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Review - BaseCamp Web-Based Project Management Services

BaseCamp is Well-Known by Name, But Lacks Many Important Features

About.com Rating 1.5 Star Rating

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Is BaseCamp all it's cracked up to be?

Is BaseCamp all it's cracked up to be?

BaseCamp
One of the most popular choices for project management is BaseCamp. The company has a strong consumer following, but has severe limitations when it comes to interacting with clients.

Overview

BaseCamp is a web-based project management solution used by thousands. You can add "CampFire" to support live chat, "BackPack" to organize certain aspects of your business, and "HighRise" to manage important contacts. All these services can quickly add up to expenses for services other companies offer at better rates.

Features and Pricing

Compared to other web-based solutions BaseCamp is missing a lot of important "bells and whistles." For example, it lacks issue tracking, project portfolio management, and "read-only" client access. Their "FAQs" does not include simple answers that first-time users are likely to ask (i.e., how to mark items as done.)

The user interface (UI) lacks polish and the ability to really customize the look and feel. Although you can create templates for milestones, BaseCamp falls short when it comes to creating customized looks for clients (or internal users.)

When you create accounts for clients, the default setting puts clients on BaseCamp's email list of promotional announcements. Clients will have to opt out on their own.

BaseCamp is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and Russian.

There is no harm in trying BaseCamp for free; cancellation is simple and instantaneous. Given its features and pricing structure, be sure to test drive other companies before selecting BaseCamp.

Likes

  • There are many aps that can be used in conjunction with BaseCamp, however, you are on your own to set them up.

  • Time tracking (although invoicing would be a nice feature to add.)

  • No hassle, 30-day free trial. You need to use your credit card, but canceling is instant and a breeze, and you get full access to all features in the trial version.
  • Solid company that is not likely to go under - low risk of losing your data, or security breaches.

Dislikes

  • If you have never used any type of project management tools before, BaseCamp can be confusing. Although the features are fairly stripped down, and the user interface is very plain, there are no good tutorials to refer to.

  • The online support community allows users to post questions - many go unanswered. Finding answers in the search box often fails to match even common searches (like "how to mark milestone done:) with any results. There is no at-a-glance for their Q&A, and to find answers manually involves a lot of scrolling. Leave the page to view an answer and you are back at the top of the user forum rather than where you left of so the painful search process starts all over.

  • This not a good solution for people who want to allow clients access to information. Currently, BaseCamp does not allow you to restrict client permissions to "read only." If you allow clients access, they can alter data and see things you may not want them to see.

  • Cannot add historical data and backdate completed work items.

  • Does not offer conferencing or chat to connect live with employees or clients (however, you can purchase additional services to add "chat" features.

  • Does not offer discounts or free services to nonprofits, while this is not a real issue and you cannot really rate a company lower for not offering free services, nonprofits can find free and higher end services elsewhere.

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