How I Use Basecamp to Manage My Web Design Projects
How many times have you typed out the same email over and over to different clients? From your very first welcome email, to training emails, to your final let’s-launch-this-site email, the content is basically the same. So why spend so much time writing and rewriting, and rewriting?
Or, how many times have you been elbow deep in a web design project only to get sidetracked by ten emails from three separate clients that sent you down a time-wasting rabbit hole of distraction? Suddenly you can’t recall if you did, in fact, set up Google Analytics on that site of if you are getting mixed up with another client.
Or, how many times have you searched and searched for that one email discussion that gave you details about how your client wanted her home page to be tweaked? Was it buried at the bottom of an email with the subject “thanks”?
If you’re nodding your head, I’m with you. The struggle is real.
Although I was used to communicating primarily via email and thought I had a relatively organized email system established, I often felt as though I would never climb my way out of my inbox.
Until I discovered Basecamp.
With Basecamp I can organize ideas, contain conversations, and create to-do items for both my client and myself all in one place—and get out of my inbox! By encouraging my clients to contact me via Basecamp, and not via email, I can also do a better job of chunking my time and focusing on one project at a time.
Within Basecamp I have created project templates with multiple to-do lists, including a Prelude to Project checklist and a copywriting checklist for my client; and an Ultimate Website To-Do List and off-boarding to-do list just for myself.
All I do is copy the template into a new project and customize it according to the client’s website needs, and voilà—instant organization and hours of work saved. The client views her to-do lists while mine are visible only to me. All in one place.
I created a video tutorial the other day to show you how I set up, organize, and customize my project templates in Basecamp. This video walks you through my process using Basecamp 2, but if you sign up for a new Basecamp account, you’ll be signed up for Basecamp 3, which actually looks quite different than Basecamp 2. (You can read all about it here.) But the functionality of Basecamp 2 is essentially the same. What I reveal in the video can be applied to the new Basecamp.
Whether you decide to use Basecamp, another project management tool like Asana, or even a collection of Google docs and spreadsheets or saved documents in Dropbox, this tutorial will help you develop an organizational system for your projects that can save you hours of needless work.
You don’t have to commit to a project management program when you are starting out, but I do advise you to start tracking all the steps you take in each project so you can set up a system that works for you (rather than you working for it!).