The philosophy that drives Basecamp is – everything in one place.
The makers have identified clear pain points felt by most teams and have tailored software to these pain points.
If you have ever got lost in an email thread or can’t remember where you put your to-do list or continually complain that you didn’t know you were responsible for something – then these are the issues that Basecamp has been designed to solve.
The name Basecamp is a metaphor for the camp at the bottom of a mountain where all the teams congregate before setting off on the climb.
This imagery is then reflected in the design of the platform.
There is a single dashboard where you can view all the teams within your company; what the team calls a “10,000ft view of your entire business”.
This home screen is called Basecamp HQ. It is on this screen that you set up the different teams that come together to make your company, which gives them an icon on this opening screen.
Clicking on one of the home screen icons will then send you to a dedicated screen for that team – its own “camp”.
There are access settings in Basecamp that allow you to set up designated areas for teams and have private places where you manage the projects.
Only those people invited to a specific camp will see what is in that camp. However, once invited then everything within that camp is viewable by the whole group, with the idea that transparency is a crucial part of effective communication in a team.
Basecamp Review: What Features Can You Expect?
The to-do function is much more than a list of things that needs completing. It’s everything about your project that needs completing listed.
This means you will name the task, set the due date and assign responsibility for its completion. The people responsible will be notified of the task and the deadline and reminded when the task should be near completion.
Therefore, Basecamp holds your team accountable for you!
Plus, if there is any discussion about the tasks on the to-do list, then it happens on this same page. This means that there is no need to go through multiple apps and email accounts to find the details of the project.
There is that moment when you realise you weren’t copied into an email chain and now everyone thinks you know, but you don’t.
Worse still, people keep replying to different emails with different subject lines, so when you try to find information on a project then you have no idea where it is!
Basecamp Message Boards are designed to overcome these issues. All information on a specific topic is kept together on a single page.
People can be invited to view the messages on the page by sharing a link, which means you do not have to forward a whole series of emails to get them up-to-date.
This is self-explanatory but no less important.
Basecamp’s Schedule is primarily a calendar. Again, the idea is to bring your calendar from other apps into Basecamp – so no more Outlook or Google Calendar – meaning one less place you must click to find the information you need.
The benefit to this is that anything added to a to-do list is then shown up on your schedule automatically.
Docs and Files
It’s a place where you can share documents, files and images with your team.
The best thing about the camp system that is used is that it automatically organises shared files – making them available only to those in that team and means you can track them easily too.
If changes are made to the files then there is tracked too – so you no longer have to deal with version control and making sure that you have the most up-to-date version of an important document.
This sounds pretty sweet – naming the group chat tool as part of the theme of a mountain basecamp – for the sharing of stories and ideas.
The idea is to separate this from the message board, which might be more formal and require a more extended response.
Here the idea is to ask quick questions or make a brief comment. This can be the place where you share informal information or just say hello, to keep in touch with remote team members.
You can set up questions that people on the team are asked to answer.
These questions are sent automatically, based on the schedule you set – where it is every day, every week or just once a month.
People receive the question, give a quick answer and then these are collated on to one screen for you to view.
So, if you want to know “what are you working on?” then this can be sent to you, and you can receive responses, without continually having to send the message.
A handy bonus function is the ability to forward emails into Basecamp so that you can view them in one place.
This message can then be shared with the team if you need it to be on the shared record, or you can reply privately to the person who sent the message.
A handy tool is a report.
This can give you a summary of everything that needs to be done, any new tasks that have been set up, any jobs that are overdue, anything to be done by a specific person – any number of requests that you might need to know the answer to.
Basecamp Review: Pricing
Basecamp is free for students and teachers, and there is 10% off for non-profit organisations or charities.
For all other users, there is a flat pricing structure – with no per user fees or per project fees.
The cost is $99 per month for unlimited use. If you choose to opt into a year’s use, then you will pay $999 – which is a saving of 15% (or two months free – if you like the idea of getting something for nothing!)
Basecamp vs Asana
Both Basecamp and Asana are both considered high-quality project management platforms.
Asana is free to use for up to 15 people, so on this basis, you might want to opt for this platform. Basecamp is a flat fee no matter how many people use it – therefore if you are a bigger company it wins on price.
Asana relies on integrating with outside apps for storage space and functionality. Basecamp, on the other hand, prides on keeping everything in one place and ultimately this could save you money through increased efficiencies.
Asana focuses mainly on making you collaborative – so everything is designed around the chat functionality. The best thing is you can opt out of these chats if they are not relevant to you.
Basecamp is, by comparison, a much more rounded product – with the focus on tasks as much as communication.
It is also much more intuitive – it is far more usable than Asana for a first time user.
Trello is essentially free. It lacks the overview of all teams that Basecamp offers but it does give an excellent visual representation of a whole project workflow on one screen.
There are checklists, notifications and integrations with Slack and Google Drive – which mirrors some of the functionality of Basecamp.
Wrike is excellent for managing more than one project at a time. You start by building a path, or workflow, through your project.
You then set a timeline, prioritise and visualise items in the project and then check on progress. This is designed around the needs of the project and not around the needs of the team – as with Basecamp.
Basecamp Review: Overall
Basecamp is considered one of the best project management platforms and for a good reason.
It feels like it has been designed by a group of people who have worked as a team using a whole set of different apps and got frustrated.
This platform brings together a project management software like Trello, with a communication app like Slack, with a file sharing app like Dropbox and a calendar, like iCal.
In short, it is what it says it is: everything in one place. Better than this – it is simple to use, with no flashy names or features that are there to make it sound smart.
It has clearly been designed by people who use apps to work as a team – with all those pesky pain points solved within one application.
It might cost you a little bit more than most other platforms, but the return on investment could also be much higher.
Basecamp is available for iOS, Mac and PC and the app is as simple (which is a good thing) as the desktop version.
And if after reading the Basecamp Review, you’re not convinced, check other popular project management software for a better overview.