Basecamp is real-time communication and project management tool that help groups, team members to stay connected on the same page. However, it is not much effective for traditional project management tasks such as for long-term projects and resource planning. It offers several features such as file sharing, to-do lists, calendaring, due dates, etc that put teams to keep track of priorities and tasks to perform.
Basecamp was launched in 2004 and it was aimed at creating a simple interface through which users can easily make projects, perform their in-progress tasks and manage tasks. Since this is a web-based tool, it can be accessed from any corner of the world where internet is available. Users can log-in anywhere, anytime through any web browser or through Basecamp app that is compatible with your mobile devices.
This tool is not made for any particular organization, Basecamp can be used by any industry, companies or organizations that want to work on projects and that needs to manage team members, groups, including beginners, non-profits organization, client service industries as well as it can be even used by freelancers.
Basecamp: What it Offers?
- Centralized Home Interface
- To-Do Lists
- Discussion Boards
- Real-Time Chat/Pings
- Docs & File Storage
- Cloud Platform
- Project Portfolio Management
- Time Tracking
- Mobile Application
- Web Portal
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Basecamp: Key Features
Though Basecamp has several numbers of useful features, but here we are highlighting the main key features of Basecamp. These features are claimed to be the core features that every group needs to perform their best work together.
Centralized Home Interface:
In many other tool, this is called as “dashboard”, but in Basecamp it is called as “Home”. Here you can see all your projects (Basecamps) in one page. You can also see your teams of which you are a member as well as tasks that are assigned to you. It is organized, centralized, and clear and brings everything’s your organization’s working under one roof.
Earlier there was separate software known as Campfire that handles all the discussions, but now it is no more a separate program and it has been folded into Basecamp itself. Campfire is essentially a Discussion board that keeps all conversation at one place, but it does not separate the topics into different groups. Now you do not have to dig through your inbox, in order to reassemble a story from a series of split replies. This keeps conversation specific and direct. Beside this, every part of Basecamp has comment option. Additionally, you can add anyone by just simply sending a single link to the thread in Basecamp, instead of forwarding them a jumble of emails.
In Basecamp, the to-do list feature is almost is the calendar. This is the normal feature in which you can add important events and the best part is that it also appears on Schedule. When you create a to-do list then it asks you to name your list and then add different item into it. It helps in organizing the work, set due dates and assign tasks and responsibility. If anything requires follow up or anything’s late conversations, Basecamp notifies everyone involved.
It is one of the useful features that has been widely used and enjoyed. There are four automatic check-ins such as What did you work on today?, Are you blocked on anything?, What are you working on?, and See anything great that inspired you? It automatically asks people to write up once, what they worked every day, week or month, it totally depends on you. It is completely automated, you have to just set it once and it remains forever.
If you have a quick question for the group and don’t know whom to ask, then you can ask it in the Campfire and get the replies quickly. The Campfire and Message Boards feature absolutely fit in this section, but these chat methods go out to the whole group. However, there is Ping option that you can use to send individual messages.
Docs & File Storage:
The file storage in Basecamp is versatile. Anyone can easily upload files and documents or even type documents. As you like you can organize these files in folders so that you can navigate them easily. Anyone’s who is working on a project or working as a part of team member has access to the same set of files and they do not have to ask anyone else.
A Centralized Schedule:
The schedule on Basecamp is widely used feature. It is because it does not offer calendar view and many people may see it as a drawback. However, it offers list-style schedule. The list view display up all the events, to-do list items. Some people like list view and some may not.
Basecamp offers several security measures and precautions that help users to protect their information and privacy. The security features it includes are: Multiple Location Backups, HTTPS Encryption, Multiple Server Redundancies, Advanced Physical Security, Infrastructure Updates and PCI-Compliant Billing.
Basecamp: Pros & Cons
- Easy to use
- Managing different projects with good visibility
- Track and store just about everything
- Very economical and team-oriented
- Sometimes hard to navigate. No way to “back button” your way back where you came from.
- Limited third-party apps and add-ons integration
- Limited Feature Set
- No Built-In Time Tracking
Basecamp: Should I Use this Tool?
Basecamp has not made any major changes from the last few years, but it has improved in project management and team collaboration. If your project group or team wants to work on projects by using project management tool with limited list of apps and services, then Basecamp is a good tool for you to work with.
However, it doesn’t offer much features as other project management tool offer, such as Gantt Charts or other ways for the team member to communicate smoothly.
Basecamp has kept the project management very simple, but in some cases, too simple. It remains very simple to use and easy to set-up for the starter, but it is not really robust as other online project management tool.
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To be honest, I have enjoyed my Basecamp test. I love the user interface and visual design and its Campfire that just not a “chat-room”. The schedule allows creating a to-do list, events such as holiday and birthday alerts. These all features indicate that Basecamp like to make the most user-centric service possible.
However, Basecamp is still not perfect for long-term planning or projects – at least not yet. They are lacking in offering traditional calendar view that many people like to have this feature. The to-do list cannot be set to recurring which is another drawback. And most importantly, there is limited third-party add-ons and applications integration and there is no API for add-ons. We, hope that Basecamp, would look into these things and may put in these features in future updates.