We're Basecamp Fans!

by margaret turner

Recently I mentioned that we were test-driving Basecamp, an online project management tool. Basecamp helps manage multiple projects simultaneously with to-do lists, file sharing, messages, calendars and time tracking.

After using it for a few weeks, here’s what I know:

Each project has its own dashboard (similar to a Facebook feed) that shows the tasks for the project, to whom they’re assigned, due dates and comments by team members. As you complete your tasks you check them off, and everybody else on the project can see the progress. When you log in you see immediately what’s changed in the project, starting with the most recent activity. And I get an email, directly into my inbox, with the daily update on the projects that I’m involved with.

That’s the best part of Basecamp for me: the integration of communication with the management of the project (due dates, tasks, etc.). In my case, that means I’m not tracing email threads, checking a calendar, managing a spreadsheet and scribbling to-dos on a sticky: the centralization helps me work smarter and faster. As well, it helps me see the size and shape of the project, so if you’re a big picture thinker you’ll love it.

And the other best part for me? Basecamp thinks like I think, which is to say that it’s highly intuitive, easy to learn and has a friendly interface. My dashboard (the tab says “Me”—brilliant!) shows my most recent activity, my open to-dos organized by project and my completed to-dos, as well as if other team members have commented on our shared projects.

It’s an excellent tool for a virtual company like FLOW, and any organization with players in remote locations.

The rest of the FLOW team likes Basecamp too. Here’s a sampling of our team feedback:

Laura-Lee, Project Manager:  I really love how it keeps track of all the details, and the way updates and comments show up in the project discussion—it really saves time. Downside: I am not sure the calendar is able to do everything we hoped.

Crystal, Chief Buzz Builder and Partner: I love that I can make notes for myself and leave notes for other team members. And that I don’t have to search through emails because the discussion occurs in the program. Downside: the person who’s registered is the only one who can open new projects.

April, Chief Dot Connector and Founder: I’m impressed with how quickly the FLOW team has learned to use Basecamp, and how much it’s added to our efficiency and enabled faster project turnaround. Downside: I’m not yet sold on its interface with my BB. 

If you’re considering project management software, Basecamp is definitely worth a look.