February 10, 2016 | Katie Friedman

Using Basecamp to Manage Website Design Projects


As a project manager, your daily schedule is often a complex juggling act with multiple projects in the air at once. You’ve got clients to assist, designers and writers to manage, and data to collect and analyze. It’s hardly surprising that you might feel like a Flying Karamazov Brother after a while (without the kilts, tutus, and charming theatrics, of course). While it’s rewarding to deliver a polished final product to happy clients, your job can also be time-consuming and overwhelming.

Luckily, there are resources available to help you multitask. When you’re overseeing several website design projects, using reliable project management software will make it easier to keep your progress on track.

At VIEO, our tool of choice is Basecamp, a user-friendly site that features to-do lists, file sharing, calendars, time tracking, and other practical functions. Although Basecamp had a few drawbacks in its earlier iterations, those have been largely resolved in its most recent versions, and many of our PMs find that the pros ultimately outweigh the cons.

Enhanced Communication & Simplified Processes

Since Basecamp was launched in 2004, it has been updated twice, transitioning from Basecamp Classic to Basecamp, and then Basecamp to Basecamp 3 respectively. In that time, the web app has significantly revamped and refined its features, gradually allowing for greater communication between project managers, their teams, and the client.

In fact, it’s this enhanced level of communication that makes Basecamp ideal for website project management. According to VIEO’s web developer, Ryan Ridings, “Basecamp helps by keeping all communication, files, and to-do lists in one area.”

Instead of sending multiple emails and constantly shifting between browser tabs, a project manager can:

  • Create a separate Basecamp "project" for each client’s site
  • Add discussion boards where clients, designers, and writers can communicate
  • Upload, categorize, and view important files and documents
  • Assign tasks to writers and designers with attached comments
  • Track due dates and events via project calendars
  • Notify the team en masse and loop in anyone new to the project

In turn, Basecamp allows project managers to organize and compartmentalize their projects. Rather than try to communicate across multiple channels, PMs can access everyone and everything they need all at once. They can also easily move to dos between lists and projects, and even copy to do and project templates to simplify the process further.

Notifications & Time Management

That isn’t to say that Basecamp’s perfect, though. Although the site is incredibly efficient for planning and organizing your projects, it does have a few minor disadvantages. For example, while the site allows you to notify members of your team at any time, it only notifies you about the status of a project the day before it’s due. As a result, if you don’t check your email or to-dos that day, you could easily forget or overlook an important deadline—so it’s crucial to refine your time management skills before use.

Even without the ballerina skirts and fire displays of a three ring circus, being a project manager is no easy task. As VIEO’s senior project manager, John Goethert explains, “We’re translators. We try to find what a client wants and needs, and then we convert that language into the ‘VIEO language’ for our team (and visa versa). And we do it all without missing internal deadlines or disrupting communication with our loyal clients, thanks to Basecamp.”

If you're preparing for a website design project, don't forget to incorporate lead generation and tracking tools! We'd be happy to talk through your options.

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Katie Friedman

Katie Friedman

Though Katie is no longer with VIEO, in her time as a content marketing associate she was our grammar, spelling, and punctuation queen. She used her considerable skill to write and edit blog posts, premium content offers, and much more for both VIEO and our clients.

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