Robbie Maltby

February 21, 2023

My love for Basecamp ❤️

Have you ever realised something about yourself at first you didn't like, then later realised it was one of your greatest strengths?

I'm a Virgo which (supposedly) makes me quite organised and detailed oriented for the good. Perfectionist and controlling for the bad.

Sounds crazy, but Basecamp has become both my playground and my teacher. Or maybe it just helps me avoid Chief Meetings Officers 😆

Outside of the above, Project Management can be seen as such a dry subject - a shared to-do list helpful for working in a team. But what people don't see is what emerges when you bring it all together...

I hate inefficiencies. They drain creativity which is already scarce, so when I see it being wasted it just hurts. Untangling previous decisions. Figuring out what to do next. Baahh!

We need structure for the human mind to do its best work. Freeing the mind from the minutia of what we need to do and why we need to do it, allows us to focus on the how. And when we do that, we get closer to being in Flow.

Flow, the seminal book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Cheeks-sent-me-high) used this graph to explain it.

Along the X-axis you have skill level, and along the Y-axis you have challenge level. People in their flow state are being perfectly challenged for their skill level, always moving up the chart diagonally right.

Every human being wants to be in a flow state and everyone can experience flow, but what holds everyone back?


So where does Basecamp fit into this?


Humans are way too easily distracted already [Wild Stat: 45% of people have 41+ digital devices] so adding a bunch of disjointed communication streams just confuses us more.

And since confusion saps creative energy, it reduces the chances of aligning our skill level with work that challenges us sufficiently well - which are prerequisites for being in Flow.

I speak with friends who run large projects in engineering, marketing and education departments. They all organise their teams mostly using email, WhatsApp, or if they're a startup something like Slack. Some have taken a step towards using something like Basecamp, but almost none use them properly.

The irony is most PM tools are just too hard to use! The whole point is to make everything easier!

Basecamp is different. It's simple, intuitive, and attractive to the eye. Why I else would I be in love with it? 😊

Good looks aside, imagine if you could:

  • Find any piece of information, reason for a decision, version of a document etc. without having to ask anybody.
  • Get up to speed quickly after returning from holiday, and instead of sapping the team's energy asking questions about what went on, you can infuse energy into the group with insightful ideas.
  • Easily find out what's been done at any moment and what you need to do next.

Those are a few obvious reasons but our brains are still a mystery and the way we come up with ideas even more so. Basecamp helps divert energy to that mysterious process and for that reason alone I wouldn't run a single project any other way.

About Robbie Maltby

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