I did a presentation at a semi-annual board meeting for an organization I’m a part of this weekend about Basecamp, and how we will begin to use that as our place for conducting board specific work online. There are three features I think make Basecamp perfect for a group that infrequently gathers, but wants to be able to continue to collaborate online while apart.
1. RSS Feedability — I know I might have just made the word “feedability” up, but it says what I want it to say. You can subscribe to the general feed, telling you when an item is added or modified, or to a Writeboard feed updating you with the changes made to the document.
2. Messages + To-Dos/Milestones + Files — These three are good features in standalone environments, but putting them together gives you discussion board capabilities, coupled with task/time line management, integrated with file uploading and document sharing. You can upload your PDF and send a message discussing it, all while checking it off of your to-do list.
3. Writeboard — Writeboard is the killer app when it comes to online, collaborative document creation. Sure, wikis are online and collaborative as well, but the killer feature in Writeboard is the ability to do version tracking. With version tracking you can compare any, or all, versions to see when and how the content has been changed, and by whom.
On top of these three things, Basecamp is incredibly simple to learn. Even though there are many non-tech people in this organization, Basecamp is a tool that we will all be able to use successfully to further our work outside of face-to-face meetings. And hopefully this will lessen any need for additional face-to-face meetings outside our normal gatherings.