Working with P2 is both familiar and new, all at once. It’s made of many features you’ve encountered in other places, but it’s also a blank canvas — which means getting the hang of it might take some practice.
Let’s start with the basics: P2 is a collaboration platform. Specifically, it’s an asynchronous collaboration tool that’s been Automattic’s primary communication channel for more than 10 years. “Asynchronous” is a bit of a technical word: it just means that you’re not talking in real-time with someone present with you right now — like voice or chat. You write, and the other person will reply at a later moment. This means that P2 works best if you consider it your primary space to collaborate, working alongside — not replacing! — chat tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord.
Why “primary”? It’s because P2’s flexibility makes it easy to share and integrate a lot of different platforms in your writing and workflows. It works with pretty much anything, and that’s one of its strengths: no matter what other tools you use, you can easily link or embed them from P2. Add a video, a CodePen prototype, audio files, and so on.
At its core, P2 is great at two things every team needs: information sharing and feedback gathering.
P2 to share information
This is P2 at its most basic: publish some information everyone in your group needs to know, and they’ll get notified about your new post.
Share essential information with your team. Some data that’s useful for a project you’re working on, news about the latest advances in your field, a change in policy, a new resource to check out — anything the whole team should see.
Since P2 posts have comments, team members can respond with thoughts and questions. You can clarify, the team can discuss, and everyone reaches a common understanding.
You might already be familiar with this type of online interaction if you use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Mastodon, or have some form of a blog. The main difference is that you’re sharing with teammates or people you choose — not an open, general audience.
P2 to gather feedback
You can also use P2 for in-progress work. Do you have a draft to share, need answers to some questions, or seek feedback from a client? P2 it, and get the responses you need to keep things moving forward.
Your teammates can read and comment with their expertise, opinions, and notes at any time. If you need input from someone specific, @mention them: they’ll get a notification to draw their attention to your post, and the full conversation is visible and transparent to the whole team.
Ask for feedback early and often. Some people may not be used to sharing in-progress work so transparently, but this is essential to work effectively with P2. To get into this habit, share and ask for feedback as early as possible, in a way that makes the most sense for you and your team. It takes some practice, but the benefits are huge.
Information sharing and feedback gathering are the two primary ways to use P2. But you might ask: what about just having a discussion? Yes, of course! It’s a form of gathering feedback, it’s very effective and something you should experiment with.
When P2 is your primary collaboration tool, work is available and transparent to the whole team. It makes information easier to access and it breaks down silos — which means that you can search for and review older discussions to see how a decision was made or a process unfolded, even if they happened before you joined the team.
This also makes onboarding new people easier: they can read previous posts and discussions on the P2 for an immediate sense of how your team collaborates.