Checking Out Basecamp

Thursday, January 19, 2006, at 02:20PM

By Eric Richardson

I know I've heard of Basecamp many times over the past couple months, but only sort of in the periphery -- one of those things where you know the name, but you don't know much more than that. Today, though, I was in the market for a system to manage collaboration between a few people here and two different clients as we tweak and bugfix an app that'll be going live in the next couple weeks. I found that Basecamp was actually what had been used for a previous project with different clients, so I took some time today to play around and see what all the hype's about.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed at first. It was sort of a mind-set thing... I went in expecting a system structured around "Todo", only to find that to be a fairly small aspect of the app. I wanted todo items to allow comments and multiple aspects, and none of that was present.

But I think that's ok.

Basecamp wants your hash-out comment type bits to happen under the Messages section, and for only action items to go into the todo list. That has a logic to it, though there are certainly cases where you'd be well served to have the ability to link actionable items to the lead-up discussion.

I'm particularly interested to see whether the clients actually use the Basecamp site, and if so whether they understand it. I added some introductory text to the Overview page, so we'll see if that helps. I just set the project up today, and client's logged in but hasn't done anything yet.