The world of project management has become a key focus for professional teams of all sizes. With the right project management at your back, teams are capable of succeeding in a fiercely competitive market.
To meet this demand, project management tools of all shapes and sizes have been developed over the last decade. With many of them gained incredible popularity, and dedicated user bases behind them.
Today we’ll be exploring two of the most popular project management tools: Trello and Basecamp. Placing them up against each other, and exploring which has more to offer for your own personal or professional needs.
What is Trello?
Trello is one of the most popular project management platforms out there right now. Built on the famous Kanban system, which was invented by Toyota in the 1950s. The platform is built around a ‘Card’ system, and provides a streamlined and effective way for you, your team, and your clients to work together and stay productive.
What is Basecamp?
Basecamp is a project management platform that can be accessed through your browser, or app. Providing a one-stop-shop for all of your project management needs. Designed primarily as a workspace for you, and your team, Basecamp excels at bringing teams together and optimizing their workflow. Keeping people up to date with progress, and deadlines easy to track. As well as much more!
Trello is a widely popular project management tool, with a lot to offer. Let’s take some time to explore the key benefits that have made the software so successful:
Simple and Effective UI Design
Trello uses a very straight forward UI design, which is refreshing compared to the complex nature of many other project management platforms. It provides strong usability even for those that have no experience with project management software.
Trello is designed with an extensive notification system behind it, providing users with a great way to stay up to date with their Trello board on the go. Whilst users can alter the settings of this system to their liking, by default, it will alert you when new cards are set, tasks are completed, and deadlines are drawing near.
Allows You to Understand Instantly When A Deadline Nears
Trello operates on a ‘Card’ system, where every project or task is housed within. This system, inspired by the Kanban project management system, means you’ll never miss a deadline ever again.
When you create a card, you attach a deadline to it. When that deadline draws near, the card will turn yellow. When the deadline passes, the card will turn red. Only being removed after marking the card ‘Complete’.
This means, at a glance, you can quickly judge the priority of your work. You don’t need to dig any deeper than judging the color of the Trello cards. Providing an incredible boost to your productivity, and workflow efficiency.
Trello is supported on every platform. From all operating systems that can support a web browser, to any device that can use apps. The mobile app for Trello is one of the highest rated apps in the world of project management, and there is good reason for that.
The app is well optimized, has its own UI that is easy to navigate and use, and provides a level of usability that is not often seen in the project management industry. Where other project management software struggles adapting themselves to an app environment, Trello excels at providing its platform just as it is found on the desktop version.
Less Complex Pricing Structure – Extensive Free Plan
Trello has a very straight forward approach to their pricing structure, providing an incredible amount of value to its users. Free users are able to access the vast majority of the platform, with only minor features held back. You can invite an unlimited amount of people to your Trello board, file share, and create boards, lists, and cards with no restriction.
The paid options include the Business Class and Trello Gold packages, costing roughly $25 per month. This will open up more extensive administrator features, and raise your upload limit. However, that’s about it. The majority of the platform is completely free!
Trello follows the Kanban system
The Kanban system was created by Toyota in the 1950s, designed to help senior management to track workflow, and identify bottlenecks in their production. Since its inception, the Kanban system has become widely popular in professional project management, and for good reason.
Trello is built on the foundation of the Kanban system, and is one of the biggest advantages to the platform. Providing an incredible support for your productivity, workflow, and keeping you in touch with your work priorities.
Basecamp is an expertly designed project management tool, with a foundation of features that is sure to impress. Let’s explore some of the key pros that have led to the software’s reputation:
Supported, and Sync, on All Platforms
Basecamp is a platform designed to be used anywhere, anytime. It’s for that reason that Basecamp comes supported on all platforms. This includes any desktop operating system that can support a web browser. As well as all mainstream devices that use apps. Such as iOS, Android, and Windows.
On top of this, Basecamp will sync between these programs seamlessly. Meaning users can update their Basecamp whilst out of the office, from their phone or tablet device, and find that work when they boot up their desktop version.
Extensive Collaboration Features
Collaboration sits at the very core of Basecamp’s design, and it comes with several features to help teams work together, and with clients, more effectively. These features include a shared workspace, native live-chat features, team-wide notifications, and many other smaller ways that keep people in touch.
With Basecamp, it is never a struggle to keep up to date with how your team is progressing. Communicate with your team effectively, and work around workflow bottlenecks that appear in your day-to-day operations.
Wide Range of Integrations
The developers of Basecamp know how important it is to make sure you have third-party integration. As many industries will be accustomed to using very specific tools for their work. It’s for this reason the Basecamp team has put a significant amount of work behind providing support for a wide range of off-site integrations.
You’ll find the majority of commonly used professional applications, such as Slack, Zoom, Asana, and Google apps just to name a few, will be supported for integration into Basecamp. Allowing users to have all of their programs operating out of one single workspace.
Real-Time Chat – Campfires
Basecamp is built to bring people together, which is why it comes with a native chat client built into the platform. This chat client is called Campfires, and allows project managers to group up teams, or even the entire company, into chat rooms where they can talk with each other.
Chat clients are not often seen in project management platforms, yet they are a vital part of how teams stay in touch. So, seeing this added into Basecamp itself is a big plus.
Basecamp Provides A Free Plan
Basecamp is primarily a paid service, and that should be made clear for anybody looking to begin using the platform. However, Basecamp does come with a free plan that users can trial before investing into the platform. The free version, known as ‘Basic’, will provide you with support for individuals and small teams, and access to the majority of Basecamp’s features.
No software is perfect, and Trello is no exception to this rule. Let’s explore some of the key drawbacks of the Trello platform:
No Offline Access
One drawback of the Trello platform is the lack of offline caching support. With everything housed on the Trello platform, such as your deadlines, project details, and priorities, if you were to ever lose your internet access you will be locked out from this information.
Whilst many of us rarely experience a lack of internet. It can happen, and if it does, you’ll be in a tough spot with Trello.
Difficult to Handle Big Projects
Trello can struggle with larger project sizes. Due to its simplistic Kanban system, scaling up the platform’s project management scope can become confusing. Whilst not impossible, you will find better support out there for large project management solutions.
Trello Has A Storage Limit
One area of Trello is that surprisingly restrictive is their storage limits. Specifically, the upload limit for attachments. For free users, you will only be allowed to upload a 10MB file to your cards. With paid users, Business Class and Trello Gold, having this limit increased up to 250MB.
Even at the increased level for paid users, these upload limits are incredibly small. Proving to be a limiting factor for teams looking to exchange large amounts of information.
No Comment Editing
Trello’s comment system is housed within its cards, yet it comes with one very annoying limitation. Once a comment is written, it cannot be edited. If you need to make a slight edit to a comment left on a card, you’ll need to remake the entire card. An annoying workaround that will cost you a little time.
No Road-Map Feature
Road maps are an important tool for all project managers. It allows you to project your work forward, and scale the workload to meet certain goals. Yet despite how important this feature is, you won’t find it in Trello. Whilst you can use off-site solutions for this, it would be nice to have a native integration for road mapping in Trello.
Whilst Basecamp is an impressive project management tool, it’s not perfect. Let’s take a moment to look more closely at some of its shortcomings:
No Time Tracking
Time tracking is a widely used tool for project managers to keep in touch with their workflow, and identify bottlenecks in their teams. If one person is spending too long on a task, there may be a good reason for that.
Sadly, Basecamp provides no native support for time tracking. Requiring an off-site integration. However, time tracking specifically would greatly benefit from native support.
Basecamp’s platform is very limited in what you can customize. You are unable to change the UI, or the functionality of its features past a few simple settings. Whilst minor options are always in your control, anything more significant simply isn’t supported.
This won’t be a problem for everyone. However, for many of us, this is an important flexibility that allows us to mould out project management platforms to meet very specific needs.
Limited Chat Features
Basecamp’s native chat feature is quite limited. Campfires have no advanced chat features, you can’t archive chats, and there are no moderation tools for administrators to use. Prompting many to continue to use their own in-house chat client.
No Tags or Labels
When it comes to managing a complex information matrix, which is common in project management, Basecamp has one critical shortcoming. It does not support tags or labels. Meaning if you need to search anything, you’ll be wasting a lot of time moving through keywords.
Lack of Advanced Project Management Features
Basecamp provides an extensive range of features, and all of them are great. However, for any senior project managers who use Basecamp, you will quickly notice a trend. All of these features are incredibly shallow.
This is likely due to a design choice from the Basecamp team. An attempt to keep things streamlined and easy to use. However, the reality is that many features within Basecamp could greatly benefit from more depth.
Advantages That Trello Has Over Basecamp
Let’s take a look at the key advantages that Trello has over Basecamp:
Easier to Use
Trello, when compared to Basecamp, is significantly easier to use. The platform is incredibly minimalist, and all of its features are effective, yet easy to pick up. Trello makes an effort not to overcomplicate things, providing a platform that requires no previous project management experience to begin using.
Better App Support
Whilst both Basecamp and Trello have apps, they are not made equal. Trello’s app is significantly better. Not just in reviews, but in core optimization, it syncs more effectively, and its UI design is leagues ahead of Basecamp.
Advantages That Basecamp Has Over Trello
Let’s take a look at the key advantages that Basecamp has over Trello:
Basecamp, whilst lacking in customization options in some areas, is much more flexible than Trello. Allowing users to at least build a unique project management workspace for themselves, and offering several options to tailor many of the core features to their liking.
Basecamp has much better integration support than Trello, with almost every mainstream professional program supported on the platform. Whilst Trello supports almost no integration whatsoever. This is vital for many teams who use a range of industry specific tools that they simply cannot go without.
Who Should Use Trello?
Trello, due to its simplistic design, is far better suited for individuals or small teams. More specifically, it’s for people who are looking for a minimalist approach to their project management needs. Providing a clear roadmap of their work, and a Kanban approach to improving their productivity.
Who Should Use Basecamp?
Basecamp is designed for more advanced project management needs. Enabling users to bring together large teams, and clients, into the same platform with ease. With a range of added features that make working in the platform a breeze, Basecamp will excel at helping these groups improve their workflow and communicate more effectively.
Which is Better for Project Management?
From a pure feature standpoint, Basecamp will win in this department. With a platform that is designed around more extensive project management solutions, Basecamp simply has more to offer in this department. That being said, Trello has its own advantages with its minimalist approach. So, there is no hard answer to this question.
Which is Better for Collaboration?
Basecamp, hands down. The Basecamp platform is designed around several collaboration features that help your team work more closely together, as well as providing other useful features such as native chat support and file sharing options. Whilst Trello also has collaboration features, they are shallow when compared to what Basecamp has to offer.
Which is Better for Boosting Productivity?
Trello, designed on the Kanban system, is popular for a reason. That reason is, without a doubt, its profound effect on our productivity. Keeping us engaged in what responsibilities are, and when our deadlines are approaching.
Pricing: Asana vs Trello
- FREE plan (Basic)
- Premium 10.99$
- Business 24.99$
- Enterprise (custom)
- FREE plan (Basic)
- Trello Gold 5$
Both Basecamp and Trello are very different approaches to the project management solution. With Basecamp striving to provide a complete workspace where you can work together with ease, and Trello providing a minimalist Kanban approach to keeping you up to date with your deadlines.
Each of these programs has their strengths, and it’s no surprise that they have both developed a strong reputation behind them. Deciding which program to use is up to your own personal preference, and needs, for project management.