37signals launched a web-based project management tool, which was dubbed Basecamp. By using this online tool, users could create, manage and share documents or other files, time trackers, tasks and more. It also creates a centralized, participatory method of communication between teams and/or clients through the use of message boards and comments – much like we see in the CrackBerry forums. Tasks or projects can be assigned due dates and to a specific team member to complete. Through the time tracker the team can report how long they worked on each task, either in the Time tracking section or the To-Do section. It really is an amazing way to see what needs to be done, who is working on it, how long they’ve taken and what everyone has to say. It’s arguably a lot more productive (and exciting) than a simple email or calendar entry.
Now you could always access it from your laptop when you’re on the go, but sometimes all you need and all you have access to, is your BlackBerry. Is there a problem with that? Of course not, it’s a BlackBerry! If you are a current, or potential, Basecamp customer, here are some options you can look at to access what you need right from your BlackBerry.
To appease the continually growing mobile workforce, Basecamp offers access through a mobile site. By visiting their website from your mobile browser, you will be automatically redirected. From this portal, you can view your projects, create new messages and comments, as well as read existing ones. You can also glance at documents, images and your Writeboards. Writeboards are web-based text documents that are sharable. In order to access the Basecamp mobile site, you need to be running OS 6. This is the only downfall, as it limits users to a select few. Check out the other options below.
This mobile web application is a multi-platform tool that acts as a window into your Basecamp; no matter if you are using a BlackBerry, Android, iPhone or Windows Mobile smartphone. It is an extremely comprehensive access point to your Basecamp account (or multiple accounts). It gives you detailed access to the following functions of Basecamp: Dashboard, Project View, Messages, Milestones and To-Do lists. Just as though you are at your computer, you can assign responsibility, create and manage entries, create /view messages and comments, set privacy for specific entries and view projects by client name. By comparison, Kompass actually gives users more access and functionality than by using the actual Basecamp Mobile site (marking To-Do lists as private, creating milestones, etc) – and also supports BlackBerry smart phones running an OS older than 4.6. You can visit the Kompass site to get started. They include a free 14 day trial – after that, it’s available for $2.49 per month.
Nomad is a PlayBook application poised to grant access to Basecamp. It promises to give you access to practically every function that the web tool has to offer. This means managing your To-Do list, Calendar and accessing files while viewing multiple projects. The Dashboard presents your Milestones, To-Dos and Messages in a neat and simplistic view. They’ve truly touched on the design of Basecamp. Nomad also comes in a free version, which only allows access to one project.
Nomad Pro for the PlayBook is available for $4.99 from BlackBerry App World.
Also a PlayBook application, Whatcha Doing focuses more on the time tracking aspect of Basecamp. With it, break types (lunch or a quick break) and duration can be easily recorded. Choose 5, 10, 15, 30, 60 or 90 minutes. You can also choose to be prompted to provide updates at set intervals – as you are working on your tasks. Timers can be reset and reports of the time totals can be easily generated. If you are looking for more Basecamp integration, you can nab activities from any of your To-Do lists, projects and more. You can then send your time tracking information back into Basecamp. If you are more focused on time tracking, and less on communication with colleagues, Whatcha Doing may be all that you need. Whatcha Doing is available for $0.99 from BlackBerry App World.
Like Nomad, Unvired Projects has both a free and paid version available. In this case, Unvired Projects is available for any BlackBerry smart phone running OS 5.0 or higher. Multiple account management is supported by this application. If you work for more than one company, you can access each and every entry for project details, time tracking and so on. Searches are made easy with the keyword filter option. As you reorder your To-Do List in Basecamp, the changes will be reflected on your BlackBerry screen. This is due to the auto-sync feature. The app works even if you do not have reception and will auto-sync when you are connected to WiFi or a wireless network.
The pro version costs $4.99. As I said before, there is a free version available, but you can only use one account and access only one project (you can also only see 5 To-Do lists at most). Both are available from BlackBerry App World
So, there are a good number of options available. I can’t wait until we see support for more of the offerings from 37signals. I’m especially wanting/whining for their Campfire chat solution. Are you using any of the apps listed? Which one is working for you? Let us know in the comments.