Update 3/28/16: After a year and a half, both Asana and Basecamp have made substantial updates to their systems. This review reflects the latest updates as of today!
If you’re a project manager looking for new project management software, you’ve probably stumbled across the ongoing debate over what’s a better tool: Asana or Basecamp. Both are cream-of-the-crop software solutions, and project managers tend to have a (loud) preference for one or the other.
Asana vs Basecamp
But let’s take a step back. Beyond the brand-name loyalty and status-quo bias, which project management software program is best?
The answer, of course, depends on what features you’re looking for.
I featured Asana in my previous post titled “The Top 6 Free and Open Source Project Management Software for Your Small Business.” Asana got high marks because it’s free to use for up to 15 people. After that, pricing increases based on the number of users, but holds at a steady $8.33 per member per month when billed annually.
Basecamp, on the other hand, varies its prices based on team functionality and storage (every plan comes with unlimited projects). The first project is always free. From there, Basecamp charges $29 for internal teams. If you want to include outside clients, the fee jumps to $79 a month. If you’re an enterprise business, you can get all of Basecamp’s features (including 2TB of storage, guaranteed uptime, and a personal manager/consultant for your account) for $3,000 a year.
However… price is never the only factor to consider.
Basecamp offers unlimited projects and users with 100GB of space for just $29 a month — that’s a dramatic drop from last year’s price of $150. If your company needs more space, they offer a complete package of unlimited projects 500GB of space, and priority support for a flat fee of $3000 a year. Basecamp also adds, “You can buy as much extra storage as you need, whenever you need it, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of space.”
Asana, on the other hand, treats storage a little differently. “Asana doesn’t specialize in storage functionality, so instead offers integrations with cloud providers Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box,” said a company spokesperson. “For individual files uploaded to Asana, there’s a 100MB limit per individual attachment.”
To me, storage works very differently between the two systems–one’s local and through a single service whereas the other relies primarily on secondary applications. There is no clear winner–it all depends on your company’s workflow and storage preferences.
Features-wise, Asana and Basecamp are largely similar. So let’s look at how they’re different instead.
Asana’s ultimate goal is to make collaboration easy. It’s loaded with features that make it easy for users to pull information from a bird’s-eye view so you always have the long-term deadlines and goals in mind. It also offers keyboard shortcuts—around 40!—which makes managing your tasks far more efficient.
They’ve also made massive communications improvements in their latest update. In the last version of this article, we noted that chat functionality was limited to individual tasks. The updated version now allows conversations across projects and other members of the team.
Additionally, Asana has added the feature to create tasks straight from conversations on their suite. Not unlike Slack, Asana’s chat features allow users to sort, filter, and unfollow conversations that no longer apply to them (like leaving a way-too-big Facebook conversation about something that is completely irrelevant to you).
Basecamp, on the other hand, is extremely intuitive—reviewers have often compared its usability to Apple products.
Basecamp sends users a daily email to review what tasks were completed the prior day. If you want to review your project’s progress, you can pull a Marty McFly and go back in time by scrolling through the Daily Progress timeline. And Basecamp is always paying attention—it’ll automatically save your work as you type, so you never risk losing your work because of a crash.
Basecamp is easy to use, easy to learn, and keeps things simple.
I, personally, prefer Asana’s distinguishing features, though the differences between Asana and Basecamp are largely marginal. Both have fantastic calendar and collaboration tools and scale relatively easily (though one reviewer noted that Basecamp doesn’t service big projects as well as he would have liked and still lacks in reporting features).
And the Winner Is…
At the end of the day, Asana is my preference between the two. It’s not a ready to go kind of software, but I think once your team has it going, this project management solution has a greater ability to control, organize, and manage teams and assignments.
Basecamp and Asana are two of the leading project management software solutions out there. Which one do you prefer in the Asana vs Basecamp debate? Why? Or is there a third offering that trumps both of these? Leave your answers and comments below!