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Basecamp has launched!. Check out the site for a tour of the app w/ screenshots, example uses, and training info (including free Chicago workshops). And it’s free for 1 project plus a 30 day free trial for paying plans.
Thanks for all your wonderful and useful feedback over the past few weeks on the feature previews. We’ve made some changes based on your comments, and plan on tweaking current functionality and adding lots of new features based on customer feedback. We have a lot planned (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 are already in the works), but our ears are open. Wide open.
A few quick and random thoughts…
Basecamp strives to provide the tools for a more human form of project management. With Basecamp it’s not about tons of stats, charts, numbers, and graphs — it’s about two-way communication, conversation, simple scheduling, and to-do lists so you don’t forget the little things (and projects are often comprised of thousands of these little things).
Basecamp is the perfect project management tool for freelancers or small shops that don’t have dedicated project managers. Although plenty of shops with dedicated project managers have already signed up and are using it right now.
Basecamp is yours. There’s no mention of 37signals or even “Basecamp” on your own project site. Plus, you can customize the colors and upload your logo to make it as consistent as possbile with your own brand. We’ve even made sure that all emails that your clients receive from the system (new post notifications, for example) come from your email address, not ours.
You may think your collection of random emails, napkin scribbles, IM chat transcripts, post-it notes, and handwritten notes are organized but what do your clients think? When you work with a client, do they feel like you are organized? Do you they feel like they are important? They’re paying the money, but do they feel like they are in the loop? Basecamp helps make them part of the process.
Project management often suffers when clients aren’t involved. Basecamp brings them into the fold by allowing them to post and comment. It gives them a greater sense of ownership and ends up producing a better end product.
“Projects” just aren’t web development projects. They are group projects (for school, for example), home improvement projects, family projects, “looking for a new job” projects, “keeping track of what the competition is doing” projects, and more. Basecamp can be used by all sorts of people for all sorts of projects.
Basecamp can be a great sales tool. Set up a project site for a client and include the URL and log-in information with your proposal. Show them you’re already on the ball — even before you get the project.
Jim Coudal said this about Basecamp’s client retention abilities: “Not only does Basecamp improve client communications it also improves client loyalty. Once clients start using the tool they’ll never want to go back to the old way of doing business. Your client’s experience becomes completely proprietary. This leap forward in project tracking becomes a large part of their relationship with your firm and they’ll have to think long and hard about giving that up if they decide to switch creative resources.”
We worked hard to make Basecamp affordable. The Basic plan, which allows you to manage up to 10 active projects at a time, only costs about 65 cents a day. 65 cents a day to keep you organized and your clients in the loop. And the Premium plan, which allows you to manage unlimited projects, is under $2/day.
Basecamp isn’t revolutionary. There’s nothing brand new about blog-like posts, to-do lists, and milestones. But, it’s the integration of the three ways you think about a project (what to say, what needs to be done, and keeping track of the little frustrating things that often get lost in the shuffle), that makes Basecamp special. Plus, it’s very fast and streamlined. No bloat. Lean code. CSS/XHTML. Intuitive and useful. The overall experience is the appeal.
Basecamp incorporates new technology when it’s useful, not just to flaunt it. RSS feeds let you stay on top of your projects without having to stay logged into Basecamp (we have a lot more planned for the RSS integration angle). Auto-updating Apple iCal integration allows you to subscibe to your milestones/schedules and to-do lists. You can even “complete” milestones or check off to-do list items from within iCal. And, since iCal can sync with Palms, and there are RSS newsreaders for mobile devices, you can take a lot of your Basecamp with you.
So, that’s it for now. We’ll be posting here and at Everything Basecamp often. Stay tuned for new feature announcements, updates, and observations.
And, of course, thanks for everything and good luck on your projects (hopefully managed with Basecamp ;)