Basecamp is an online project management software created in 2004 by developer 37signal. When it came out, it was the first online project management software and created the need for projects to be monitored in a systematic fashion using technology. It has been a decade since then and it is interesting to see how Basecamp has evolved with new technological demands and rapidly rising competition.
Basecamp’s USP is its simplicity; the interface is extremely user friendly and it takes just 10 minutes for even the most digitally handicapped employee to navigate through its many features. Basecamp’s primary view, appropriately called its ‘dashboard’ gives you all relevant information about the project and the tasks that are going around simultaneously. The admin (usually the project manager) can control who can see what i.e. you need to be invited by the project manager to see a specific component of the project. This helps simplify the work environment when there are multiple project going on the same time and project teams/members will just have access to the data on a need-to-know basis.
There is a free version of Basecamp available where you can share the progress of an ongoing project with multiple people and assign task to them. These tasks can scheduled with a due date, documents and media files can be uploaded without technical problems and discussions can take place. Discussion is a cool way of getting inputs from all members of the project team and this enables to project managers to communicate with his subordinates efficiently while planning his next steps. Basecamp is NOT a free app however and has limitations when used free of charge. The main limitation is the inability of the free version to process more than one ongoing project at a time. There are many teams that require the software for just one project but project managers usually have more than one project on their plate and will have to purchase the paid version.
As predicted, there are not too many complaints with the paid version barring the fact that you to pay for it off course! However, it more than justifies its price tag with the additional ability to manage a number of simultaneous projects coupled with a vastly improved media storage capacity. The different packages are as follows;
1. $40 per month- 15 GB storage and manages 40 projects at once
2. $100 per month- 40 GB storage and manages 100 projects at once
3. $150 per month- 100 GB storage and manages UNLIMITED projects at once
The packages are strategically placed so that they can capture all range of consumer markets ranging from startups (free version utilized as well) to mid-sized and large companies. However, not everybody is willing to pay the price-point for its corresponding level of usage ($150 a month is excessive for project management in ambitious but nascent startups). Therefore, for the low-cost users, Basecamp may not even be the right tool for you. Other low-cost and free software such as Collabtive have come out ever since 2004 that are aimed at providing low-cost project management support and at a small scale are the perfect fit. All in all, whether Basecamp works for you or not is really upto the project manager and the scale and workload that he is working with.