Why we moved from Slack to Basecamp

In our last post (you can read it here) we talked about how we fully embraced and loved Slack when we first introduced it. A couple years down the track we decided to stop using it. It was a hard decision and not one that we actioned straight away.

 Our team works completely remotely so we needed something that could help us:

  1. Stay on task and moving through our priorities
  2. Keep the team united and accountable.

After a lot of research we decided to set up Basecamp 3. Basecamp calls itself “project management and team communication software”. Seemed like a perfect fit!

While we set up Basecamp we kept Slack running in the background. It wasn’t until our team started complaining, jokingly, that they were “overwhelmed with communication tools” that we made the final decision to cut Slack.

So Why Basecamp?

We use Basecamp to organise our daily operations, big picture planning and have real time conversations.

We still use some other cloud based platforms such as Google business (email, calendar, docs, sheets) Active Campaign, Zapier and Recruiterbox but Basecamp 3 is the glue that holds them altogether.

Basecamp 3 has really transformed our business. It took us a while to get the setup just right so we want to share our experience.

How we set it up

Basecamp offers its own onboarding process (and videos) to guide new users through the interface and recommends you set it up like this:

HQ: For company-wide communication

Teams: For specific teams to work together

We like to see “teams” as “departments”. This is what our teams are called:

  1. Finance and Ops Team
  2. Sales Team
  3. Marketing Team
  4. Recruitment Team
  5. Leadership Team

See pic below with how our teams are set up.

GMT Basecamp Team Set up

Projects: Individual projects that are assigned to specific teams

We have set up each of our clients as a “project”. But another way to look at it would be to set up a project such as “Website redesign” or "customer complaints".

Once you have the basic structure/hierarchy set up, the next thing to do is to decide what features to add to each Team and Project.

Basecamp’s 6 main features

At its most basic level, Basecamp includes six fundamental tools that can be used at all levels from the HQ level right down to teams and individual projects.

Here’s a list of what they are and what they’re good for.

  • To Dos: As the name explains we use this one all the time! Instead of writing down our “to-dos” on a piece of paper. We put them straight into Basecamp. They might be within a certain project or team. For e.g. if we need to call a client about something, we will create a “to-do” within that client’s project.

  • Message Board: This is meant to act like a traditional sit down meeting.

  • Campfires: The best way to describe this is just like the traditional water cooler at the office. For us, this has really replaced the instant messaging we were using in Slack. Basecamp also lets you have private conversations with people via the “ping” function.

  • Schedule: This is what we use to track progress and deadlines

  • Docs and files: Really good for storing and having access to important info

  • Automatic check ins: We use this as a reminder to check in consistently with team members about certain tasks.

In addition to these 6 features there are some amazing reporting features.

From a management level it is super helpful to run weekly/monthly reports.

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How to help your team embrace Basecamp.

We have found that the success of Basecamp or integration of any new platform into your business really depends on how well your team embraces it. It will only really be effective if everyone is actively using it. For us, it did take some time for everyone to feel comfortable and confident using Basecamp. And sure we all made mistakes in the beginning!  But now we cant really remember what it felt like before Basecamp.