Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Resource #2: Basecamp

My friend Tom told me about this collaboration software and after two days I don't know how I managed putting together a grant without it. Tom works for a start-up company that has a handful of employees seldom in the same place at the same time. Things change rapidly and everyone needs to be in the loop on decisions. As he described how they use basecamp I realized its value to me.

Putting together a grant requires input from a team of people, all busy with their real jobs. And when the grant is for a coalition...well, you know how complex the communication becomes. Keeping track of who's providing what and making sure they know when you need it. Keeping everyone apprised of the program changes (oh, no, that component got dropped 3 days ago. The budget wouldn't stretch that far.)

Well, Basecamp has messages, to-do's, milestones, writeboards for brainstorming and drafting. It's web based so you can access it from anywhere. There's a free version that handles one project at a time. That's what I thought I'd use but I quickly realized the benefit of having several seperate projects going. And my clients have found it simple to use and really seem to appreciate it. (Do any of you want to comment from the client side?)

Take some time to look at it. Read the case studies. Sign up for the free level to try it out. You'll like it, too. It's worth five, maybe even ten, resource entries.

1 comment:

Britta said...

I love basecamp, too! The non-profit I'm a board member of has an account, with 3 "project areas" - one for board, one for staff, and one for students. Some of us love it, but the people who don't even like the Internet in general aren't so into it.
It's been challenging to wean people off of group emails. Basecamp has a feature that allows you to have each person notified via email when you post a message on your basecamp project page, and I personally find this annoying, because what ends up happening is that most people reply to that email notification instead of actually going to the basecamp page - and thus, miss the files that are posted, writeboards, etc.