Working in ministry and church work often require team input, and for multi-site campuses, often those team members are physically separated. Project management and collaboration tools are wonderful resources for anyone working in teams or working while separated from each other. I’d like to profile two current applications that are both popular and used frequently. There are many applications, like Google Docs for content creation and Dropbox for file storage that allow group collaboration, but there are two applications I like which offer collaborative project management services in addition to the integration of common collaborative content creation and file storage tools.
Basecamp has been my go-to project management tool for several years. I use it in my classes as a platform for my students to collaborate in small groups. Currently, Basecamp is used by almost 300,000 companies and is clearly the industry leader. As soon as you create a project in Basecamp, you can define tasks, invite team members, host discussions, upload files, and create project calendars with events, deadlines, and reminders. Every morning, Basecamp sends you an email with an executive summary of all activity in your project. As a teacher supervising student teams, Basecamp is invaluable. When I login, I really appreciate how their projects line up on my account page and how easily I can view their progress. For any organization using any sort of team arrangement to tackle projects, Basecamp is ideal. With iOS and Android mobile apps and email integration, your project and your information can go anywhere you do — or anywhere your team members go. Basecamp was created by 37Signals and after fifteen years and a few other products, the company decided this year to focus solely on the Basecamp platform, which is good news for users. You can use a trial version of Basecamp for sixty days — just go to http://www.basecamp.com.
After your sixty day trial, Basecamp offers a tiered pricing structure. With no contract required, you can manage up to ten projects with three gigabytes of space for $20 a month. The next tier goes to $50 monthly for forty projects and fifteen gigabytes, then to $100 monthly and further to $150 with unlimited projects. For large organizations who want an enterprise solution, Basecamp offers an annual plan for $3,000 with unlimited projects, 500 gigabytes of space, and premium technical support. What I like about Basecamp’s pricing strategy is that the $20 monthly plan fits most small organizations and payment is month-to-month; if a church or other organizations stops paying, their files don’t disappear; the projects are simply suspended until payment begins again.
A major competitor to Basecamp is Redbooth — formerly Teambox. I used the product when it was branded as Teambox, and it is similar to Basecamp in many ways. Teambox Technologies was founded in 2008 and offered commercial and free hosting for Teambox. On January 21, 2014, after gaining over half a million users, Teambox rebranded itself as Redbooth. Their service offerings are similar to Basecamp, although it is my perception that Basecamp is more comprehensive.
Redbooth offers task planning and management, task reporting, file and content management including integration with Google docs, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box. Redbooth also offers discussions, HD video conferencing, screen sharing, and group chat. I believe the video conferencing sets Redbooth apart from Basecamp, although I maintain that Basecamp is easier to use, at least from my perspective. Like Basecamp, Redbooth offers mobile apps for iOS and Android. In addition, Redbook offers language support for English, French, German, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese — another difference from Basecamp.
The pricing structure is similar to Basecamp. It appears you can pay month-to-month, although Redbooth offers a discount if you purchase an annual subscription. Otherwise, Redbooth offers a free level with up to five users, five gigabytes of storage, and Google Drive integration. Their Pro level is $5 per month for five users with unlimited storage and integration with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive Integration Group chat HD Video Conferencing Priority support. The highest tier is the On Premise plan, which is $15 per user per month and offers unlimited project services and premium support. You can find Redbooth at http://www.redbooth.com.
I’ve used both Basecamp and Redbooth. Based on my experiences alone, I recommend Basecamp. For any church or organization using teams, working in the cloud with an established project management tool is a great way to become more efficient and productive. If you’d like to discuss either tool, send me a message.
Susan is an associate professor at Mercer University. In Mercer’s Technical Communication undergraduate degree, students can specialize in Ministry Media & Technology. Contact Susan anytime for more information at email@example.com.