BASECAMP IS NOT FREE. It is subscription-ware, costing a minimum of $100/month. For most small teams, this is significantly more than their competitors, for significantly less features.
Basecamp is a nice app, with features that show maturity and refinement. Their online text editor is well thought-out, producing online documents that are easy to read.. The built-in team chat is solid and reliable. Being able to upload project files and do some basic version-control in-app is also handy. The features the app does have are good, and reliable.
Unfortunately, the company has a well-known philosophy of ‘underwhelming users’, and consistently ‘delivering less’ than what is asked. You’d think that for a product with 15 years of experience in the marketplace, they’d be able to offer a flexible, adaptable tool, with modular features that could be hand-selected to suit a wide variety of teams and use-cases. No. Not their philosophy. ‘Give them as little as possible’ is what we have here., with even features that are nowadays considered ‘basic’ in any project management software being absent.
Do you want a Gantt chart to see task dependencies and date slides? Sorry, there’s no Gantt chart, and no task dependency. Do you need to see an overview of where your 10 projects are? Sorry, there’s no general overview. In fact, the more you use Basecamp, the more the lack of features and functionality start to weight you down. Chat doesn’t have video or screen-sharing, so you’ll eventually have to go back to Slack, or Skype. There’s no in-document commenting, there is no easy, integrated calendar,, getting clients and suppliers to participate in projects is cumbersome - compared to Notes, Airtable or even Quip. Integration with external tools - like Gitlab - is a chore, and will often require hand-coding of an api bot. And just forget about any functionality at all that is not squarely related to ticking off tasks in a project - like a built-in address book, or even cost-measuring. No, that would be ‘too much’ under the Basecamp ethos.
When we look at tools like Plutio - with built-in project management, light CRM, as well as proposal and invoice management - at a fraction of the cost of Basecamp, we start to feel the difference. But most importantly; all the new generation of online tools - like Coda.io, Monday and Notion - have a philosophy of being flexible, feature-full and good integration with external tools. This allows the user to custom-build solutions that are better suited to their business model and workflow - rather than having to change their processes to fit a stubbornly limited tool.
Basecamp is an expensive, outdated tool, based on a lazy development philosophy that has not stood the test of time. I’m afraid the few nice features it has will not be able to save it from its overall lack of functionality, lack of flexibility, lack of integration, and high cost.