It’s Not a Race

Projects don’t always have to feel like a sprint towards the finish line.

Why do so many projects feel like a race?

Maybe it’s the lingo. Sprint. Velocity. Deadline. Much like corporate language is littered with words of war, software development projects are lousy with references to speed and time.

Speed can be good. But sprinting towards every finish line is exhausting. No one does their best work when they’re constantly out of breath.

That’s why designers and developers rely on Basecamp to keep a steady pace.

When the entire project lives in one place, it’s much easier for teams to hit their stride… even if there are obstacles along the way (and there are always obstacles).

Want to learn how to keep projects calm from start to finish? Let’s look at how our Design Team navigated a real last-minute challenge on a project, without extra meetings, crazy hours, or costly delays.


Calm in the 11th Hour

In the days leading up to the launch of Bubble Up — the new snooze feature for our email tool HEY — our designer Michelle had a lot on her plate. Progress begets progress, and the work Michelle had shipped so far had led to even more ideas, tweaks, and challenges.

In the same way we believe wireframes are bad for creativity and every designer needs a space, we believe projects run best on six-week cycles. Meaning Michelle had just a few days left to navigate all the extra stuff that inevitably creeps up towards the end of a project.

To keep track of her punch list, Michelle organized various To-Dos and Hill Charts inside the Basecamp project for Bubble Up. This allowed the team to easily assign work and track progress from one single location, ensuring nothing fell through the cracks.

All the remaining work for Bubble Up, together in one place.
All the remaining work for Bubble Up, together in one place.

Of course, not every last-minute item on a project comes in the form of a tidy to-do.

As Bubble Up went through internal testing, a thorny question was brought forward by our CEO: What happens if you reply to a bubbled-up email? Does a reply constitute a pop, or does the message remain in Bubble Up until the user deliberately pops it?

These types of last-minute puzzles can derail project teams. A simple question raised during testing turns into a meeting, which turns into a whiteboarding session, which turns into a whole lot more work. And since meetings aren’t free, teams are left to pay the price by sprinting to catch up after the all the time they lost.

But with a fully-remote team spread across six different time zones, the most logical way for Michelle to work through the reply-to-pop question was to put it in Basecamp:

The Bubble Up project team working through the problem inside Basecamp.
The Bubble Up project team working through the problem inside Basecamp.

Instead of calling a meeting, the project team held an asynchronous discussion inside Basecamp, working through all the possible scenarios. In the end, this efficient conversation was all that was actually needed to make a decision.

No meetings. No whiteboards. No last-minute race to the finish line.


Keeping Pace with Basecamp

Next week we’ll share our final piece on Bubble Up, and look at how Michelle navigated the complex launch plan for this major new feature, all without ever leaving Basecamp.

Until then, get a taste of sprint-free projects by getting started with Basecamp for free today (no credit card, no commitment).

Originally published

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