37,000ft is a third-party tool that shows you every milestone, todo, task and reminder on a single page.
I’ve long wanted to see, on a single page, all the tasks required of me across the multiple Basecamp accounts and projects that I’m a part of. I’m thrilled to announce that now, any user of the 37signals products can do just this. And for good measure, you can see all your Highrise tasks and Backpack reminders on this page as well.
There's a full explanation of why the SignalKit team decided to build the tool at Introducing 37,000ft.
Aging Wisely was founded in 1998 by Florida Elder Law Attorney Linda Chamberlain. She saw the varied needs of elders and their families and formed Aging Wisely so families would have help navigating care options. In 2005, she formed EasyLiving, Inc., a private duty home health care company serving individuals and families in Pinellas County, Florida with home care, companionship and senior transportation. Below, she explains how her companies use Backpack.
Our companies serve seniors in their homes and therefore have a very mobile work force. The families of our customers are all over the country and world. Employees are rarely in an office setting and communication and coordination are vital. 37signals tools have helped improve communication and efficiency. Because the products are so intuitive, employees didn’t experience the frustrations and learning curve that they did with other solutions we had tried.
Both companies use Backpack extensively, which has replaced accessing a server for documents or long strings of emails that become cumbersome. Our team can access the documents they need, share notes and information from virtually anywhere with web access. Aging Wisely’s care managers use iphones, so they can pull up information just about anywhere.
EasyLiving benefits from the shared calendar for managing time off, on-call schedules and trainings. With 24/7 services, client emergencies and communicating office happenings to a large number of fields staff, this is vital.
A couple of specific examples of how we use 37signals tools:
Our care management team at Aging Wisely is comprised of experts in the field of eldercare, with diverse specializations. We serve as resources for our clients and need to be up to date on everything from new healthcare requirements to latest Alzheimer’s research and what products can help our clients age in place. To do this well, we need to be able to share articles, training information, links, etc. We have different pages on Backpack for different topics, making it easy not only to share the information but to access it any time.
Our team is known for its expertise in the community and gets asked to do presentations for a variety of groups. We often do these speaking engagements together or work on the presentations and materials together. Our Director of Communications works remotely, but can collaborate from anywhere with ease using these tools. When we plan a presentation, team members will post ideas and work on input to the Power Point and/or handouts using Backpack.
My tip for other customers: For teams who aren’t used to using collaborative tools it can be a challenge to switch the mindset and get less email-dependent. Over time, though, people will see the benefits and develop new habits. Do a little demo for everyone and explain how the tools will make life easier. One of the great things about these tools is that they are pretty intuitive, so you don’t need any major training and the learning curve is minimal, but it helps to explain what the purpose and benefits are.
Do you use a 37signals product in an interesting way? Let us know.
Michael Wailes, Interactive Developer at Burns Marketing and Communications, examines the 37signals Suite as a project management system in his Geek Chic column at Northern Colorado Business Report. The piece looks at Basecamp ("truly puts collaboration into the project management process"), Highrise ("think of Highrise as Outlook on steroids: a conversation management system"), Backpack ("your company's intranet - a repository of all those things (forms, documents, how-tos, and guides) that are currently scattered across your office"), and Campfire ("looking for a way to have three or more users in a conversation, then Campfire is your answer").
For me, two things are a must when it comes to project/collaboration management software: simplicity and portability. I don't want to spend a tremendous amount of time learning how to use a system, or even worse, learn just the bare essentials and miss the real power and productivity aspects. I also want access in as many places as I can get it - in the office, at home or on the road...If you are looking for an affordable, accessible, well-supported set of tools to help organize your team and projects, then consider giving the 37signals Suite a try.
Real estate project manager Susan Helmer (below) offers up "Skills to Become a More Effective Manager":
You lead work projects and in order to successfully bring your projects in on time and on budget, you need your staff on the same page with you. A great way to do this is with real time collaboration. You should have a shared calendar, task list, reminders, a way to organize documents, and a journal. I am a big fan of the 37signals Basecamp project management tool. The Basecamp tool becomes even more powerful when used with the other 37signals collaboration tools - Highrise for Contacts and Backpack Organizer. Online project management and collaboration tools make it easy to organize projects around your team.
Fun idea for a Backpack page: a collection of your favorite quotations. You can even make it public and share it with the whole world. For example, here's Jason Fried's favorite quotes at Backpack. A sampling:
If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
The fairest rules are those to which everyone would agree if they did not know how much power they would have.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Marketing agency True Hero asks, "As business grows, client lists expand, taxes are due, and calendars filled up, how do you keep organized?" The answer is a list of tools to keep track of people, places, and things — and Highrise, Basecamp, and Backpack make the cut.
1. Highrise is Customer Management, Assistant, White-Board, Email, To Do all in one. TrueHero recommends Highrise to all our clients. It’s a one stop place for answers when responding to sales managers, accounts and reps. Each user can see who talked to the client last, when and what was discussed. Schedule a meeting, Task or Follow-up by Company, Brand or Client. You don’t have to bother Bob on his vacation for Client X’s info – it is right there in Highrise. Easy, efficient, and effective. Love this tool and it’s inexpensive...
3. Backpack is part of 37signals like Highrise. If you have the $99 package, Highrise, Backpack, and Basecamp is included. No need for Google Calendars – Backpack has a group calendar. A great alternative to mass emails, notifications and group organization. The 37signals tools work well together – one place, one app, easy.
The rest of the list includes tools like MailChimp, Mint.com, and Quickbooks. Check it out.
If you’d prefer to simplify your billing, you can pay for 37signals products in one lump sum. We’ll then pull from that credit instead of charging your card every month. We’ll email you when your balance runs low so you can recharge it.
To set up lump sum payment, click the “Account” link at the top of any screen. Then click the link for lump sum payments.
You’ll still get an invoice each month. When your lump sum is running out, we’ll send you an email to let you know.
tap tap tap's John Casasanta creates iPhone apps and recently published a list of tools that help the members of his “virtual” office collaborate in an effective way. He writes, "Out of all the apps and services I use throughout the day, I find myself spending most of my time in Backpack."
37signals’ Backpack has become an invaluable tool for our company. For each of our projects, we have one or more Backpack pages associated with it where we keep various lists and notes for the project. I say “project” versus “app” because we have several things in the works that affect more than one app (like social sharing, for instance).
The kinds of information that we store in Backpack are pretty varied. Here are some examples of what we keep in ours:
- to-do lists of features for our upcoming app versions
- bug lists
- lists of design sessions for each app
- product definitions, specifications, and notes
- app mockups and new feature mockups
One of the things I like most about Backpack is its freeform nature and that you can easily adapt it to whichever way works best for you. There are many similar services that try to put too many constraints and restrictions on how you structure your information but with Backpack you have a lot of freedom in this regard. A Backpack page for one of our apps is very unlikely to look like one for another one of our apps and that’s a good thing… the teams are free to organize the information for each project in ways that best suit them and Backpack goes a long way in helping us do that.