These days, project management software tools are a dime a dozen. On our blog alone, we’ve highlighted some of the benefits of using Trello, JIRA, Wrike and Asana to name a few. But today we are throwin’ it back to 1999 when one of the first project management software platforms was created under the name 37signals. It was later changed to Basecamp in 2014.
And while Basecamp may be viewed as the “grandfather” of project management software, this tool has been around for nearly two decades – and with good reason. It just works.
Whether you are looking for a new platform or just want a tool to help you master project management, here are 5 reasons why Basecamp is an oldie but goodie.
Easy To Use To-Do Lists
Who doesn’t love checking things off a list? One of the signature features of Basecamp is creating to-do lists inside your projects.
Let’s say you are working on a web design project, and you have labeled your project “New Website Design.”
Your first to-do list may look like something like this:
Your list could then include any of the following tasks:
- Gather client requirements
- Schedule first kick off meeting
- Organize weekly sprints
- Pull design assets
…and so on.
Within your to-do list, you can assign tasks to a person (or multiple people e) as well as set due dates. You can also tag people as “viewers”, allowing them to follow the task’s progress.
Another fun feature?
You can adjust the settings to have task assignees AND task followers get emails every time the task list is updated. This lets everyone follow tasks as they progresses from start to finish.
Once the task is completed, the assignee can literally just “check” the task off. There is no limit to the number of to-do lists in a project, so you can create as many as you need.
Many tools like Trello and Gitlab don’t have task-level sharing permissions. So if you’ve got a large complicated project and you only need feedback on a few tasks, Basecamp could be a winner for you.
Pro Tip: Archive your tasks lists as they are completed to reduce potential confusion.
All-In-One Functionality For Your Clients
Basecamp lets you add your clients to specific projects or to create your own client-dedicated projects – all under one account.
For example, if you are working on a website launch for a client, you could create a dedicated project called “Client New Website Launch,” and communicate with the client exclusively through that project. Basecamp has an edge here over other popular project management platforms such as Trello and Asana because it allows you to keep everything under one account. In Trello and Asana you would have to create multiple client accounts.
Another reason the client features in Basecamp are beneficial, is they let you share files, have conversations, assign milestones and due dates, as well as reply to comments all in one place. This helps boost team and client accountability and ensures deadlines aren’t lost in translation.
If you do not wish to create an entirely new project just for your client, you can add them to any of your existing internal projects with the “clientside” feature. This feature emails the client updates on anything you choose to share. It also lets you choose which project tasks you want to give the client access to. This is especially handy if you prefer the client not have visibility on the full project.
For example, you could add a client to your internal website launch project, but only give them access to tasks that pertain to them and that you want them to give feedback on.
If you want to keep it simple with your clients, Basecamp is a winner.
Built-In Chat Features
Need to connect with someone ASAP? Simply send them a ping or start a discussion.
Pings let you have private chats with one or multiple people. This is super helpful if you have a quick question or need urgent clarification on a task. This is often a more effective way of communicating with your team than through back and forth chat threads in tasks.
If you choose to use the clientside feature or to create a dedicated project for your client, the pings feature can be a valuable way to efficiently communicate with clients, without worrying about a thread getting lost in the depths of your inbox.
While other project management platforms do a have a chat feature, Basecamp’s is comparatively simpler, easier to understand, and has options that others don’t (for example, campfire & pings). If you are not looking to invest in other chat platforms such as Slack, Basecamp may be a good solution for you.
Store All Docs and Files In One Place
Keeping a project -related information such as documents, photos, and wireframes, all in one place can be tricky. This is especially true if some of your team is remote.
In Basecamp, it’s easy to keep all information organized. Every project includes a Docs and Files section, which your team can deep link files to, and upload files directly to projects as well.
Deep linking from project tasks can be a great way for team members to share assets amongst themselves and with clients.
In this section, your team can also create folders pertaining to any facet of your project. For example, if you have a web design project, you may have folders such as:
- Client Notes
- Web Design Comps
- Website Photos
File organization is the name of the game in Basecamp, and with the ability to create dedicated folders and links, you’ll be able to access all necessary content at your fingertips. Dedicated folders and client sharing options often makes Basecamp a top choice over other project management platforms.
Quick Search Feature
You’re most likely be working on more than one project at a time. Perhaps you are juggling multiple clients, or may be multiple projects for the same client.
Whatever the case may be, you likely find yourself toggling between different projects, looking for a task or a particular asset. This is where Basecamp’s search feature comes in handy.
This feature lets you do a quick search by keyword, project, person, or type of asset (ping, document, etc). Basecamp will then provide a list of all tasks, lists, conversations, and assets with that keyword. What a time-saver!
And while most project management platforms do include a search feature, Basecamp has quick drop-down menus, which makes searches a breeze when you are in a hurry.
Every project in Basecamp has a built-in scheduling feature that lets you create project-events.
For example, you can add client meetings to your project schedule, add notes, and tag team members that will be attending the meeting. With this feature you can also notify relevant team members via email as soon as the event is posted.
Of course, other project management platforms such as Trello and Asana offer similar functionality, but the client and team member notification features in Basecamp are clutch.
Pro Tip: Sync your Basecamp calendar with your Google, iCal or Outlook calendar by subscribing to that particular project. This way, will have event reminders both in your project and your personal calendar!!
So before you write off the “grandfather” of all project management software, take a second look at how Basecamp can be a powerful project management tool keep your team organized.
And if you already use other project management tools, and want to add Basecamp to your suite of products – no problem! Unito can sync Basecamp to other popular tools such as Trello, Asana and JIRA.