I'm pretty eagerly waiting for Google to release their Hangouts Chat to see how well it integrates with Google Docs... truth be told though, Jira/Confluence are more pivotal to our company's day-to-day. If Atlassian knocks it out of the park with Stride, I'd seriously consider moving our team over. Realistically, for our team, it's pretty much a comparison between Stride and Slack + the NextUp Jira bot. Stride will need to be clearly better than Slack (just a little won't do it).

Oji Udezue Atlassian Team Dec 05, 2017

Jira and Confluence apps for Stride will start rolling out in about a week or so :) 

@Carl DiClementi can you share a little more about the NextUp Jira bot and why it’s critical to your team.

@Oji Udezue the NextUp Jira bot does several things much better than the Atlassian's Jira Slack app:

  1. less intrusive messages - it is incredibly convenient to have a bot that is always listening for a Jira ticket key and reply with a link, some details, and actions (see point 3). Most of the time, having this be a very short message is important as to not push back all the messages above it and monopolize the screen. Nextup provides a short version in its auto-response and only provides the details when mentioned directly with a "@nextup, tell me more about XX-NNN"
  2. setup - NextUp has a global configuration of all projects and tickets, therefore I only need to set it up once then add it to channels. It is a huge time burden to set it up for every project. This seems like it would be pretty easy to do in JIRA, a global config, then more detailed config on projects
  3. fast actions (aka interactive message menus) - NextUp has these on tickets it responds with https://api.slack.com/docs/message-menus
  4. search - can do a JQL search directly from Slack, and from the response can...
  5. scheduled message - based on any response from NextUp that contains multiple messages, including a search as described above, you can configure the  bot to send scheduled responses with this content

My worry is that with Stride being a huge focus for the Atlassian team, these features will only be rolled in there and not the Slack bot :-( 

We used it in our AUG community meetup in Nairobi to stream the Atlassian Summit US 2017 given the fluctuating internet speeds it was a smooth experience. Of course, stride features are a game changer compared to any other communication tool other product out there.

It is worth the wait.

So, we have been using Stride for a couple of weeks and it has infused a new level of productivity and collaboration in our team. Even though it is in beta, it is pretty robust. We have had some minor issues with many people getting on a video call but in general the video calling is excellent. I also like integrations like Trello. Very useful! We look forward to seeing many enhancements as they come. Our conclusion is that it is worth the wait!

I like the UI better than Slack and other competitors, but the lack of administrative controls is a deal-breaker. I created a test team and now cannot alter it or create another without creating a new account with a new email address.  Seems crazy, and having these sorts of troubles at the launch of a product is a bad sign.

We are primarily in the same situation right now.  Looking at the future of Teams vs Slack vs Stride vs Hangouts.  Presently we are leaning toward Stride because of features talked about, but we have not seem them yet.  Here are the points I have documented from our teams:

Pros

  • Channel/Room/Groups work well
  • Cheap ($3/usr/mo) but you need to also include Identity Manager cost if you want AD control.  Not a big deal if you have Jira/Confluence/Bitbucket/etc also.
  • Formatting of code snippets is very good compared to others (Teams mainly)
    • Works on just about anything we threw at it but we did notice things like  ( \xdf does not work -- We opened a ticket #HCP-33425 )
  • There is supposed to be AD integration in the full release with Identity Manager (Extra $3/usr/mo)
  • On the fly conference calls already exist in Beta with no carrier charges that I have seen (Phone number provided with link for chat by country!)
    • Not sure about desktop sharing quality yet
  • Native apps on all platforms 
    • Seems to work well at least.

 

Cons

  • No ability to create sub-rooms (We have tried to find a way to make this work, but Slack does have something usable in that fashion)
  • No guest chat access 
  • No Web Recording(We cannot get rid of Webex/gotomeeting/etc because of that)
  • We are not able to test Jira integration yet, nor addons, bots, etc
  • No way to add a user into a direct chat... so keeping history automatically is hard when groups grow out of that.
  • Admin controls ... ditto from above.  Anyone being able to kick anyone, accidents happen.

Teams was a nice effort, and the cheapest since we already use most of the Microsoft Suite.  The limitations on group conferencing, code snippets in chat, OS support, and so much confusion in One Drive vs Sharepoint vs Files in Teams vs....  was killing me.

Our current combination of every tool known to man, needs to be slimmed down and adjusted based on future product roadmaps.  If Stride provides all features talked about and hopefully a few extras, we could drop corporate Webex, Slack, and Skype accounts which would provide enough value to make up our minds easily.

Overall I like the thought of bringing our company, and especially our developer teams, under a single platform for collaboration.  We are evaluating the suite of Stride + Jira Software + Confluence + Tempo, but struggling on a time frame.  With no GA/Production date being given for Stride, it is getting really hard to keep telling everyone to wait especially no knowing 100% what features will be included.  

So is this an easy answer... no!  :)

We are currently looking to bring on Stride at the same time as Jira, Confluence and Teamwork, but waiting to find out about access to Stride. Given we're already underway with Jira/Confluence, I'm really keen to test out Stride as well - otherwise we'll be forced to go down the path of Slack purely out of timing rather than functionality or features.

Is there any word on access to Stride, either as early access or general use? We need something ASAP and I'd really like to evaluate Stride before making a decision, given we're invested in the Atlassian stack already.

That's correct, we have it in that I've set it up - but I can't access it therefore can't evaluate it. I don't know if the reason it's not working is because we don't technically "have" it - I was hoping someone else might have had the same issue and could assist.

Have you tried it again lately? I know when we first tried things we had similar problems, but after giving it a few days, everything just worked. I think in my case it had to do with not everything being synced up and set up in our accounts yet.

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