Something better than Basecamp?

I was first introduced to Basecamp by Todd when working on the More Space project. Since then I have used it for a couple client projects. I have the 15 project subscription for about $22 per month. I like a lot of things about Basecamp but also wish it would do a few things it does not. I am wondering if there is something that better suits my needs and would love your feedback.

Here’s what I like about Basecamp:

  • It is web based and PC and Mac compatible. So anyone, anywhere can access the projects.
  • It is fairly user friendly. Once you get the hang of things, updating projects is simple.
  • It is easy to add people to projects.
  • It is not too clogged up in detailed or complex stuff (this is why I hate MS Project, by the way).
  • It is easy to share with clients.
  • You can monitor multiple projects at once.
  • It is affordable.

Here’s what Basecamp does NOT do that I want:

  • People who are assigned to just one project cannot see the to-dos assigned to just them. For big projects, this is a problem.
  • You cannot put a deadline on to-dos, just milestones. I would like to be able to put a goal time for completion on to-dos and milestones. It would be nice to seeing the to-do that are coming due without having to look through the entire list of to-do lists (on big projects this is hundreds of to-dos). I am putting the deadline in the content of the to-do description, but this date is not tracked by Basecamp at all.
  • I am using this to track several client projects. I am the company and my clients cannot see each other’s projects. This is achieved because I add them to the projects only, and not to my company. The down side of this is that I cannot assign people to more than one project without adding them to the company and giving them access to ALL projects. I have another client who wants to use the software to track major projects from each department. There is some sensitive and confidential information in some projects so it is important to be able to manage access. But some people need access to more than one project, so I am not sure this is the right solution for him (or me).
  • There are no reports or printer friendly lists. While the intent is to look online for the status, there is still a place for a few simple charts or project status printouts. Right now, you can print out the web pages, but this looks bad and will result in numerous pages when dealing with complex projects.
  • Basecamp only offers email support and I have not found their email support to be that helpful. I had to write a few times and the person who answered me was not helpful and did not "listen" to what I was asking. His emails to me were short and contained no useful information. I would state what I want to do and he said, "You can’t do that in Basecamp," or simply, "no," a few times. I can understand that it may not be feasible to have a customer service phone line for people using the free software, but as a paying subscriber, I would like the option to speak to a human.

I do want a web based solution. I want to track multiple projects. I want it to be simple to use. I want some basic reports/print outs. I want to be able to manage access. I want deadlines on milestones and to-dos. Buy the way, there is a huge market potential for something like this that helps leaders track and communicate progress to key projects and initiatives. I have several clients I would set this up with if I could find the right solution.

Let me know if you have any ideas for me. Thanks!