Getting Organized and Keeping On Task with Basecamp
Updated September 30, 2015
Getting Organized and Keeping On Task with Basecamp
Score 9 out of 10
10 Projects plan
Overall Satisfaction with Basecamp
As a freelancer serving a variety of clients, I needed a way to organize each project. After looking at different options, I settled on Basecamp for several reasons. First, is has a tiered pricing structure that will allow my business to grow when needed. Second, it helps prevent the dreaded lost/buried email problem. When you're corresponding with over a dozen different clients in any one week, it can be impossible to keep tabs on the important emails even with a convoluted system of folders and starred items. Basecamp keeps everything organized and in one place. Third, it allows me to set deadlines that are integrated with my calendar, so I get notifications on my phone when items are due. Finally, the document storage and ability to have comment threads attached to documents is extremely useful. I can post draft design options and the client can give feedback in the same spot, rather than needing to refer to an email attachment or download from remote storage.
- I really enjoy the ability to pick and choose which participants of a particular Basecamp will get each conversation thread and reply.
- The To-Do list feature is one of the most useful that I've found anywhere, with the big plus that I can subscribe to the feed from my Google calendar.
- While this feature is only for Gmail users, I'm a big fan of the new "View on Basecamp" button that appears in the preview of every email from Basecamp. That way I don't even need to open the email, I can just click the link and reply directly on the thread itself.
- Many of my clients enjoy the ability to reply to threads via email, rather than needing to login to their Basecamp account just to send a quick response.
- Basecamp's search feature could use some filtering. For example, I should be able to just search files or to-do lists.
- I wish that the main projects page had more information about each project, specifically what date it started, how many people are in the project, and if there are any upcoming deadlines. While you can find this information currently, it's in several different areas. The start date in particular is a pain to find.
- For projects with a lot of files, I would appreciate a feature that allowed sorting them into categories or some sort of hierarchical grouping. Currently they are all together with the most recently-discussed files appearing first and older ones one another page.
- While it's difficult to quantify, Basecamp has had a very positive ROI for my business. It helps tick up my status as a professional another notch just due to the fact that I require my clients to use it.
- Basecamp also allows me to keep better track of deadlines, thus more of my projects have been on-time since I started using it. Not only that, but my clients now have a clearer understanding of how deadlines work and what can cause delays, especially since those delays are often due to lack of feedback on the clients' part. When there are delays, clients are much more understanding since it's obvious the ball is in their court and my hands are tied.
- Because Basecamp helps keep both me and my clients on task with assigned due dates, I find that I'm turning over projects faster, which in turn means I can take on new clients sooner. In 2014 I launched 50% more websites than the previous year, in no small part thanks to Basecamp keeping everyone on task.
I find Basecamp uniquely well-suited to my occupation as a freelance web designer and developer. One of newer features makes it especially suitable; recently Basecamp added the ability to define your team and hide certain items from the client. I think it would also shine as a project management tool for smaller organizations and nonprofits looking for an easy-to-use platform. It wouldn't work well in extremely large organizations, especially for its lack of a reports feature. However, smaller teams within large organizations could utilize it to keep on task with projects. When evaluating Basecamp or similar software, important questions would include: How many people will be using the Basecamp? How much file storage space do we require? Do we need the ability to generate status reports? How important is integration with other software currently in use?
- Project Management - Working with external clients to keep projects on task and sharing documents between various parties involved
- Internal Task Management - For internal tracking of various client to-do lists. The internal Basecamp project is maintained by direct staff and support staff to keep all lists in one spot, accessible from anywhere.
- Contractor Collaboration - In one case, a client has various external contractors working in concert on one project, located all over the world. A single Basecamp project was setup for assignation of duties and deadlines to the various contractors as they each complete a piece of the workflow.
I can't foresee ever cancelling my account with Basecamp, but rather upgrading it when I get to that point when I'm ready to expand. One of the most exciting aspects for me is the company's continued commitment to the software in the form of consistent improvements and new features. While I've never needed to contact support, I do read each of the rare communications sent out by the team behind Basecamp, and their enthusiasm for their own software is palpable. I've recommended it to other freelancers, and I look forward to using Basecamp to continue increasing my productivity in the coming year and beyond.
I find it extremely easy to use, though as a tech-savvy person, it takes some fairly obnoxious software for me to have difficulty. However, I have found that occasionally some clients don't understand how the subject line and discussion body work when creating a new post, and sometimes have difficulty understanding where to respond and will create new threads with feedback, rather than replying on the old one. I don't think Basecamp can help this, however, without severely annoying those of us who find it highly intuitive.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- To-Do lists; including creating them and assigning them to individuals within the project.
- Uploading files and getting feedback on them.
- Collaborating with team members behind the scene and out of view of clients.
- If you have a lot of projects, I've found that searching for older discussion threads can be annoying.
I've never experienced downtime while using Basecamp, or been unable to access it when I needed it. That's not to say they've never had downtime, but I've been lucky enough not to encounter any, and I work odd hours, including late nights when maintenance is often undertaken.