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Basecamp Project Management Guide (Features, Pros, Limitations)

basecamp

Okay, you must be here because you have a hunch that maybe Basecamp is the right project management tool for your organization. 

Maybe it’s because they have been in the game for over 15 years. 

Or perhaps it’s because the folks behind Basecamp developed an entire program framework; now that’s some cool stuff.

But business decisions can’t rely on maybe(s) and cool stuff. 

It needs to be backed by solid facts and figures. 

To help you decide, we’ll cover Basecamp project management in depth in this article. 

We’ll go over its key features, benefits, limitations and highlight a powerful Basecamp alternative you can use today.  

Let’s head to basecamp. 🏕 

What Is Basecamp?

basecamp landing page

Basecamp is a popular project management app that helps teams organize tasks, track project progress, and collaborate over tasks.

Basecamp aims to bring task management and project team communication under one tent with features like to-do lists and message boards.⛺ 

Basecamp also has a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, which can help a remote team manage projects on the move. 

What is Basecamp used for? 

Basecamp is mainly  used to:

  • Manage multiple projects and tasks 
  • Communicate with your entire team or specific members
  • Create and track project progress and schedules
  • Store project-related documents

Basecamp is a suitable solution for both startups and large corporations. And if you have remote team members, they can just hop on the app and start collaborating too.

4 Key Features of Basecamp 

Let’s check out what makes Basecamp an excellent communication and project management tool:

1. To-do lists

Complicated problems don’t always warrant complex solutions. 

Sometimes all you need is something simple, like a to-do list

To-do lists form the backbone of Basecamp. 

It helps you break down large, complicated projects into smaller tasks. You can then assign tasks to your team members and set deadlines. 

Completed a task

Just tick it off to mark it as complete, just like checking off items on your grocery list. 🛒

Basecamp also lets you:

  • Archive to-dos for future reference
  • Assign multiple people to a specific task list 
  • Add notes, images, or files to a list
to-do list

Wanna check out the best to-do list apps for 2021?

Explore the top 14 to-do list apps available today. 

2. Hill charts

When it comes to flying, Batman certainly doesn’t rank high up on the list. 

But when it comes to planning, he’s definitely #1.  

And that’s because he always takes an eagle’s-eye view of the situation to plan efficiently.

batman

Similarly, you need to see the bigger picture to ensure your project runs smoothly. 

Basecamp’s hill charts help you do just that. 

In the hill chart, you can group tasks (aka your to-dos) into two phases: ideation (uphill) and execution (downhill). 

Team members can manually drag and drop to-do lists across the hill based on their progress.  And with a glance at the hill chart, you can tell how things are moving.  

visual to-do tracking

3. Message boards

Want to announce a project update? Or maybe plan a virtual party with your remote team? 🥳

Use Basecamp’s message boards to get the message across.

Message boards let you organize conversations about a specific topic on a single page. Based on your post type, you can categorize it as announcements, questions, pitches, and more.

It also allows you to:

  • Sort posts alphabetically, by date, and the latest comment
  • Embed images into your message
  • Customize who gets notified about the post
message board

4. A powerful quick search feature

A quick search feature might not sound really cool until you think about Google’s net worth today. 💰 And sometimes, you’re just low on the energy juice and need a tool that can quickly pull up data for you.

i have no energy

With Basecamp’s quick search feature, you can effortlessly search for particular terms, messages, and files. It also lets you narrow down results with filters for to-dos, comments, client emails, and more. 

Want to share a relevant result with your project team?

Hit the copy button on the result to grab a link that you can share with your teammates. 

search function in basecamp

If you’d like a deeper look at some of Basecamp’s other features, check out our Basecamp review

3 Key Benefits of Basecamp Project Management

Now that we’ve covered four delicious Basecamp features, we’re gonna add some cherries on top. 🍒 Not one, not two, but three!  

Here are three great benefits of using Basecamp for project management:

1. Helps you organize project files in one place

Managing multiple projects and keeping track of project data is no easy task. 

From project plans and charters to scope of work documents, there’s just a lot to juggle. 

shadow juggling

Fortunately, Basecamp’s document management and file storage features can help you out here.

Each project has a separate doc and file sharing section to ensure everything is organized correctly.  You can track each file’s version history and even use a color-coded system for better file storage management.  

This way, your team members can be on the same page (literally!) and avoid making things complicated. 

2. Built-in chat features for streamlined communication

Sometimes you just need a quick reply. 

With Basecamp’s built-in chat feature, Campfire, your teams can discuss anything they want and get answers instantly.

It’s just like having a quick chat around a campfire! 🔥

3. Supports integrations for increased functionality

Some people like extra mayo in their sandwiches, while others prefer honey mustard. 

(Team mayo FTW!)

Anyway, it goes without saying that the same applies to workplace software. Recognizing the power of different tastes, Basecamp lets you integrate the app with other popular tools.

You can choose from apps for time tracking, reporting, client relationship management, and more. This way, you can keep all your favorite apps and streamline processes across them.

6 Major Limitations of Basecamp Project Management (With Solutions)

Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a genie that grants all your wishes? 🧞

You could ask for collaboration software that solves e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g (*wink* *wink*).

Unfortunately, Basecamp isn’t that project management and collaboration tool.

Here are six significant limitations of Basecamp:

(Click on the links below to jump to a specific limitation)

1. Limited project views 

You gotta stay relevant to the times you’re in, right? 

You can use a Kanban board or Gantt chart in the modern project management realm to manage schedules and get better project results.  

But it looks like Basecamp didn’t receive the memo. 

It’s been 15+ years, and the tool still uses to-do lists to manage projects. You’ll have to rely on a third-party integration to use Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and other project management features.

But why go for Basecamp and its expensive integrations when you can have it all with ClickUp

clickup devices

ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated productivity and project management apps, used by super-productive teams in small and large companies.

Unlike Basecamp, ClickUp doesn’t restrict you to to-do lists. It offers a wide variety of project management features, suitable for teams of all sizes. 

For starters, ClickUp makes project organization a breeze with its easy-to-use Hierarchy Structure and Simple Layout

And here’s the main course:

ClickUp solution: flexible project views

Looking at things from different perspectives is essential, especially when your eye is on better project results. 

And that’s why ClickUp gives you a host of different Workspace views to choose from, like:

clickup workload view

2. No task priorities

Basecamp’s to-do list lets you create tasks for your project. 

However, various tasks will have different priorities. Sorta like how cheese is more important than garlic when cooking lasagna. 🧀

Unfortunately, Basecamp doesn’t let you prioritize tasks. Team members could end up spending time on a low-priority task instead of an urgent one, which could derail your entire project. 

ClickUp solution #1: Task Priorities 

When learning something, you might use highlighters to mark important words.

ClickUp makes use of something like that. It gives you four color-coded flags to indicate task priority:

  • Urgent (red)
  • High (yellow)
  • Normal (blue)
  • Low (grey)

With a quick look at your tasks, you’ll know what needs urgent attention and what can wait for later. 

clickup priorities

3. Limited progress tracking functionality 

Remember Basecamp’s hill chart?

Well, it has a major problem. 

And we aren’t talking about the manual effort required to update it each time. 

The real issue here is that you could end up with inaccurate data as each member could feel differently about the current progress. For example, someone might feel that 50% of the task is complete and update the chart accordingly when only 30% has been actually completed.

homer i don't feel good

If you don’t want your entire project to tumble downhill, you need a project management tool that lets you track the progress of multiple projects accurately. You need ClickUp. 

ClickUp solution #1: Custom Statuses

Every project has unique stages. 

For example, a software development project may need planning, testing, and deployment phases. On the other hand, a sales project may need stages like prospecting, negotiation, etc.

With Custom Statuses, you can track the progress of each phase the way you want to. You can create a customized workflow that suits both your team and project.

custom statuses clickup

ClickUp solution #2: Dashboards

Project management is all about seeing the bigger picture. 

That’s why ClickUp’s Dashboards give you a high-level overview of everything that’s going on in your Workspace. It’s the best way to monitor project progress and identify bottlenecks.

You can also add Sprint widgets like Burnups charts, Burndown charts, Cumulative Flow diagrams, and Velocity charts to analyze your project progress in real-time.

clickup dashboard

4. No native time tracking features

Tracking project time is essential to bill your clients accurately and gain insights into your team’s productivity.  

Unfortunately, Basecamp doesn’t have any native time tracking features. If you want to track the time spent on tasks, you’ll have to go for a Basecamp integration. 

arrested development dismissive

ClickUp solution #1: Native Time Tracking 

With ClickUp’s built-in global timer, you won’t have to leave the app or use a third-party app to track time. 

Just start and stop the timer for a relevant task from any device you’re logged in. ClickUp will automatically track your hours down to the second. 

time tracking clickup

Already have a favorite time tracking app?

No worries. ClickUp integrates with several time trackers like Time Doctor, Everhour, and Clockify for added functionality. 

And no, you won’t have to pay for these integrations. 

ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan comes with 50+ native integrations! Take notes, Basecamp. 😏 

ClickUp solution #2: Time Tracking Widgets

Straight off the bat, ClickUp offers you several Time Tracking Widgets that you can add to your Dashboard.

You get Widgets like:

  • Time Reporting: visualize all your time entries with different filters
  • Billable Report: see only the billable project time
  • Time Estimated: quickly view time as a team resource for managing projects
  • Time Tracked: know how much time each team member has tracked
  • Timesheet: see time tracked for a given week, month, or any custom range

This way, you won’t have to spend time worrying about where all the time went!

clickup time sheets

Wanna learn how to use your time more effectively? 

Check out our guide on how to use time tracking to finish projects faster.

5. No advanced customization options

While Basecamp seems like an iron-clad tool, it’s got a pretty big chink in its armor. 

What do we mean?

Since Basecamp’s pretty simple, it doesn’t offer many customization options. 

However, different departments need to customize their projects and workflows to reflect their needs accurately. Unfortunately, Basecamp doesn’t offer much in this department.

ClickUp solution: intuitively customizable 

Remember Custom Statuses in ClickUp?

Well, that’s not the only thing you can customize. 😉

Here’s a quick look at what else you can customize in ClickUp:  

  • Custom Fields: add additional data to your projects to manage them the way you want
  • Custom Roles: create a well-organized workflow with specific user roles
  • Custom Notifications: choose how and when you receive notifications from ClickUp
start and due dates clickup

6. Expensive pricing plans

Basecamp’s paid plan costs $99/month.

The problem?

Not only is it expensive but it’s also a flat rate. You’ll have to pay the same amount even if your team has four members or 40 members.

that's not fair

Sometimes simplicity comes at a cost. 🤷

On top of that, Basecamp’s free personal plan only lets you manage three projects!

ClickUp solution: flexible pricing plans

ClickUp’s Free Forever Plan is enough to kick Basecamp out of the water. You get unlimited projects, unlimited users, and a wide variety of awesome features for free. 🤩

And instead of a flat fee, ClickUp’s paid plans start as low as $5/month per user with features like unlimited file storage. As the pricing is on a per-user basis, you get your money’s worth. 

But that’s not all. 😛

Here are even more reasons why ClickUp is the ultimate Basecamp alternative:

Time to Break Camp

Sure, Basecamp is simple and has some decent project management and team collaboration features.

But is it a fantastic, all-in-one project management solution?

Nope. 

A robust project management app like ClickUp offers you advanced functionality and a lot more flexibility. From features like recurring tasks and 100+ Automations to task Dependencies, ClickUp is the ultimate Basecamp alternative.

Try ClickUp for free today to experience what the best project management software can do for you. No strings attached. 😊

andy surprised

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