16 April 2008

How Basecamp could save your life

Dear Dorothy,

Small-ish software houses (like the one I work for) suffer terribly when we get a big project. You see when a company is started, the guy running the show (my boss and MD of the company) usually knows how to manage everything himself. He has all fingers in all pies.

However, this poses a problem when you then have to start sharing knowledge and resources, creating stable, trackable communications, testing and reporting. Even worse when the client gets all "hands-y" and is all over you like last Sunday's gravy accident.

The key factor above all else is cost. For a small business it's just not an option to go out and spend thousands on just-what-we-need bug tracking, centralised communication system with permissions-based remote access, project management software. Even if you can piece these bits together from really handy 'freebies', it's still at a cost of time - installing, configuring, and getting all these separate and disparate parts to work together.

So how does a small business manage? Muddle through with emails, recorded phone calls, and endless reams of jotter pad scribbled on and gently growing in the bin?

NO! Use Basecamp you dummy. That's what we've done. Adapting it to our needs has been particularly easy. Ok, so it's not the most efficient method, but it's still better than the alternative. Actually for a small team it works really well. And the client has access too, which is a real bonus.

If you need somewhere to collaborate, please save yourself... use Basecamp!

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