Basecamp Review 2023: Is Basecamp Project Management Good?
Does Basecamp even need an introduction? After all, the project management vendor has been in the game since 2004.
In this Basecamp review, we'll discuss the newest version of Basecamp called Basecamp 3. We'll take a look at what the Basecamp project management software is, its main features, and some of the pros and cons of using the tool.
If this tool is known for anything, it’s for doing things differently. But is it better than other players, like say Asana or Wrike?
Basecamp review 2023: Is Basecamp any good?
This Basecamp software review says yes! The magic of Basecamp is it works for everyone involved. Owners and execs can get the pulse of what's everyone doing at the company. Managers can identify whether teams are on track to complete their tasks. Employees can see everything that's on their plate.
At first look, Basecamp looks very different from other applications in the project management market. You won't find Kanban boards or Gantt charts. Instead, you'll find a range of communication features like message boards and group chats, project management tools like to-do lists, and collaboration tools like automatic check-ins.
In general, as a project management tool, Basecamp ranks among the best. But it is a more lightweight option, best suited for small to medium-sized organizations. It comes in two different plans, including a free forever plan.
Another great thing about the software is its ease of use. It has a user-friendly interface that's quite straightforward, intuitive, and friendly enough for less tech-savvy users. And the range of diverse features means you can use Basecamp as your core work management platform and don't need to rely on other tools in conjunction.
If you're working with remote teams, you'll be happy to hear the system allows for both synchronous and asynchronous discussions.
Basecamp pricing plans
First of all, how much does Basecamp cost? Let’s kick off our Basecamp project management review with a review of the Basecamp pricing structure:
How much does Basecamp cost for nonprofits?
Basecamp nonprofit pricing is discounted. Nonprofits, charities, teachers, and students will receive a 10% discount.
You can check out Basecamp discounts on the vendor’s site . There you'll find all the info you need to get reduced pricing.
Are there any Basecamp coupon codes or promo discount vouchers?
We went ahead and did a detailed research, but it seems there are no Basecamp coupon codes or discount vouchers available at this time. These do come up periodically, so you can always keep checking the vendor website (and social media) for deals.
Basecamp overview: what is Basecamp project management & What is Basecamp used for?
Some reviews call it a project management platform. Other reviewers identify it as a work management platform. Some even call it a collaboration tool.
So what is Basecamp software?
As we mentioned earlier, Basecamp doesn't resemble any other tool you've seen before. If we compare Wrike with Asana, those two tools' interfaces and features are almost identical. But not Basecamp.
The software identifies itself as an all-in-one toolkit for working remotely. This is because it has a wealth of diverse tools that support remote work, like built-in collaboration tools, project management features, and cloud storage functionality.
Although it overlaps with project management tools, it doesn't come with standard project management features like resource management, budgeting, or time tracking. It's also better than communication platforms like Slack, considering it comes with project management features like to-do lists and schedules.
In short, it's an online collaboration tool that helps people manage their work and communicate with each other. There's nothing like it. It balances work management and communication evenly.
If you want to use it as a project management solution, you certainly can. The software lets you create separate projects, create tasks within projects, assign tasks to one or multiple users, add due dates to tasks, add comments, and even attach files to each task.
The plus side is you'll also get a range of collaboration features, on top of project management features, that eliminates the need for third-party tools. While other tools limit communication to comments on tasks, Basecamp provides group chat, message boards, and pings (private messages).
Instead of spreading out work across multiple platforms like Asana, Slack, and Google Drive, you can use Basecamp and centralize your work in one single platform. In the long term, opting for Basecamp may prove to be more cost-effective and time-saving.
Basecamp free version vs paid: what’s the difference?
Compared to other tools that offer several plans, Basecamp has only two. There's a free plan and one paid plan that features a flat rate.
Basecamp Personal is the freemium version which is great if you're a student, freelancer, or solopreneur. If you opt for the Basecamp free plan, you'll get everything you need for light use, including three projects, 20 users, and 1GB of storage space.
Basecamp Business is the paid version of the software. Instead of paying on a per-user basis, you pay a $99 monthly flat fee, regardless of the number of users.
The paid plan unlocks more advanced features like unlimited projects, client access, project templates, and priority support. You can have as many projects and teams as you wish; there are no additional costs or hidden fees.
The good news is that you can also pay annually. The annual plan will cost you $999, or $83.25 per month.
Basecamp features list
The main Basecamp features are:
Basecamp communication features
Basecamp task management features
Basecamp collaboration features
Basecamp reporting features
Basecamp communication features
The Message Board is where you can make announcements, pitch ideas, ask questions, ask for feedback, and say anything you want everyone on the team to hear.
Each project or team gets its own Message Board. All the messages you'll exchange here will be related to that specific project or team.
The Message Board comes with great functionality. For example, you can classify messages into categories like Announcement, FYI, Pitch, Question, and Heartbeat. Additionally, you can create your own categories. You can then filter messages by category to quickly find what you're looking for.
Another fantastic functionality is that you can change the sort order. By default, the most recent messages appear at the top. You can change this and have all posts appear alphabetically, for example.
And get this: you can change the color of your text, highlight it, add headings and bulleted lists, and even embed images.
Campfire is a chat feature you can use to communicate with team members in real-time. Every Project and Team has its own Campfire room. You can use the room to ask work-related questions, although the room also works for more casual conversations.
You can share interesting links, vacation pictures, or discuss current events. It’s basically Basecamp social media for internal.
This feature also comes with great functionality. For example, when writing a message, you'll see a formatting toolbar that lets you add clarity and emphasis to your messages like bold, italic, colors, hyperlinks, bulleted lists, and more. You can even send emojis.
If you want to say something to a specific person, you can use the @mention function; they'll receive a notification immediately.
And the best thing is that Campfire supports sounds. The sound commands begin with /play. This is a fun way to greet your team members or comment on their messages.
All of these features make Basecamp one of the best team chat apps as well.
If the Message Board was a great place for sharing announcements and Campfire was the room for more casual conversations, Pings are private chats with one person or a few. This feature is accessible from the navigation menu at the top of the screen.
Basecamp task management features
Every Project or Team you create has a to-do list inside. This feature is a great way to manage all the tasks related to a specific project or team. Also super useful if you’ve picked up Basecamp for personal use.
You first begin by creating a list. Lists can have a name and description. In the description, you can add text, links, images, etc. Once you create a list, you can start populating it with tasks.
Each to-do task can have a name, description, assignee, due date or a span of dates, notes, attachments, and more.
You can rearrange items on the list, assign multiple people to a single task, and even make tasks recurring. You can decide how often this task should repeat and how long it should repeat for. To-dos can be set up to repeat every day, every week, every other week, or every year.
Basecamp collaboration features
Docs and Files
Every Basecamp Project and Team has a space where you can share documents, files, and images. These docs and files will be specific to the Project or Team, so it'll be easy for those involved to find what they're looking for. Consider this as a central repository for all resources related to a specific Project or Team.
The software lets you add files in several different ways. You can add files directly from your device or link to your documents and files in Adobe Creative Cloud, Airtable, Basecamp, Box, Dropbox, Figma, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Invision, Notion, OneDrive, and Zoho.
You can even organize your files into separate folders. Another great functionality is the option to create docs in real life. For example, let's say you're in a meeting and have to take notes. You can simply open a new document and start writing. You can choose who should be notified about your post.
If you feel like you’re often wasting time in status meetings, you’ll be happy to hear Basecamp comes with a fantastic feature called Automatic Check-Ins.
This feature enables managers to create custom questions for team members to answer in their own time. You can choose to ask team members questions on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You can even filter who gets to see the questions you send. You can ask your entire team, specific team members, or special groups.
For example, you can send daily check-ins to ask team members what they’re working on today. You can even add a fun element and ask everyone to send a picture of their lunch. Once per week, you can ask people to take a picture of their workspace. Once a month, you can ask people to share a good recipe or a book they're reading.
The Schedule feature is another critical functionality of the app, and every new Project or Team has by default. In this section, you can see all dated to-dos and upcoming events in a Calendar view. By clicking on a certain date, you can see any scheduled tasks and who's involved in completing that task.
You can even add a new event directly from this page.
Events can be a single day, multi-day, or recurring. If you want to give your team more information, you can simply write a note within an event.
If any team member needs to be notified about the event, simply mention them inside the event, and they'll immediately receive a notification.
And the best part is you can sync individual events to your calendar or sync the entire schedule with an internal calendar platform like Google Calendar, Outlook, or Apple Calendar.
Basecamp lets you use its software on iOS and Android. With the mobile apps, you can do everything you can do in the desktop version, applying Basecamp for business use cases in the field.
That includes creating tasks, monitoring projects, accessing documents, viewing Campfire messages, and more. The apps also come with offline mode and are available in multiple languages.
Basecamp has recently introduced Lineup, a new visual timeline view that shows you what you worked on in the past weeks, what you’re working on now, and what’s coming up next in your project.
It’s similar to Asana’s Timeline view. In short, you can see all projects with start and end dates in one place.
Lineup shows you 13 weeks at one time. You can see six weeks in the past, sex weeks ahead, and the current week in the center.
Overall, it’s a good-to-have feature if you’re managing multiple projects and want to stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening across all projects.
Basecamp reporting and analytics features
Hill Charts is a built-in feature within the To-Do section. You can set up this feature to measure how your projects are progressing and whether you’re falling behind schedule.
Here’s the thing: the Hill Charts don’t work automatically. You have to adjust them yourself as you go. Simply move the dots to update project progress by clicking the Update button. When you move the progress dots, you can leave a note about the update to provide some context about the progress you’ve made.
Basecamp is a unique tool with a unique interface and features. Its integrations are also unique. Why? Because in Basecamp, they're called Doors. Basically, you're "opening a Door to other services."
Through Doors, you can integrate Basecamp with 70+ third-party tools and apps.
These tools range from time tracking and invoicing to accounting and reporting tools. Via the Zapier integration, you can integrate Basecamp with 4000+ apps.
Basecamp pros and cons
Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Basecamp:
Low learning curve
Being a lightweight software, Basecamp is easy to adopt. It has a user-friendly interface that's quite straightforward and intuitive. Excellent ease of use means you can onboard new users with minimal training.
Everything in Basecamp happens in Projects and Teams. All Projects and Teams come with the same six tools, but you can remove or add any tool as you see fit. These key Basecamp tools are Campfire (group chat), Message Board, To-do list, Files and Docs, Schedule, and Automatic check-ins. If you think you don't need the automatic check-in tool in your project, for example, you can simply turn it off.
The Home page shows all of your Projects and Teams in one place so that you can easily jump from one Project to another. The navigation menu on the top of the screen is easily visible and contains shortcuts to Basecamp tools like Pings, Notifications, and My Stuff.
Great for small businesses and personal projects
Often, smaller businesses opt for a more heavyweight project management system and end up not using a great deal of the software's features. Even worse, they get lost in the maze of the system's complexity and spend weeks training their team members on how to use the system properly.
That's the perk of signing up for Basecamp if you have a smaller team or need a solution for managing personal projects. You'll find that Basecamp contains just the right number of project management and communication tools any small business needs.
You won't need to hire an external professional to set up the system for you. You can easily find your way around and set up the software's functionality as you see fit.
Most project management/work management tools on the market charge you on a per user per month basis. Some systems like Wrike, for example, charge you based on a group of users. Others may impose a user limit based on your subscription level.
Basecamp is unlike other tools; it has a very straightforward pricing structure. There are only two versions of the software: Personal and Business.
While the Personal plan is free to use, the Business plan is available at a flat fee of $99 per month. That's it! No other fees or hidden costs. You can have as many users as you want and as many projects and teams.
Basecamp is not your typical project management platform. Unlike other PM tools, it comes with features that support real-time communication. This means you won't have to jump from one tool to another to communicate with team members.
Everything you need will be available from one central platform. Other platforms might have this feature available as add-on functionality for which you need to pay extra. But with Basecamp, real-time communication is already included in the monthly price.
If you work with clients, you’ll be glad to hear that Basecamp lets you invite your clients to join your Projects and Teams. When you turn on client access to a project, clients can see everything in that project, including your to-dos and messages. This eliminates the need for long meetings and email chains.
Limited project views
Basecamp focuses more on improving communication between team members instead of offering comprehensive project monitoring features. Unlike other platforms that offer different project views like Kanban boards and Gantt charts, Basecamp shows your tasks in a list view by default.
In addition, it has recently introduced a feature called Lineup that presents your tasks in a visual timeline, something like Asana's Timeline feature, but that's pretty much it.
You'll have to integrate Basecamp with a third-party tool if you want to add a Kanban board or a Gantt chart functionality.
It may be too simple for more complex projects
Basecamp is a more lightweight tool that’s ideal for managing personal projects or smaller teams. If you’re a growing business or an established enterprise, you may find Basecamp is too light for your needs.
The software lacks advanced features like resource management, budgeting, time tracking, and invoicing.
The flat fee pricing may not be suitable for smaller teams of only a few people
We have already discussed Basecamp’s convenient flat fee of $99. However, the downside of the flat rate is that it might be a bit too high for smaller businesses. The flat rate might be ideal for medium-sized teams with at least 10 users.
For example, if you have 15 people on your team, the monthly price per user comes down to $6.6. Compared to tools like Asana and Wrike, Basecamp would be a bargain. But if you have five people, the price per person per month would be $20.
The system can feel slightly siloed
The software may feel somewhat siloed because Basecamp organizes work into separate Projects and Teams. Some users may find it cumbersome to jump from one Space to another, constantly switching from one chat space to another.
The good news is that the My Stuff section that you can find on the top of the screen gives you a higher-level view of all of your tasks and notifications.
Basecamp complaints & praise (from real Basecamp customer reviews)
We looked through hundreds of Basecamp 3 reviews to see what real Basecamp customers are saying about the software. Upon reading the reviews, it seems like many users like how it is very easy to add, organize and discuss tasks within Basecamp's interface. Another perk of the software that users like is the control of user permissions.
Users like they can manage which projects and resources team members and clients have access to. There’s a lot of good praise for the communication features like Campfire and Pings that enable smooth communication between team members.
People say the daily check-in questions and reminders kept their team engaged and updated. Some reviews of Basecamp say how great it is that the software allows for both synchronous and asynchronous discussions, which is quite helpful when you’re working with offshore teams.
On the downside, some users complain about the lack of project view options. They'd like to see a built-in Gantt chart option and Kanban boards like other task management tools have. Other users complain about the lack of time tracking and budgeting features and having to integrate the software with third-party software to get this functionality.
For others, the software feels a bit overwhelming when managing larger projects. Some felt a bit swamped with comments and messages and jumping from one Space to another.
Review of Basecamp support
Basecamp offers an extensive knowledge base that contains how-to guides, help articles, and video tutorials. A FAQ section also contains quick answers to the most common questions.
For more customer support, you can contact a customer support representative by email, call, or chat. Customer support is available 24 hours/day, Monday through Friday. On weekends, you can reach them from 9 am to 6 pm Central Time. Basecamp informs you of the current response time when you submit a ticket.
Is Basecamp worth it? Final points
After reading this extensive review post, the majority of you are probably wondering:
Is Basecamp worth it?
And we say, “yes, definitely”, but under the right circumstances.
What we mean by “the right circumstances” is that in order for a work management system to work for you, it has to fit your needs and budget, among other things.
For example, if you want a simple way to organize your projects and teams, track individual and team activities, as well as interact with clients, Basecamp is a top-notch tool for you.
On the other hand, if you like working in Kanban boards and need a tool that comes with time tracking features, you’re better off looking elsewhere. Why use Basecamp if your workflow preferences don’t align?
So let’s help you make up your mind by saying this: Basecamp is a good option if you’re a medium-sized team of no less than ten people and are on the lookout for a single platform that supports project management, team collaboration, and remote work.
If you still can’t decide, consider taking advantage of the free 30-day trial that lets you explore the full extent of the software’s features. And there are, of course, Basecamp alternatives to think about. It’s always worth scoping similar tools on the scene.
Who is Basecamp owned by?
Basecamp is owned by a company called 37signals. The company was founded in 1999 by Jason Fried, Carlos Segura, and Ernest Kim as a web design company. The founders subsequently built their own simple project management app to improve organization within their company. Thus Basecamp was born in 2004.
Is Basecamp a CRM?
No, Basecamp is an all-in-one toolkit for working remotely, but it’s not a CRM. It comes with a wealth of diverse tools that support remote work, like built-in collaboration tools, project management features, and cloud storage functionality. Integrations with dedicated CRM software platforms are available. however.
Basecamp 3 vs 2, what’s the difference?
Basecamp 2 comes with some specific features that Basecamp 3 lacks, and vice versa. Basecamp 2 has features like the traditional grid view calendar and more third-party integrations. It’s also differently priced from Basecamp 3. Basecamp introduces new features like Campfire, Message Boards, new To-do Lists, and improved Client Access.