A good project manager has always been one of the most valued people to have in a company, and for good reason because it’s an extremely difficult job. Projects have so many different moving parts, including various people who each have a responsibility, constantly changing needs of the client, and hard deadlines to meet, that it’s almost a miracle that projects can be completed, and completed on time.
That’s why a skilled and experienced project manager is so sought after, but today, tools like Basecamp and OneDesk, that we’re going to look at in this post, take many of the challenges out of completing any kind of project for your business.
Both of these services are fully-equipped to help you bring projects to completion and save a considerable amount of time, but our goal here is to show the benefits of each one, so that you can make a more informed decision of which will be a better fit for your company.
Project management involves numerous elements that obviously all have to interlock in a highly organized fashion. When using a tool like Basecamp or OneDesk to assist you throughout the process, there have to be a few important provisions or features in place, such as scheduling features, easily-accessible control centers, shared platforms for posting status, and of course, user-friendly communication features.
Both services have solutions that address these needs, but you may benefit more from one or the other, depending on how you do business and the types of projects required by your business. Let’s see what they have on offer.
The first feature that you’ll find with Basecamp is the calendar and scheduling feature. You can set up a shared calendar for your whole team, where everyone can see important dates for various tasks that need to be done.
If you’re already using an outside app for this such as Google Calendar, Basecamp can totally replace it and will probably be more appropriately suited for running projects for your business. Though Google Calendar is used by many businesses, it was designed not specifically for use by businesses, but for a wide range of users across the board, including average consumers and individuals.
Basecamp also has an “automatic check-ins” feature, the perfect space for team members to post any update or status report. There is no need to constantly ask team members about the status of a project because you can just log in and view the status yourself without micromanaging them.
What’s further useful with Basecamp is that you can create separate channels, easy-to-navigate spaces for discussion and planning groups for each of your projects, making it possible to keep multiple, simultaneous projects well-organized and accessible.
OneDesk also makes managing all of your projects exceedingly simple with various features that keep all of your planning and communication together. To effectively collaborate with your team, there is a message board that, while similar to Basecamp’s shared groups, has a different, more classic view which some teams may find to be more conducive to the sharing of ideas between team members.
The “shared view” makes sure that everyone stays on the same page without a need for an outside app to facilitate collaboration. You can also use the settings to set your preferences for how team members interact with each other in whatever way works best for the group.
According to how you set the parameters within the platform, each member of the team will only see what is relevant to them, or if you like, you can make any message board visible to the entire team. As an administrator, you’ll be able to utilize Gantt charts that make it easy to visualize the relationships between tasks and, using those charts, optimize workflow for your projects.
Probably the most important element of any project, communication, is well-facilitated by each of these platforms. Basecamp has simplified communication to an impressive degree by cutting out the noise that tends to result from messaging between individuals and sharing all kinds of information. OneDesk also makes it simple but has created multiple ways for team members to send messages and other information, so you can choose which channels to use for all your team’s purposes.
If you want a lot of options for how your team communicates, then OneDesk is probably a good choice; if you are looking for an integrated, more consolidated platform for coms, then Basecamp might be the more desirable option.
Something that sets Basecamp apart is the total transparency that it provides for teams. Of course, you can always set any channel to exclude or include certain team members, but when a user clicks on a shared project group, they will then have access to the entire conversation for a given project.
There is no need for your team to use email to communicate (unless you would prefer to use email). Similar to a service like Slack, users can send group messages, DMs, attachments, and documents directly through Basecamp instead of using email.
Part of cutting out the noise of group coms is cutting out email, as it can complicate the process when your team has to go outside of the platform to send or receive messages through another channel like email or another online messaging platform.
The “to-do lists” section of Basecamp is quite valuable, too, because it eliminates the need for you to micromanage people by regularly asking them for status updates. Use the to-do lists section to view all your current tasks and their statuses, where team members can post notes, summaries, and updates about what they’re currently working on.
OneDesk has a few options that you can give your team to stay in communication. You can set up shared group messaging sections just like Basecamp, although the way it functions is slightly different. This is something for which you will need to try each platform yourself to decide which is more suited to your company.
So, in addition to the group section for projects, there is also a space where you can send private messages, and even beyond that, you can utilize the space for communicating with clients. The section that is used for clients is a great feature because not only can you let them know where you’re at with their project and send them any pertinent information, clients are actually happy to use that space because it’s so easy for them and very user-friendly.
Basecamp also has a provision for communicating with clients, but OneDesk has made it a point to design this section in such a way that they will really use it. So, there isn’t really any need to use email to stay in touch with clients, either, if you don’t want to.
For another tool that your team can take advantage of to stay in coms with each other, no matter where they are, there is a highly functional mobile app included with the platform which might make it even easier for everyone to stay in touch. Notifications are built into both the desktop and mobile apps.
Integration & Control
Next, we’ll take a look at how well each of these platforms integrates all of the tools that you need for project management, as well as the provisions each makes to allow you to stay in control of all the various aspects of a project as a team leader or administrator. As we’ve already touched on, Basecamp has created a platform that brings all of your project planning tools together into a unified solution, and they do this very well.
OneDesk’s platform, while easy to use, has designed it to be a bit more granular and gives you the option of using a few separate channels that can be integrated into the main platform. Both of these services, however, offer exceptional control panels to keep an eye on everything that’s going on with your projects.
Basecamp essentially centralizes a variety of tools into one application. Through this platform, you can basically monitor and execute everything needed to bring a project to completion without using any outside apps. Things like Google Apps, Slack, and email can pretty much all be eliminated in favor of solely working through Basecamp, hence the name they’ve given their service.
To sum it up, here are some of the functions you can perform: Collaboration between team members; shared scheduling; quick-format DMs between individuals and groups; eliminate email; share documents, images, and other media.
With a single click, you can view everything happening with any project. You can track the progress of ongoing projects, even multiple simultaneous projects, anytime and give input to your team without the use of any outside apps.
Also an exceptional platform for bringing a lot of different functions into a single space, OneDesk gives teams the ability to efficiently collaborate, and administrators can keep close tabs on where you’re at with projects without constantly asking your team members how it’s going.
One thing you can get rid of when using OneDesk is an outside service for scheduling and timesheets because there is an excellent space for this within the platform. You can additionally bring up reports of progress for the work on a project anytime you want, and then export them, if needed, through Excel or PDF files.
To keep tabs on the workload for team members, make sure no one gets off task, and that a project stays within your budget and on schedule, you can easily manage assignments for teams, as well as individuals.
Track projects before they get started and while they are ongoing using the comprehensive control panel. You can also use your control panel to see summaries and other information, look at a portfolio of projects, and even see a bird’s-eye view of the entire scope of your company’s work.
Tracking and reporting through OneDesk, in general, is especially good for administrators to stay on top of every element of a project because there are multiple ways to view and manage all of that information. Though it doesn’t have the brevity of Basecamp, OneDesk, again, gives you various options for how you manage projects through the platform.
To Sum Up
Project management, and everything that goes along with it, can be a challenge for any business. There are a lot of elements to keep in order, and this only increases as projects grow larger in scope. Getting everything done on time and getting it all done properly is difficult, which is exactly why the tools you use to accomplish that have to make it easier, not harder.
Basecamp and OneDesk have created some of the best innovations in project management resources, giving business owners tools that can save a huge amount of time and money. Even if you are not a project manager by profession, these tools make it possible for you to proficiently do the work that a project manager does.
Though you may not have a ton of experience in that area and are wary of handling it properly, you’ll find that the features included with these services will significantly lower your stress level in handling any project and minimize errors as you manage everything that goes into project planning. The best way to see which of these platforms will better serve your business is obviously to try them out, and you can take advantage of a free trial for both.
Basecamp has found a way to bring all kinds of functions into the simplest format possible, while still performing exceptionally, and OneDesk gives project managers a lot of different channels to use for completing projects. Depending on how you like to work, one of these platforms will provide you with everything you need to efficiently accomplish any project.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.