Basecamp and Slack have several features that overlap, including notifications and file sharing, but you’re not going to get the same functionality in both. Slack is a communication and messaging tool, while Basecamp is primarily project management.
Despite their inherent differences, Slack can actually enhance your Basecamp experience because these tools can work very well together. For example, you can easily import updates from Basecamp into Slack with Zapier.
Furthermore, using the Slack app Field Trip can enable your team to share and view their Basecamp activity within Slack so you keep related conversations and updates all in one platform.
In this article we’ll go through some of the major features of both tools and how they work together to benefit your organization.
Slack prides itself on having “all your apps in one place,” which gives you access and updates for your connected apps in your message logs, making them searchable. Teams often use these Slack integrations to notify teammates of bug tracking, product releases, sales and customer needs, and lots of other things. You can connect an RSS feed or webhooks into any of your channels, or you can use an outside app like Zapier to push updates to Slack.
Basecamp doesn’t have the same sort of integration capabilities that you’ll find in Slack, but you probably wouldn’t want to connect a whole lot of apps anyway. You can add or remove documents and trigger actions in other apps like Zapier, but this project management tool is really built to be a repository for your documents. You can forward project-specific emails into a project, but you won’t get automatic updates from other tools within Basecamp.
Without further ado, let’s get into some of the top features of both and how integrating them can give you a leg up in the day-to-day.
Basecamp approaches file sharing like a repository. Team members click into a project to add all the files associated with that project in a central location. The Docs & Files location can be segmented into folders, which can then be further organized with color coding and upload notes. A double-edged sword of this configuration is that files are public to the entire team that works on a single project. Sharing files between individuals or setting user permissions isn’t really in the cards here.
Files shared on Slack can get lost in the run of fast-moving conversations, both in the direct messages and the more populated team channels. There are ways around this, including a fairly robust search feature that scans all text and pinning messages, which floats the messages flagged as important to a special pinned list. Pinned messages live only in the channel where originally pinned, rather than showing as public to the whole group.
Integrating Basecamp with Slack can allow for easy file sharing through the Field Trip Slack app. Each of your staff members securely connect their Basecamp projects and share documents and files with all appropriate individuals. Users can even create documents and share them to the message board, so that other team members can view them and provide comments on them in Slack.
Basecamp to-do boards show all tasks, due dates, and assigned users in a single place within your project. You can also have all of your personal to-dos show up in your own dashboard. In-app messaging appears in the form of comment strings found in any project card. Another helpful feature lets your team forward emails from their inbox into the project, keeping all documents right in one place, and @messaging on a comment sends a notification to marked team members.
Slack has desktop notifications that show up for new messages and direct message notifications in the form of those little red circles that show up on an icon. You can change all of these settings and customize them to show (or not) for each team you work with. There is also a weekly update email for team owners or admins that shows your usage status. @messaging notifies team members and groups, so you can get a particular person’s attention by including their name in a message.
The Slack Field Trip’ app ensures that users never miss a Basecamp post by supporting notification features through Slack. Notifications sent to Slack will inform your staff when Basecamp to-dos are completed or created. And since your team will only need to pay attention to Slack to receive notifications for Basecamp, they will no longer be bombarded by alerts through two separate platforms.
Basecamp allows your team to build a central source of truth for complex projects with a lot of moving parts. This includes building files of documents, commenting on those files, and assigning tasks and due dates to particular project environments. Basecamp doesn’t go as far as other project management tools that let you build custom workflows and Gantt charts. Messaging can happen within a project, between individuals, or through group messages called pings that live outside of the projects.
Slack works as a conversation facilitator, bringing teams and individuals into a single app to talk and share files (and, of course, GIFs). As a messaging service, it works great, but Slack wasn’t built for document management or as a single source of truth for your projects. While message threads let you build a side conversation for any existing conversation without disrupting the flow, these can get lost quickly, especially in large organizations. The Enterprise Grid version has enhanced features for team collaborations, including workspaces, but even these work best as communication tools rather than project management tools.
Teams can integrate Basecamp and Slack together through Zapier to create collaborative workflows through both apps. For example, by connecting Basecamp 3 and Slack through Zapier, users can create Slack channels from new Basecamp 3 projects, allowing for straightforward Slack communication about particular projects. They can also post new Basecamp 3 messages, Basecamp 3 to-dos, or Basecamp activity to one or multiple Slack channels, so everybody can stay informed and updated on their Basecamp projects.
On the flip side, the integration of the products through Zapier also allows information from Slack to be shared within Basecamp. Users can add Slack channel messages as Basecamp 3 to-dos, and they can add new saved and pushed Slack messages as Basecamp 3 to-dos. Your team can even create campfire messages in Basecamp 3 from new messages posted to channels in Slack to ensure project members don’t miss a thing on either platform.
In basecamp, you can run granular reports based on tasks, projects, dates, team members, and more. All team members can run and access these reports, which include prepared rundowns that tell you what’s due and what’s left in a project. You can also have daily activity reports delivered to your inbox if you want to know your daily tasks without logging in.
In Slack, weekly update emails give team admins insight into how much your team uses the platform, but not a whole lot else. Slack also provides admins a team stats page with basic usage for all time, and paid tiers can access detailed usage information.
By using the products together to create integrated workflows with Zoho Flow or Zapier, you’ll have more thorough Basecamp reporting through connected communication from Slack. Therefore, Basecamp activity and task- and project-based reports will reflect all necessary information, even if it was originally communicated through Slack, so long as it was shared between both platforms.
The Slack and Basecamp 3 integration through Zapier also lets users send Slack channel messages with reports of new Basecamp 3 to-dos on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule to appropriate staff members. Meanwhile the Field Trip Slack app sends automatic check-ins so leaders and other users can stay informed on their team member’s productivity.
How Can I Integrate Basecamp and Slack?
There are multiple ways to integrate the Basecamp and Slack platforms for increased functionality. This can be done with connections through the Slack app Field Trip, Zapier, or Zoho Flow. While each of these integration options allow users to share their activity between the two platforms, they do have their differences:
- Zapier enables information and activity to be shared between the apps and used within one another to keep users on track.
- Zoho Flow uses information and activity from both apps together to create and trigger automated workflows.
- Field Trip enables just Basecamp activity to be shared within Slack and Google Chat.
Get the Most Out of Slack and Basecamp
While Basecamp and Slack have some similar functionality, you probably shouldn’t try to make a choice between the two. Instead of arguing the inherent value of Basecamp vs. Slack, your best bet would be to see how you can use both apps in concert because of their different use cases.
This way you can gain the benefits of each, with Basecamp allowing users to document team collaboration and tasks on projects and Slack enabling instant messaging and document sharing. Integrating the apps can provide even more functionality, as your information is connected and synced between platforms. So all reports are updated with relevant information, notifications are supported for all important events, and collaboration is supported by synced information from each platform and file sharing capabilities.
If you’re still not getting what you need with the Slack-Basecamp integration, consider some other project management or collaboration solutions. It may just be your team needs something more in line with your projects and collaboration styles.