Jason Fried

August 18, 2021

The path to Basecamp 4

Something new is on the way. But first, some history.

Basecamp Classic, the very first version of Basecamp, launched in 2004. In 2012, we followed up with the all-new Basecamp 2, the first major ground-up redesign in the product's history. Then we did it again in 2015 with Basecamp 3. We've been updating Basecamp 3 ever since, and today's version is the best, most popular version of Basecamp we've ever built.

But we're not stopping there. Basecamp 4 is next. And it's coming.

We've been working on the conceptual underpinnings of Basecamp 4 for nearly a year. We're now in the process of building it out for you.

Historically, when we've released a major new update, we've waited until all the new features were done before releasing it one big drop. That could take 8-12 months of development before customers got the new stuff.

Further, we've always released major new versions as separate products, keeping the previous versions around for customers who wanted to stick with what they knew rather than move to the latest version.

We're going to do things differently this time. Times two, actually.

Rather than release Basecamp 4 in one big drop, and rather than building it out as an entirely separate product, we're going to transform Basecamp 3 into Basecamp 4 by delivering a steady batch of deliberate, regular updates, roughly every 6-8 weeks, over the next 8 months or so. When we've released all the updates we had planned, Basecamp 3 will officially become Basecamp 4.

This means all Basecamp 3 customers will get the new version, and all the new features, automatically, over time, as we go. Of course we won't stop after 8 months — Basecamp will continue to get better and better in perpetuity — but within about 8 months or so we expect to have all the major features we were aiming to get into the initial Basecamp 4 release.

We'll be carefully rolling out changes to minimize disruptions. We'll be updating the interface too, gently and incrementally, to help customers adapt as we go, rather than be surprised by big sweeping changes one random day. Naturally there may be some changes that are bigger than others, but we'll be mindful about impact as we go.

You won't have to do anything — you'll just notice the new stuff as it comes in. And we'll do our best to preview any major changes before they launch, and explain all the new stuff once it goes live.

Shortly we'll reveal the first batch of updates, including a design refresh and the ability to add multiple tools to a project (so individual projects can have multiple message boards, or multiple campfire chat rooms, for example). We're starting small — we'll ramp up with the big new features, changes, and ideas in the months ahead.

So here we go. Basecamp 4 is coming. We're incorporating loads of customer feedback, brand new ideas of our own, and weaving in a new degree of flexibility that'll make Basecamp 4 the new best Basecamp ever.

Thanks for your patience while we roll this out. And thanks again for all your support — we're thrilled to bring you some great stuff in the coming months.

More updates to follow.

About Jason Fried

Hey! I'm Jason, the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Subscribe below to follow my thinking on business, design, product development, and whatever else is on my mind. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading.