If being a control freak counted as an addiction, I would most definitely have to add using a project management system as #1 on the 10 step program for recovery; because signing up for 37 Signal’s Basecamp was probably the most impactful action I could have taken to move my business forward from that as a solopreneur to having a team. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times … when it comes to my business, Basecamp is my life!
There are several project management systems on the market. Some are free, and others at different price points, but Basecamp fits my business best. Basecamp is an online system and the primary means of communication for our clients and my team. So, instead of just handing my clients over to my team members and hoping for the best, I am able to see all communication and activity going on regarding any given project. This allows me to stay in communication with my clients, keep up-to-date and in the loop on all projects even though I may not be directly involved, and simply have peace of mind because I’m not always wondering how things are going. All of my team members work directly with my clients, so with 14 team members and a healthy client list, it just makes sense to use a project management system rather than email. Everyone associated with a project has access to all of the information in one central place, and God forbid … someone gets hit by a bus or leaves the team, it’s super easy to pull in a replacement team member to carry on because everything they need is readily available for them to get up to speed and working quickly.
Each of our clients have their own company areas and projects in the system, and each of our team members have their own private projects as well as a general area for when I need to communicate with the entire team at once. We grant or remove access to individual team members in each client’s project as needed, so everyone working on a specific task or project has access to everything they need to do their jobs. Conversations are tracked through message threads (which can be responded to via email as well as by logging into the system – whatever is easier for the individual), plus there is a calendar with a milestone system to keep track of project due dates and events, the ability to create to-do lists so tasks can be assigned to individuals and then checked off as they are completed, writeboards for collaboration and keeping track of things like URLs or login information or process documents, and a storage area where you can upload all of the files related to each proje ct or task. I know this tip about Basecamp doesn’t do the system justice (and is a little longer than normal), but I feel so strongly about how incorporating a project management system into my business has helped me manage my business, my team and my clients more efficiently and professionally that I thought I would share a little about how I use it in my business.
If you want more information about how Basecamp can help you manage your business with more ease … just let me know.