Basecamp: Project Management Utopia

That is what it says atop the Basecamp web site: Project Management Utopia. And they are not kidding.

I tried the free trial and bought a plan within the same day. Not only is this the cheapest web based project management app I have seen, it is also the easiest to use. The interface the 37signals created for Basecamp is down right elegant.

I have been using Basecamp for my Meancode Media Client Extranet now for four months. I keep finding more and more reasons to like this application.

As I said, they have a free trial. So there is no reason you should not try it out. For me it has kept me more organized with my projects, both business and personal.

The feature set of Basecamp is amazing. The setup is simple, and the benefits outweigh the minimal cost.

You use Basecamp to manage to-do's and milestones, as well as post and receive feedback in a 'messages' area that is rather blog like - not a bad thing.

Setup consists of uploading a logo, setting a name, and a couple optional settings such as message categories and to-do list templates. They have seven default skins for your site, plus you can make a custom skin if you really want to. Setting up FTP settings (so you can add attachments to your posts) was also simple and painless.

The next thing to do is setup the people that will use your site. There are three types of 'people,' you (and employees), contractors, and clients.

Next is to add a project to start managing. This, again, is presented in a clean and easy to understand form.

Setting permissions per project is really easy. You can set which clients have privileges to messages, to-do's and milestones.

I found that the contractors and clients that use my extranet needed minimal instruction on how to use it. Everything is pretty self explanatory.

One of my favorite features is the personal RSS feed. For those of us who love to use RSS, it is wonderful. The only thing I wish Basecamp had was the ability to 'pin' a message to the top of the page, as you can do in message board software.

I could gush for pages about how much I love using Basecamp. The bottom line is that it has forced me to become more organized. And it has done it in a way that makes me happy at the end of the day.

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