Basecamp: A Critical Analysis
Various technological tools and devices are made available for the benefit of organizations that are having difficulties in planning and establishing projects to realize the goals and objectives of the organization. These technological tools and devices, often in the form of software applications and programs, help organizations in making efficient and thorough plans for future projects that the organization needs to implement. One example of these software applications or programs includes project collaboration tools that help organizations during the needs evaluation, conceptualization of plans, planning, implementation, management, monitoring, and assessment processes, while facilitating efficient communication and collaborative relationships at the same time (Blodgett)
The importance of utilizing project collaboration tools is evident through the realization of the need to foster communicative and collaborative relationships among the members of the organization as organizational success is highly dependent on it. Ineffective communication, as commonly discussed during the implementation of IT systems within organizations, lead to the break down of organizational relationships and eventually to the failure of projects being implemented. (Frese & Sauter)
One of the most highly acclaimed project collaboration tools for organizations and their management teams include Basecamp. Basecamp is an online project collaboration software or application released by 37 Signals as the company’s answer to organizational problems concerning their establishment of commercial spaces online. (Hedlund) Since the dawn of the technology age, organizations have been clamoring to establish their organizations online and capture a wider market population from millions of online users in the local scene and around the globe. Web development for organizations is part of the organization’s effort to incorporate IT to their policies and practices. The remainder of this text will discuss a critical analysis of Basecamp as an indispensable project collaboration tool for organizations and management teams who are determined to engage in web development. Various elements of the web-based software will be reviewed in order to determine its utility and functionality, as well as the level of importance of Basecamp as a means for organizations to break through the IT scene and establish their presence online.
Aside from the “Best of Breed” award received by Basecamp from ZDnet in 2006, the web-based application has also been granted numerous awards such as the Webware 100 Winner in 2008 as one of the best productivity tools for web development purposes (Webware Staff) among others. Perhaps the success of the application is attributed to the numerous features and operations that it provides solving a variety of problems in web development for organizations all at the same time. In addition, Basecamp breaks away from the traditional web development concepts of other applications by making it a collaborative project for both internal and external members of the organizations – from the business leaders, to management officials, employees, clients, partners and investors, and such. (Hedlund)
Basically, Basecamp is structured in such a way that concerned members of the organization, as well as other stakeholders are able to access the project plan when and where they want it as it is available through internet access. This open accessibility of various stakeholders allows them to provide feedback and contribute to the web development process. (Hedlund) In addition, Basecamp covers the primary needs and requirements of successful project plans by considering the communicative and collaborative processes by harboring inputs and feedbacks from various stakeholders, making business leaders, management teams, employees, as well as consumers, accountable for every input or feedback they place during web development. Moreover, Basecamp tracks the milestones of web development (Basecamp), allowing for the monitoring or supervision of the project plan for schedule control (Frese & Saunter). Overall, the application provides functionality and comprehensive coverage of web development requirements and processes. However, it lacks the sophistication and formality that other applications provide because of its open accessibility for various stakeholders. (Hedlund)
Considering the physical design and features of Basecamp, it is easy to tell that it targets small to medium sized business organizations. This critical analysis is due to the fact that it is openly accessible to both the internal and external members of the organization. Furthermore, the design of the dashboard is simple making it easy for first-time users to navigate through the pages. Moreover, in comparison with other web development applications, Basecamp lacks the formality and sophistication of providing practical data sheets or database information. It however, makes the web development experience more efficient by involving other stakeholders in the process while facilitating much-needed communication. (Hedlund) Although Basecamp might be extremely different from other web development applications such as Microsoft Project for instance, the features presented by this web-based application are highly useful and advantageous for organizations. First, it involves the most important component of the organization – the consumer population. Second, it covers various requirements of the planning process – from the conceptualization, to communication or collaboration, to risk analysis, etc. Third, the services it provides does not end in the implementation process, but it also helps in the management process through technical support services, designing, and marketing processes, and such. (Fried, Hansson, Linderman & Singer)
Perhaps the most important feature that I observed which is most useful is Basecamp’s ability to cover, feature, and manage various projects at the same time. This helps during the organization of project plans, and in addition, the ability of various organizational stakeholders to access the profile of the organization make it easier to conceptualize, design, monitor and control schedule, implement, and evaluate the web development process. Basecamp would be highly useful within the work environment when communication is required despite the lack of time to do business meetings or any other form of group activities as it is available online, when and where organizational members need to retrieve and review information.
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What is Failure, and How Can You Improve your Odds for Success?.” Retrieved from UMSL. 29 November 2008. < http://www.umsl.edu/~sauterv/analysis/6840_f03_papers/frese/>.
Fried, Jason, Hansson, David Heinemeier, Linderman, Matt & Singer, Ryan. (2005).
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29 November 2008. < http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/network/2005/03/10/basecamp.html>.
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