Table of Contents
- Basecamp Full Review
- Key Features
- Basecamp vs. Asana
- Is Basecamp right for you?
- All-inclusive $99/month with unlimited users and projects.
- Free 30-day trial.
- Teachers and students receive free accounts, and there's a 10% discount for non-profits.
Basecamp Full Review
Basecamp is a web-based project management and collaboration tool launched by 37signals in 2004 to organize its own client projects. With over 2.8 million users today, Basecamp has since grown significantly. The company has released multiple versions of the software. Basecamp 3 is the most recent version.
Basecamp provides businesses with an integrated solution to managing team communication and organizing projects. Users can keep track of tasks, share files, communicate with team members in real-time, and even set up regular check-ins. The software helps to improve the efficiency of departments and projects, ensuring everyone is armed with the information to get the job done. Compared to Asana and Trello, which are primarily focused on task tracking, Basecamp is more about team communication.
Basecamp’s simple design makes it relatively easy to navigate. There are separate spaces for your team discussions, projects and company-wide announcements. In each space, cards are used to represent individual projects or departments (e.g., Marketing). All information, such as files/documents, tasks, chat (Campfire) and message board, is stored in the cards, keeping everything in one place. However, this feature can be an issue; several users have reported that this layout sometimes feels slightly disorganized and makes information hard to find if lots of people are working on the same project.
Basecamp keeps pricing simple with a single plan, offered at $99/month. This is all-inclusive and encompasses unlimited users, projects and 500GB of file storage. Basecamp is free for teachers and students and discounted for non-profits.
Below are the key features of Basecamp and how they can benefit your business.
Project & Task Management
Basecamp projects allow individuals with different roles to work collaboratively. Depicted as cards, projects include all the information you need to manage a project from start to finish, including to-do lists, chat functionality, scheduling and a dedicated section for storing relevant documents and files. Managers can add new projects from scratch or utilize an existing template to quickly set up recurring projects.
Once you’ve set up a project, you can start adding team members by clicking on the project’s card. Each person you add will have full access to everything in that project. You can also invite people that don’t currently use Basecamp by sharing an opt-in link. This can be extremely useful if you need to collaborate with external companies, if, for example, your project involves a freelance graphic designer or copywriting agency.
On the main dashboard, there is an array of tools to help you manage different aspects of your project. Users can collaborate with other team members via Campfire, schedule important project milestones on the calendar, create to-do lists, and easily share documents and files. Basecamp 3 ensures that all relevant project information is available in one location, allowing you to stay on track and find relevant information when you need it. Tools can also be added/removed and organized according to your needs.
Projects within Basecamp can be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks with "To-do" lists. Each list has several tasks, which can be assigned to different team members with different due dates. Team members can add comments, attach files, and write notes to keep everyone informed of project progress. Allocated tasks can be found under the “My Assignments” link on the home dashboard.
One advantageous feature of the project view is the Automatic Check-in tool. Managers can ask team members or clients for regular updates (daily, weekly or monthly). Responses are shared with everyone in the project or team, keeping engagement levels high and helping everyone stay informed. For example, you could routinely ask team members about the progress of a specific project or whether they are having any problems. Automatic Check-ins are useful for understanding roadblocks you encounter and keeping your team engaged.
For collaboration within a department (for example, Marketing) and communicating with other team members about a project, Basecamp uses Campfire. Campfire sits in an individual Project or Team board and allows users to have real-time conversations. Initially offered as a standalone product, Campfire was recently merged with Basecamp to simplify and streamline communication. Campfire can help keep your team connected and replace other collaboration apps, such as Slack or Hipchat.
With Campfire's intuitive layout, users can drag and drop images or files into the chat window and notify specific team members by using the “@” symbol followed by the team member's name. Campfire's design makes it extremely easy to distinguish between your messages and someone else's; original messages appear on the right-hand side while replies are on the left.
Basecamp has another direct messaging system called Ping, which is where private and group conversations take place. Ping is different from Campfire. It's not directly tied to any Project or Team. Message notifications sit in a chat box at the top of the menu bar, and users are taken to a separate page to reply and view the thread.
Keeping your clients updated on their projects is extremely simple in Basecamp. Clients can be added to any project at any time and will gain access to the same tools that your team uses. However, you can toggle client access to restrict what clients can see. This means you can keep internal conversations private and easily show progress or gather important feedback without hindering your workflow. For example, you can set up meeting requests, share files, and schedule automatic check-in questions to gather feedback about the project.
In each tool, you can easily see which information is private to your team and shared with the client. Sharing your tools with clients can provide them insights into your work processes and demonstrate a project’s progress. However, be sure to enable only the right tools for clients. Oversharing can cause more harm than good, and sometimes conversations need to be kept private.
The structure of Basecamp’s reporting functionality differs slightly from that of other applications (such as Asana or ProofHub). There are no analytics; reports take the form of documentation about your projects and team, including messages, comments and to-do lists. A timeline of recent activity is shown on the main dashboard, and the top menu allows you to view overdue tasks, check on a team member’s assignments and manage upcoming dates.
One negative aspect of Basecamp’s reporting structure is that you cannot customize or build reports to suit your business needs. Users can only view and manage project activity, which makes it difficult to analyze performance metrics such as the number of tasks completed on-time by individual employees. In-depth reporting can be added with various third-party integrations (such as Easy Insight), but there is no native integration, and integration can cost more.
Basecamp integrates with a variety of third-party applications to offer more features, such as time tracking, invoicing and reporting. Key integrations include Hubstaff for time tracking and invoicing, BSync for Salesforce CRM, and ScrumDo for software development. For example, Hubstaff can be seamlessly integrated with all versions of Basecamp for a full time tracking and invoicing solution, in addition to project management.
Although Basecamp works with any web browser, the company has developed a range of native apps for iOS and Android devices in addition to the Mac and PC versions. Downloading the applications allows you to receive desktop notifications and reply to chat messages and comments with your smartphone.
Basecamp vs. Asana
Primarily focused on task tracking and progress, Asana helps you break complex projects down into actionable steps that can be prioritized and assigned to individuals or teams. Basecamp works slightly differently, providing a centralized location for your projects and making information easily accessible to teams.
Basecamp doesn’t offer a high-level overview of your projects; it makes you drill down to find relevant conversations, documents and tasks. While this can help you remain highly focused on the task at hand, it can lead to a slightly inefficient workflow and lots of clicking around. On the other hand, Asana provides a high-level overview of projects, lists and individual tasks, making it easy to jump from one thing to another. Asana also supports list and Kanban-style views, making it extremely easy to see what tasks need to be completed and where each project sits within your workflow.
Asana offers a free tier for up to 15 team members. It includes unlimited projects, tasks and conversations. Additional users can be added for $9.99/month (as an annual payment). Basecamp is $99/month, regardless of the number of users or projects you have.
Is Basecamp the Right Software for You?
Basecamp is an easy-to-use project management tool for organizing information and improving collaboration between teams and clients. Projects are neatly filed on respective cards that can be accessed by all relevant parties, ensuring messages, files, documents and tasks are readily available in one central location.
However, the lack of features such as time tracking, analytics and budgeting can make Basecamp difficult for larger companies to adopt. For businesses that need to manage large-scale projects on a granular level, other software (such as Asana or ProofHub) may be more suitable. For smaller companies looking for an effective platform to organize project information and improve team collaboration, Basecamp is definitely worth considering.