The New Basecamp, A Brief Evaluation

Posted by David Chism | Wed, May 30, 2012

 The New Basecamp, A Brief Evaluation
I’ve been using Base­camp from 37 Sig­nals for over 7 years now. Base­camp is a cloud-based project man­age­ment pro­gram. The clas­sic ver­sion of Base­camp had a sim­ple inter­face that con­sist­ed of Mes­sages, To Dos, Mile­stones & Files. It offered time track­ing of task, to-do tem­plates, adding com­ments relat­ed to a mes­sage, to do or file, adding file attache­ments to projects and more. The bot­tom line, Base­camp Clas­sic made it much eas­i­er to work on projects and keep things orga­nized. The main com­po­nent Base­camp Clas­sic was miss­ing was a good fol­low up and reminder sys­tem. I had to be reli­gious to review my dai­ly email agen­da and projects in order not to for­get a next step. This was get­ting to be a very frus­trat­ing expe­ri­ence, and I began to hunt around for a bet­ter project man­age­ment pro­gram. Then, out of the blue, 37 Sig­nals released what they called The New Base­camp.” The New Basecamp [cap­tion id=“attachment_1573” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“Click to Enlarge”][/​caption] I jumped to the New Base­camp one last time think­ing I’d be dis­ap­point­ed and still be on the hunt for a bet­ter pro­gram. To my amaze­ment, I was hooked! Why? The New Base­camp actu­al­ly has a more sim­ple user inter­face. It renamed a few of their core items and pro­vid­ed the best thing of all: reminder emails! I can now cre­ate an event on a mar­ket­ing cal­en­dar and get a reminder 30 min­utes before that event starts and the day before so I can do any last minute prepa­ra­tions for that event. I can also assign an event to some­one else on the team or who has access to my project, and they will get the reminders. The to do items are also added to the project cal­en­dar. The new Base­camp is so sim­ple, any­one can get the hang of it in no time at all. What The New Base­camp Does Not Do It is not a full scale project man­age­ment pro­gram like Microsoft Project. In oth­er words, you can­not track time or pro­duce gantt charts. If that is what you are look­ing for, def­i­nite­ly check out Smartsheets. You will not be dis­ap­point­ed (I’ll do anoth­er blog post on Smartsheets soon). You will not be able to edit spread­sheets or have a two way sync with MS or Google prod­ucts. It is a stand alone web based pro­gram. Cur­rent­ly, the New Base­camp is also lack­ing mobile access for cer­tain smart­phones. Yes you can access it from an iPad, but it is not user friend­ly. If you have an Android there is an App for that, but while writ­ing this blog, no iPhone app is avail­able. 37 Sig­nals told me they are work­ing on it. Why Should You Con­sid­er Basecamp [cap­tion id=“attachment_1574” align=“alignright” width=“300” caption=“Click to Enlarge”][/​caption] If you are a con­trac­tor, I think Smartsheets is def­i­nite­ly some­thing you should con­sid­er. Every­one else who needs to man­age mul­ti­ple projects in one place, or need feed­back from a num­ber of dif­fer­ent peo­ple (in and out of your com­pa­ny) Base­camp is the way to go. It will def­i­nite­ly keep you orga­nized and on track. For exam­ple, my church is doing a ten­ant improve­ment (TI) in Fred­er­ick MD this year. I have been in charge of a num­ber of aspects of this project, which involved com­mu­ni­cat­ing with 15 – 20 church mem­bers who were also involved in this project. We were using email to go back and forth on col­or ideas, engi­neer­ing, sound, floor types and much much more. When I took over as the project man­ag­er for the build­ing project, I decid­ed to use Base­camp because I knew it would be easy to train oth­ers how to use it. I was able to cre­ate a num­ber of projects such as Fin­ish­ing Com­mit­tee” Design Com­mit­tee” Sound Com­mit­tee” and Build­ing Cen­tral.” I also invit­ed our inte­ri­or design­er and con­trac­tor into Base­camp when they were need­ed. I was able to cre­ate a task list of items I want­ed in the final pro­pos­al and had the con­trac­tor check them all off when he put them into the bid. I assigned task to the design­er for things like, Help choose a tile and col­or for Foy­er (May 25th). She would then receive a noti­fi­ca­tion about the task and was able to cor­re­spond with me until the task was com­plet­ed. All in all, it has allowed for great com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a clean paper trail. The new Base­camp is a sim­ple and easy to use project man­age­ment pro­gram that is worth the price. $20 a month gets you 10 projects and unlim­it­ed users. They have all sorts of plans and great tech­ni­cal sup­port. You can sign up for a free 45 day tri­al. If you do, let me know how you like it.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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