The Top 5 Free and Paid Alternatives to Basecamp
It’s a scientific fact that if you work together, you get more done. Even if you think you’re working together on a project, your productivity soars. You don’t want to let the team down.
Amazingly, this effect on productivity continues for several weeks after collaborating on a project. Thus, if you want to increase your team’s productivity, get them to collaborate.
But in a world of individual grit, how do you get your team to work together? The answer is simple. The internet.
Ever since the 1980’s we’ve been striving to connect our world through internet technology. First email, then chat, and lastly video. Now, with intranet virtual work ecosystems, teams can easily collaborate together even across vast distances.
But which virtual work ecosystem do you choose?
You’ve chosen Basecamp because it’s popular. Yet, it seems limited in functionality and you’re wondering if there are better options available.
Below we’re going to talk about Basecamp, but most importantly, we’re going to give you our top picks for a Basecamp alternative. Keep reading to find out.
Basecamp is an online collaboration app for businesses. It’s been around since 2004 and has evolved into Basecamp 3. And it’s one of the most well-known apps out there.
Originally, Basecamp was a project management app. It used time as a benchmark for progress helping you keep track of your dates and your final deliverables. As they evolved, they added more functionality and opened the door for various kinds of collaborative work.
It boasts a flexible, sandbox-style interface. This means there is no set Kanban-style workflow.
By creating message boards and group chats that sync with documents and files. When you log in to your homepage, you’ll have two options: Teams or Projects. Once you click on these, the program siloes you onto cards.
Each card is a collaboration tool. The Campfire is your typical group chat feature reminiscent of Slack. The message board is a forum or social media-like tool where you can post for everyone to see later.
The To-do card, automatic check-ins card, Docs & Files card and Email Forwarding card each allows you to collaborate on projects with your team.
Basecamp’s biggest downfall is this system. Unfortunately, it’s the backbone of the user interface. Like Apple’s OS back in the late 90s, there is no way to see other tabs or windows without closing out of your current card.
Most collaboration apps give you a file-navigation chart on the edge of your screen. This usually allows you to switch quickly between tools and projects. For some reason, Basecamp decided to never implement this feature.
For this reason, Basecamp makes you feel like you’re falling down a rabbit hole. It forces you to climb out just to access another set of collaboration tools.
There is no Basecamp Gantt chart. Instead, you must integrate the software with Gantiffy or something similar.
Basecamp is not free. In fact, it’s fairly expensive for small to medium-sized teams at $99 per month or $999 per year. It does allow you unlimited users and if you opt for the annual fee, you get 1TB of storage.
You can try Basecamp for thirty-days and they require no credit card.
If your team is small, they offer $49 per month with only 250GB of storage.
For larger firms and businesses, it’s fairly priced as you can add as many users as you like. This means the more employees you have, the cheaper this software gets.
For its time, Basecamp was revolutionary. It changed the way we collaborate online. Fifteen years later, we’ve outgrown its dated user interface.
We want to be able to visualize what we’re doing. We want to quickly switch tasks because we work in a fast-paced world. This is why we’re going to examine five Basecamp competitors and tell you which is our top pick.
Basecamp project management doesn’t compare to Bitrix24. It doesn’t include things like Gantt charts, Kanban visual aids, tracking tools, etc that Bitrix24 includes. When it comes to comparisons, there really is no contest here.
Are you looking for a software suite that includes group task management, project planning and management, communication and collaboration, CRM, and client management? It’s all here in Bitrix24’s tool chest.
Collaborating and managing projects in Bitrix24 is like servicing your vintage car in a garage furnished with any tool you’d ever need and more. Need time-tracking? Check. Need task counters, Gantt charts, project reports? Triple check.
Bitrix24’s collaboration features facilitate quick and easy communication. It’s designed to give you all the information you need without tempting you to break your workflow.
Collaborators keep track of their teammates’ tasks by flipping over to the activity stream. This is where they can like, comment, or unfollow various records. The “like” feature allows managers and team members alike to acknowledge actions and announcements without much fanfare.
Unlike programs like Slack, Bitrix24s activity stream feature avoids a culture of “always on and distracted.” You can glean the information you need without the need to prove you’re “involved” by conversing about tasks and projects.
This doesn’t mean there is no chat feature in Bitrix24. The chat feature is useful for direct contact between team members or casual conversations. But the inclusion of an activity stream simplifies communication across your company.
Bitrix24 beats Basecamp when it comes to pricing. If your team is small, then Bitrix24’s free option will help you out tremendously. It gives you access to all the core tools.
If you need more project management tools, consider Bitrix24 Basic plan for $49/moth only. The Standard plan is available for $199/month, you'll get task templates, 100 GB of storage and use of your own logo.
If you need more project management tools and more storage, upgrade to the Professional plan. It’s $199/month.
If you’re sitting there comparing Basecamp Vs. Slack, you’re comparing two very different tools. Slack is the basic cousin of Basecamp. It’s a team communication app more akin to Google Hangouts or Discord.
It’s one of the most popular team communication tools and some people swear by Slack. Slack lovers are like iPhone fans, they are loyal to a fault.
Why then is Slack on our list if it’s just a chatroom tool? Because of its plugins. It’s excellent at integrating with other apps.
Do you need to integrate with your HR software? It likely can. Want a news and media plugin to keep your team informed? They’ve got it.
Slack is essentially the base for a decent collaboration suite. You’ll just need the time to research what you need and learn how to integrate it. After you learn to integrate, you’ll need additional time to learn the tool or plugin.
One word: distraction. All message alerts in Slack are high priority. It’s difficult to stay focused with Slack on in the background especially when you’ve created a private chat group for a specific top secret project.
All channels are equal priority no matter how much you interact with them. If you’re not careful, you’ll get sucked into a conversation about the final episode of Friends and waste productive time.
While Slack does support integrations, it’s fairly barebones on its own. You can share documents and voice chat and video chat. But again, it’s not meant to help you collaborate on large projects with multiple parts. It doesn’t allow you to track deadlines, progress, or deliverables. It really just lets.
Free. That’s the biggest thing it has going for it. Free gets you unlimited users, the ability to integrate, person to person video and voice chat, and 5GB of storage. Unfortunately, if you want to access your messages from a few months ago, you likely won’t be able to. The free version limits search for up to 10,000 messages back.
If you need to use Slack for conference calling (video and voice), want to keep a record of everything anyone on your team ever typed on Slack, and 10 GB of storage per team member, sign up for the “Standard” level. It will cost you $6.67 per user per month if you pay annually.
There’s a Plus plan for $12.50 per user per month if you bill annually.
Microsoft intended their project management software to be the most powerful platform available. They certainly packed in some new and useful technologies. But like its Windows OS, it’s difficult to learn how to make the most of it.
Unlike Basecamp, Project does use Gantt charts. You can easily set up a streamlined visualization of workflows and projects for your team. But the buck doesn’t stop there.
If you’re looking for a great budgeting toolkit, Microsoft Project has it. It allows you to do “Earned Value” calculations for a proposed project. It will help you understand which projects are worth your time.
If you love Microsoft Excel or any of Microsoft’s productivity tools, then you’ll think Project is a breeze to navigate. If you’re not familiar with those tools, it might be a nightmare for you.
Microsoft Project lacks a mobile app. That’s quite a downfall in the age of mobile technology.
The price is a little confusing on this software. The easiest way to buy Project is to add it to your Office 365 subscription. The Project Online Professional add on is $30 per person per month.
With Online Professional, each user can load the cloud-based software onto five computers. This does not include portfolio management.
Online Premium is $55 per person per month. This includes portfolio management.
When comparing Basecamp Vs. Asana, you’ll notice that Asana is Basecamp’s better-designed sister. Like Basecamp, it’s not really a project management app but more a productivity app and collaboration suite.
You won’t see built-in time tracking. There are no advanced project timelines. Both of these keep projects on deadline and help you get paid.
Asana does have plenty of tools. Inside Asana, you’ll find workload management, task assignment, and a bunch of app integrations.
Tasks are the core of Asana. It’s a manager’s dream software.
When assigning tasks, managers can choose to use a list or a kanban board. They can include subtasks, due dates, attachments, team member assignments, and other custom fields. On top of this, you can create chat rooms around each specific task if need be.
If you need a long-form view similar to a Gantt chart, use the Timeline view. It gives you an overview of your tasks and projects and you can update these in real-time for team members.
Asana is free for up to 15 users. Unfortunately, you don’t get access to the Timeline view with the free account.
If you want access to the Timeline view, you’ll have to pay $10.99 per user per month when billed annually. This gives you custom dashboards and custom fields as well as admin control panels for managers.
The Premium plan costs $24.99 per user per month if you bill annually. You’ll access automated workflows and receive Adobe Creative Cloud integration.
Do you love spreadsheets? Then you’ll love Smartsheet.
Smartsheet is a glorified spreadsheet software program. What makes it better than a spreadsheet? Intricate visual data displays.
If you know and understand spreadsheets, you can go the distance with this software. If you’re clueless about them, you’ll want to try something like Bitrix24. It’s not easy to learn and it’s not for everyone.
The templates in Smartsheet are incredible. If you’re a nerd, you’ll enjoy entering data into each of your templated sheets. It’s numbers and data all the way down.
Its host of formatting tools will make your spreadsheets pop. Features like drop-down menus within cells will make it easy to insert events, team members, or tasks.
It includes an excellent workflow automation app. This allows you to automate your spreadsheets and project views. You can program the app to send email alerts or have new users assigned to a project when the project hits a milestone.
Unfortunately, that’s where the fun ends. It doesn’t include a way to communicate among team members, it doesn’t include any other project management tools including time tracking or budgeting. It’s just a spreadsheet program with some neat project management tools stuffed inside.
The Individual plan costs $19 per month or $168 if you pay annually. This excludes the ability to track and manage users across a team.
If you want to manage users and track progress through the software, you’ll need to buy the Business plan. The Business plan costs $32 per user per month or $300 per year if paid annually.
Do you really want to let your team down? No. You want to boost productivity across the board and ultimately boost profits.
You want to go with the only Basecamp alternative that can simultaneously foster communication and communication and help your team interact with clients and customers. It’s the only software on this list with the tools they need to succeed.
Are you ready to whip your team into shape? Sign up for Bitrix24 now.