Basecamp can’t be everything to everyone — when you err on the side of simplicity, you have to say no a lot.
But when customers take the time to explain what they’re looking for and ask whether it’s possible, we want to give them something other than “nope, sorry!” So we end up suggesting a number of workarounds. Here are some of the most common.
Users sometimes miss the to-do list template feature from Basecamp Classic — the new Basecamp has templates, but not to-do list templates. So we suggest the following:
- Create a new project template that includes the to-do list you want to be able to reuse
- Create a new project from that template
- Move the to-do list into the project you need it in
- Delete the new project you created from the template.
The Email-In feature also lets you add files, discussions, and to-do lists to your project via email. So you can also keep a draft email with the to-do lists you want to re-use, and email it to your new project.
Sometimes folks have already created a project, but they want to apply a template to it. They can use the same create-a-project-from-a-template/move-things-over/delete-the-new-project process to add content from the template to the existing project.
This is another popular request from customers, especially those who were familiar with Basecamp Classic. That’s something we’ve explored for the new Basecamp, but at this time there still isn’t a way to upload multiple versions of a document.
In the meantime, you can upload the original file like normal to the Files section. The revision to that file can be uploaded as a comment on that original file (along with any notes about the new version). This way, you keep the original file and the latest version is always in the most recent comment.
Moving a single task from one project to another
You can move whole to-do lists from one project to another, but there’s no way to copy an individual task from one project to another (since Basecamp doesn’t know which destination list to put the task in). But you can:
- Create a new list in the original project
- Drag and drop the task into the new list
- Click the new list’s title, then use the Move feature to put it in the destination project.
Assigning a to-do to more than one person
There’s currently no way to assign a to-do to a group, because users have different preferences about what should happen when the task is complete. Should every person to whom it’s assigned have to check it off? Does only one person need to, for it to be marked as complete? We’re still unsure how or whether to approach that one.
So for now, the best solution is to leave the to-do unassigned, then add a comment to it. In the comment, you can notify all the people who need to be involved.
Sub-projects and sub-tasks
People sometimes ask for a way to list multiple small projects under one larger one, or break a single task into multiple smaller ones. For simplicity’s sake, there’s only one level for projects and to-dos in Basecamp, but there are other ways to organize and prioritize them.
For groups of projects you want to keep together, we recommend using a common preface or emoji. For example, we use “BCX” to name any project that relates to the newer version of Basecamp (“BCX: Android”; “BCX: Support”), which helps us group all those projects together for quick reference. (Check out this video for other project organization ideas.)
And while there are no subtasks, you can add a comment to-do, in which you can outline everything the to-do entails. This video does a pretty great job illustrating all the ways you can organize to-dos in Basecamp.
In some cases, we get enough requests that we ultimately make a change. That was the case with Google Docs, Client Projects and the majority of the improvements we’ve made to our products over the years. When the same issues crop up again and again, it forces us to take a look at how things work, ask if there might be a better way, and take the time to fix it.
Do you use any workarounds in Basecamp? Let us know in the comments!