Some Basecamp Tips

Published in General on Monday, December 20th, 2004

Some ideas that we have used that make working with Basecamp a smoother experience.

Basecamping with a large group

We've recently started working with quite a large group of people (~ 20, large for us) and are managing the project with Basecamp. That application is a dream for larger collaborative efforts, and a big thumbs up to 37Signals as they are continually improving the product.

Some tips

While getting the project rolling, we ran into a few issues. There were critical items to post that people needed to be made aware of, and other non-critical posts that we wanted to quietly add to the project so as not to overwhelm new Basecampers (resources and other 'non-urgent' information).

Two little things we tried appear to have kept from overwhelming the new group with too much information:

  1. Creating an "Announcements" message category.
  2. Posting non-essential information as private, and waiting a few days before making it public.

How do these help?

Less e-mail harassment and some added direction

In some periods we have to post several messages, each of them important and critical for reading and discussion.

Instead of e-mailing each post to the group, post them without e-mailing and then announce them all via a single e-mailed post in the announcement category.

In this way, they receive only one e-mail in their inbox. Additionally, you can add any extra information (i.e. this is important, deadline approaching!) should you need to.

After a week or so, when the announcement is no longer relevant, it can be deleted, keeping things 'clean' in the announcement section.

Keeping things focussed

The second tip helps to keep the clients' entry page free of clutter.

Clients generally login to the messages tab, where they see the most recently posted information. By holding non-essential messages private until after a few essential ones have been posted, they won't appear at the top of the messages tab, as they are older messages. This keeps the important messages at the top of the list in the messages window.

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