Managing Projects with Basecamp!

We’re in a little Basecamping here!

backpack for camping

Well we’re not going to talk about base camping in the wilderness but about Basecamp! A cloud-based project management tool designed for small businesses or individual project managers. Before we begin tackling how is Basecamp as a project management tool, let’s take a backward history of what is a project management and how it begun.

A little project management history

Project management was first applied in the 1950’s by organizations of engineers, architects and master builders with complex engineering projects. In order to minimize the complexities and maximize their production they used tools and techniques. Until then project management became a standard tool for the working industry.

Henry Gantt, the father of planning and control techniques is widely known for his Gantt Chart tool. Gantt Charts, which are used for scheduling projects from beginning to end and serves as a time control chart for the planners until completion of the project is done. Another forefather of project management was Henry Fayol. He was the key theorist of the five management principles as planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating activities and controlling performance. Their works are the forerunner of modern project management tools which became the discipline of the working society.

Project management definition

I’ve told you a little history of project management but what exactly is a project management? Project management is how you discipline yourself or your group in pursuing the completion of a particular project in a given time by organizing, managing, controlling, securing and leading resources.

Project management techniques and tools

Now, let’s talk about how to apply project management discipline. According to the expert, almost all businesses big or small applies these breakdown of management process and as itemized below:

Project Management Process

  1. Agree precise specification for the project – ‘Terms of Reference’. These are the project specifications, which should be an accurate description of what the project aims to achieve, and the criteria and flexibilities involved, its parameters, scope, range, outputs, sources, participants, budgets and timescales.
  2. Plan the project – time, team, activities, resources, financials – using suitable project management tools.
  3. Communicate the project plan to your project team – and to any other interested people and groups.
  4. Agree and delegate project actions.
  5. Manage and motivate – inform, encourage, enable the project team.
  6. Check, measure, monitor, review project progress – adjust project plans, and inform the project team and others.
  7. Complete project – review and report on project performance; give praise and thanks to the project team.
  8. Project follow-up – train, support, measure and report results and benefits.

If you are interested to know of the details, click this site http://www.businessballs.com/project.htm for complete description of the process.

This sums up my project management information, let’s proceed to the king of the topic, which is the Basecamp!

Basecamp as a project management tool

Basecamp was launched in 2004 and developed by 37 Signals. It is a cloud-based, no-install application which offers easy setup for your project management. Let’s put those easy setups in a list:

  • It has a to-do-list feature where you tabulate all aspects of your project.
  • Set schedule for your project’s completion.
  • Set up milestones.
  • It has a text document like a notepad running inside Basecamp where you put all your drafts or pieces of ideas.
  • You can add all those people who are involve in your project and set which “to-do” part they are tasks and set their individual schedules.
  • Basecamp has a send message feature which your group can use to update and follow up each other about the progress of the ongoing project.
  • You can control the e-mails you only wish to receive. You will see messages that are important to you and avoid receiving those that are not related to your tasks, which fill up your inbox too.

  • You can track if everybody is on time.
  • You have the ability to select only the people who can see the full details of your project or just select which tasks are to be seen by each member of the group.
  • If you have a repetitive project tasks, you can use the Basecamp’s project template. Reuse this template to avoid starting from scratch with a new project.

  • Use Basecamp to communicate effectively and seamlessly with your group not only through messages and writeboards but you can also chat with them with Basecamp’s Campfire chatter box.
  • You can review all discussions and previous to-do’s etc. because they are all saved and archived in their Everything Menu feature.

  • You can share files – upload and download. Basecamp is also integrated with Dropbox application.
  • It has Basecamp Mobile, which is the version for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 apps.

Impressed? Need to know more? then play along with my basic tutorial just below this sentence.

Basecamp tutorial

So, after following my tutorial step by step and you decided this is for me, really for me! Then try reading the Basecamp’s accounts below, which will help you choose the pricing that best suits you.

Basecamp accounts

Basecamp has 45-day free trial period if you want to test the waters first. Below is the screen capture of the pricing provided in their site.

Recommendation

Basecamp is generally accepted as a user-friendly project management tool. If you are looking for a simple tool, try Basecamp you will never be wrong but if your project is much complicated like charts and diagrams are essential, Basecamp cannot deliver this. News is, there are third parties out there that you can use which links to Basecamp.

But keep your fingers cross because the developers of Basecamp are still fine tuning and adding features. Who knows one of these days everything you dreamed of a project management tool will manifest itself in Basecamp’s portal.

References:

http://www.brighthubpm.com/software-reviews-tips/1726-basecamp-review-online-pm-software/
http://www.thewebreviewer.com/basecamp-review.htm#review
http://www.rankreviews.com/project-management/basecamp-review
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372953,00.asp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basecamp_(software)
 
Other image source aside from me:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images>

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About jennyx duarte

Hi there! I'm a graphic designer by profession with a pinch of programming and web stuffs on the side, also currently advancing to SEO/SEM management and blogging mentored by Jomar Hilario, the Philippines' VA guru.

7 comments

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