Among many online project management solutions, Basecamp takes one of the leading positions due to simplicity in functionality and easiness in use. Many people like this web-based package because they don't need to spend much time on learning the functionality and exploring the interface options. Basecamp Classic is best for simple project management - you can create plain to-do lists, set milestones, exchange messages, share files and links, and do other things.
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However, Basecamp solution does not provide tools for advanced project management. For example, you can't set task priority, create dependent sub-tasks, make todo hierarchies, manage multi-user assignments, track deviation in time performance. This fact makes people look at Basecamp alternatives (both desktop and online) that provide more powerful functionality and fit their project management needs at most. If you want to get a desktop alternative to Basecamp solution, then take a look at CentriQS which beats the web-based package and provides advanced tools for task management and time logging.
As each project starts with planning its tasks, task management is one of the most required capabilities in project management software. Basecamp task management is very basic and ordinary. In Basecamp you can create separate tasks, combine them into to-do lists, and also add milestones for tracking larger activities. Each task or milestone has a number of attributes and can be visualized and tracked on calendar.
In real-world project management, it happens that tasks need to be assigned to several or even more people who are expected to do their tasks in turn or in parallel. Basecamp solution does not address this issue. In Basecamp you can't assign one and the same task to multiple users. An alternative scenario is to break down a milestone into multiple tasks, assign these tasks to separate users, and then wait until all the tasks are done. However, this scenario does not work for all projects, and users have to juggle around Basecamp solution trying to fill the gap by using comments in tasks or Whiteboards.
In CentriQS, one and the same task can be assigned to several users. In the Tasks view, 'Assigned To' column shows assigned users for each task. There is also 'Owner' column that shows users who are task supervisors.
Prioritization techniques in task management make it possible to identify and sequence project tasks by their importance, urgency, or combination thereof. For example, Urgency-Importance Matrix allows you to sort out your tasks by four priority types and then create a priority sequence that will tell your team members which tasks should be done first.
In Basecamp there is no priority system, and so you can't prioritize your project tasks. The only thing you can do is to reorder to-do items, so that the most important tasks will be at the top of your to-do list and the least important will be at the bottom. Basecamp offers just an item reordering system but not a priority one. And apparently such a system won't be sufficient for complete task prioritization within project management, while CentriQS or Asana, as alternatives to Basecamp, will be sufficient.
In CentriQS, you can use two types of prioritization system to rank and sequence your project tasks. The first system lets you set task priority by urgency and importance (incl. four possible ranks: 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D'). The second system in this Basecamp alternative allows you to set numeric priorities (from 1 to 999) with 5 available ranks (Lowest, Low, Normal, High, Highest). Both systems will help you distinguish your next steps by multiple priority types and organize to-dos into desired sequences.
Basecamp provides a simple one-level task list solution that doesn't support hierarchal to-dos, sub-tasks, and dependencies. All of your to-do lists will be plain, you won't be able to break down your project into multi-level task hierarchies, and there will be no way to set dependencies between your tasks.
Meanwhile, task hierarchy and dependency are required in project management. For example, the Critical Path method requires use of 'finish-start' dependency type (one task can't start until another task is in progress) to sequence durations of critical path tasks. A project WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) - which serves as the basis for creating individual to-do lists and task plans - provides a hierarchy with multiple levels and sub-levels. With help of CentriQS software you can create hierarchical todo lists, break down tasks into sub-tasks and set predecessor-successor dependency.
Keeping time logged is extremely helpful for improved task management in projects. Time logs help reveal very interesting and surprising things. Employees can estimate their real labor capacity and also see why some time is wasted on their tasks. Time logging provides a clear picture of working time usage to help managers improve employee productivity and save many hours of valuable time.
Basecamp users can create simple time logs to keep track of how much working hours they spend on their tasks. Basecamp time log includes 'Hours' field in which you enter number of hours which you are going to spend or which are already spent on your task. Your time logs can be included in a report.
The problem with Basecamp time logging solution is that it is insufficient when there is a need for advanced time tracking within projects. Particularly, you can't set estimated time for project tasks and then compare it to actually spent time, either you can't calculate variation in time performance and figure out time remaining to task completion. Meanwhile, many project management methods and techniques (such as SCRUM, Critical Path PM, Critical Chain PM, etc.) require advanced time logging and tracking.
Everything you need for tracking working hours and logging task time is available in CentriQS. This Basecamp alternative allows you to use several properties (Estimate, Actual, Remain, and Deviation) to track time performance of your project tasks. With help of CentriQS Timer you can create time logs that provide accurate data on the amounts of working hours/minutes/days/weeks spent on each particular task. Comprehensive pivot tables in Task Analytics will help you summarize time performance and report on project progress.
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