Getting ready for your next project but dreading the back-and-forth emails, missed deadlines and lost files? This time give Basecamp a try to keep your project communication, collaboration and information all in one place. Of all the online project management tools out there, for bigger projects that involve several people Basecamp is my favorite.
What is it?
Basecamp is a project management app that you can access in your browser and on your phone. It gives you the tools you need to set up to-dos, a schedule, create and upload documents and files, message and chat with your colleagues, and check in regularly with your group—all in one place!
Whether you are working alone and need to get organized with your work or use it to collaborate on a project, with work or something personal, Basecamp makes it easy. It’s quick to set up and if you are consistent in using it it should make communication with your team a lot easier. Especially teams that are virtual.
An additional feature with an upgrade is the ability to deal with clients within Basecamp. You can add them in and give them limited viewing/editing rights, but make them an integral part of your work. While I haven’t used this before, I can imagine it’s a huge help to keep everybody on the same page.
Why I love it
For me, I love it because it is set up and organized like the top of a desk, instead of linearly in lists. It’s just a preference but it works for me.
I also like it because as you set and assign tasks or comment on files, there’s no need to tell your colleague that you’ve done so, Basecamp notifies them for you. The conversation and back-and-forth that is inevitable when working on a project takes place in one place, not in dozens of emails, in Skype chats or on the phone.
Now it doesn’t take the place of Wunderlist for me in organizing my client and business work, but I use it on projects that have multiple team members, and I couldn’t do without it.
3 ways it helps your business
1. Keep project communication in one place
As I mentioned above, all of the communication on your project can stay within Basecamp.
For example, I want to share a mockup of a webpage with my colleagues. Instead of emailing it as a file and then getting feedback in lots of emails, I upload it to the Docs & Files section. My colleagues are notified, and then they can come to Basecamp, view the mockup and leave a comment on the file. I get notified that they’ve commented and follow up.
Additionally what’s great is that I can always search everything going on within Basecamp, so I never need to dig through handwritten notes, lots of emails or realize that I didn’t write it down.
2. It links with tools you already use
Basecamp integrates really well with Google Drive allowing you to easily link to Drive files (docs, sheets or slides) so I can keep the links to those files in one place. Sometimes Google Drive can be difficult to manage as shared folders don’t organize into the same folders that two different people have, but in Basecamp they can be in one place.
The schedule integrates with Google Calendar, iCal and Outlook so no need to make double appointments. And of course you get notified via email of daily activity or specific items, so email is never far away.
3. You get one free Basecamp
A Basecamp is actually the space where many people collaborate on one project, or in one department. If you were a large organization and had multiple projects going on or wanted a space for each of your departments (like marketing, human resources and accounting) you would establish your organization and then have multiple Basecamps for those corresponding groups.
The good news is for freelancers and small businesses is that everybody gets one free Basecamp, so you can set it up for your business, or you can use it on a project that involves a few people. I actually work within a few separate Basecamps for groups that I volunteer with. I can use one email address to access them (so all notifications go to one email address) but they function separately and with different groups of people. Yay!
Features to look out for
To-do list with multiple levels and features
To-dos are the foundation of getting a project done so Basecamp makes it easy to create multiple-level lists with lots of features.
You can create a category to-do, like “Research” and then add to-dos under that category. For each sublevel to-do you can add notes, set a due date, and assign it to someone on your team.
Collaborate with co-workers
Invite your team members, colleagues or co-workers to collaborate on your project. You can assign them to different access or editing levels to maintain control or handover control. You can tag their names in comments or on files so they’ll be notified specifically, and to-dos and scheduled items can be assigned or tagged with certain people.
And there is also a reporting function where you can get an overview of what your team and individuals have accomplished.
Turn on/off notifications
A really nice feature of Basecamp is that you can set the times when Basecamp can notify you via email. For example, you can set it so that you’ll only be notified during “work” hours, like 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. If you’re the boss and need to know everything that’s going on all the time, feel free to leave those notifications on all the time.
Basecamp calls their real-time chat tool “Campfires.” This allows you to chat in real time with your co-workers and deal with issues or just spend virtual time together.
There are also “pings” which are private messages that you can send to just one person. With so many ways to communicate within Basecamp, you could give up email altogether! (Just kidding, email will never go away.)
Take it to go
Basecamp has apps for both Android and iOS so you can take it with you. It has all the same features and you can snooze notifications and do everything you need to do, just on your phone. Super handy!
I want more!
I suggest you start out by watching the introduction to Basecamp video (scroll down a bit) to get an overview. Here are all of their features and they’ve got good FAQs and help guides to get you started or to help figure out a problem. Also, check out how BEAG Co. uses Basecamp to organize remote team members working with clients all over the world.
What project management software or app do you use to keep yourself on track with projects?
Let me know in the comments.Will be checking out @Basecamp thanks to this online tool intro from @sparkva Click To Tweet