Basecamp is web-based project management tool that makes project management easy and almost fun. It doesn’t do gant charts or other features required for large projects but for most people it does enough and its easy to use. And because its web based, you can access it from anywhere and work on a project with anyone who has an email address, at any company.
Monthly pricing is based on how many active projects you have (projects can be archived for use later) or how much storage space you use (data such as Word or Excel files can be removed before a project is archived). So several people can work on a project and you can use their lower cost $12 or $24/month service.
Basecamp makes its easy to assign Milestones to people, to create to-do lists, and to create to-do lists templates. Template to-do lists are helpful for repetitive processes. Always have to go through the same 5 steps whenever you setup a new widget for a client? Create a template to-do list for this and then anyone who works on the project can work off this list. Its an easy way to automate a business process.
Basecamp provides lots of different ways for people to communicate about the project they’re working on: comment on a Milestone (an easy way to renegotiate a due date) or create a message about a particular subject and share it with everyone on the project. Its like email but better because all the messages are associated with the project. Basecamp has search capabilities so its easy to find a thread if you forgot what its associated with.
You can change the cost of the Basecamp service on a monthly basis. Turn it down to the $12 month service when projects are light and you don’t have more than 3. And when things pick up upgrade to one of their flavors that allows you to manage 35 or more projects.
Basecamp recently added SSL security to the product for even their free service–lets you manage one project. Starting with the $49/month service they add time tracking which makes it simple for anyone working on a project to track their time.
If you’re managing a 5 million dollar project stick with Microsoft Project but for smaller projects Basecamp is worth a try.