Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

I’ve already said in a previous post that I really like Project Bubble. I’ve recently used it to complete a project in super-quick time by keeping everything in one place and with the recent implementation of Gantt charts (http://projectbubble.com/blog/2014/01/you-asked-for-gantt-charts), my reporting to project stakeholders has now become even better.

But when I start a project I very often meet resistance to using PB simply because there are other, bigger brands out there that appear to have this market wrapped up. The biggest of these is Basecamp which appears to have achieved legendary status amongst project managers and their brand is so powerful that people immediately refer to it when talking about online collaboration.

Brand is good, but brand can sometimes mean you dive into something without fully understanding what it is you’re buying in to? This article discusses compares one particular aspect of both tools and is in no way bashing one or the other, or promoting one above the other.

In fact, I decided to use Basecamp more (we had a corporate account) after writing this. It seems there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” in this world.

What does Basecamp do?

Basecamp is simple. Its simplicity is what’s got it so many users in such a short period of time and it’s also why people keep using it. If you want to get things done by allocating the tasks to others the Basecamp is brilliant at this. You can add a task and have it assigned to someone within seconds.

Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble image basetask 600x371Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

The person who’s just picked up the task gets it emailed to them and then they can work on it. So far, so good. Basecamp keeps track of everything and if you have put a due date on it, that will be put in the calendar.

But, Basecamp pushes itself as a project tool – is this project management?

Expenses and costs

How much does that task cost? What will it cost the client in time and resources? Well here’s where the big problem hits – if you’re a contractor looking to add expenses and track your costs then Basecamp, in its basic guise, isn’t going to do that. You need to look elsewhere and for this Basecamp has a lot of integrations, just head over to their ‘integrations’ page:

Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble image intergrate 600x425Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

Timesheets, expenses and accounts! These integrations make it really easy to begin time tracking within Basecamp, assuming you’re willing to foot the cost.

Project Bubble’s answer

Of course it would be remiss of us to ignore what Project Bubble can bring to the party, so let’s do that now!

The first thing to notice is that tasks aren’t just there to be done or not done, if you have someone who has to work on it and that work is billable or you need to find out how long it too, you can have a timer running as you’re doing it. No need for add-ons, it’s just there.

Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble image pubble 600x159Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

Similarly, when you’re doing the work, you might want to stop for a while and add in a note to explain where you’ve got and importantly, update the project with progress. That’s simple, too. Just click on the ‘Progress’ bar and tell it how far you’ve got:

Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble image progressTime Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

Again, this is native to Project Bubble – no external programs needed.

Finally, what about billing? That’s built in, too:

Time Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble image billingTime Tracking in Basecamp and Project Bubble

When the task is finished you can add your timesheet to the bill and this will be automatically added to the invoice ready for the client, easy!

Summary

Both systems are simple to use and very cost effective, however Basecamp is ideal if your projects don’t require billable time to be managed within the applications and your tasks are simple to quantify.

If you need more complex reporting, want to invoice directly from the package or need to present charts and information on time done to clients or managers, then Project Bubble may be your best bet.

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