Basecamp Project Management
Basecamp, produced by the company, 37signals, is a web-based, online tool for collaboration that allows you to set up project centers which you can customize with your own business name and logo. When you subscribe to Basecamp, you benefit from space to manage multiple projects for different clients, the facility to share your project files, time management and the ability to assign and monitor project-related activities, amongst other features. Basecamp lets you set up a secure project area for each of your customers. Password protection allows you to ensure that only those people who should have access to a project’s documents and information have that access. When a new project area is created, you simply add those people who need to have access and your customers are invited by email to join.
As a product, Basecamp was founded on the philosophy that software is just way too complex and needs to be much simpler. Importantly, Basecamp is simple to use, not just for the project expert, but also for the client who wants to keep in touch with the progress of their project work. Basecamp works by organizing the workflow of your project into activities. These activities might be milestones, to manage a project’s deadlines and date constraints, or lists, for example, and responsibilities can be allocated so everyone involved knows who’s responsible for delivering what! Automated reminder emails can be set up to ensure that everyone is kept on track with what they are responsible for. There are pages for tracking defined activities and these can be accessed through the work area section of Basecamp and then reviewed through the dashboard view on the entry screen.
Other collaboration features include a:
- Messages facility which works much like traditional email and allows registered users to post and read messages and to send replies, including attached files, too.
- Writeboard facility that allows text-based documents to be created and stored online and includes versioning.
- Files facility which allows users to upload files relating to the project. As with the Writeboard page the Files page also includes management of file versions.
- Time facility to track the time spent delivering each activity.
It’s worth noting, that in achieving a simple and usable interface, Basecamp may be considered to be missing some of the more sophisticated features that other collaborative project management tools offer, for example, risk and issue management.
Basecamp has five different packages on offer and each has a thirty day free trial period:
- Personal – $12 a month
- Basic – $24 a month
- Plus – $49 a month
- Premium – $99 a month
- Max – $149 a month
With no initial setup fee and the option to downgrade or upgrade at any time, Basecamp offers a flexible alternative to other more traditional project management tools.
Basecamp is the ideal online solution where you don’t have your own web facilities and software to offer a collaborative solution to your customers, allowing you to share information, documents, and files relating to your project, in one integrated place without having to rely on disparate emails and telephone conversations, that can often be difficult to track and monitor.