I find it astonishing that I am writing this: I have found a project management software that actually saves me time and makes my life easier. It is 37 signals’ basecamp software. Basecamp website.
Basecamp was recommended by several folks as I searched around. We were using the established and familiar but otherwise horrifying timeassistant, and I checked out the open source phprojekt and dotproject and didn’t find them to suit my purposes. I’m happy with our basecamp subscription.
Things we now use it for
- Communicating task requirements (storycard titles and descriptions) and status
- It also provides for template to-do lists (common tasks can be stored and brought into new projects)
- Sharing files
- Posting/sharing milestone dates
- Time tracking (only available with the paid subscription)
- within projects.
- across projects.
- and my favorite – one click to review the time elapsed on a particular task to date.
- exporting to exporting time to csv files for further slicing and dicing in spreadsheet software.
Things it isn’t
It isn’t a work authorization system, except in the most blunt way. I can restrict people to certain projects, but not to tasks within a project. It won’t prevent someone from charging time on someone else’s storycard, this has to be enforced manually, after the fact. It does not handle cards assigned to multiple people exceptionally well. I still use the corkboards for ordering tasks: basecamp provides no means to order tasks across projects, and only a weak way to order tasks within a project. It doesn’t automate any form of estimation or planning. It isn’t a communication tool on its own. I have yet to get a client very interested in using it.