I love Basecamp. Have been using it for pretty much from the beginning. I would love to keep on using it. But it just is not keeping up with us.
Basecamp is great for short term consulting projects. Sometimes, it was hard to get clients to post to Basecamp instead of emailing. But overall, it worked well for communication. After the end of the project as well, it serves as an archive, letting me go back and get an overview of project, look at associated files etc., whenever I want to.
Basecamp also served us very well in first two years of product development. We had a small team of 4-5 people. There was one major project we were working on – MindCanvas.
Now, our team is growing. We have two active projects (MindCanvas and SlideShare). Some team members have left. Some new have joined. We need some continuity in our projects. A way to point back at work we had done, files we had uploaded, conversations we had. But the findability on Basecamp sucks.
The search is awful. First you have to go to another screen to search. Second when you do that, it takes whatever search you had done last and runs it again (an utter waste of time). When all you need is the search box.
There is a categories system. But no way to create sub-categories. Or to tag. There is no way to search within categories. No way to assign items to multiple categories.
There are writeboards. But no way to assign same categories to writeboard. Or to sort writeboards by date updated or any other way. Any information we put into writeboards (which work great on their own) just disappears into the nethers of Basecamp never to be found again.
Overall, Basecamp serves very well for ongoing communication. But whats in the past is lost forever. I have searched through the Basecamp forums for indications that this is going to change (that findability is going to improve). But so far, it does not seem likely. I understand that 37 signals wants to keep it simple. And maybe the simple fact is that we are outgrowing Basecamp.
So hive mind, I appeal to you – what are the alternatives to Basecamp. Should we look for a wiki? Is there anything that integrates with Basecamp and allows one to find information better? Are there other alternatives?