From an internal Basecamp announcement re: pings/IMs
Jason Fried

I think this is interesting because of the fuzzy line that can exist between macro- and micro-management. It could seem to some that this is just about the most minute thing you guys could possibly get involved in — “Did they seriously make a rule that says I can’t hit someone with ‘Yo’ in a direct message?!” I can’t even imagine any of the CEOs I’ve worked for in the past doing something similar.

And yet, coming from you guys, it feels exactly right, because you understand that how we work matters, and the principle of this is rooted in your long-standing desire to minimize distractions that prevent people from being more productive (and therefore, happy) in the workplace. That you took the step to make this rule illustrates that you’re not just talking. You mean it.

It can be hard to set specific rules like this on teams. You want software like Basecamp to seem easy and intuitive, and you don’t want people to feel like it’s got all this red tape around it. Yet, from “Is this a to-do, or a milestone?” to “Do I start a new thread when I post an updated file, or use the same one?” and on and on, there is room for interpretation on how teams will use it together. There should be these tiny, specific rules — these project management team principles — that help remind us all that it’s not the tool that makes us work smarter. It’s up to us to use the tools we’re given effectively, and with purpose, and with the right amount of communication and clarity.

(P.S. I’m a Basecamp Classic user since forever, and have actually not ever used Basecamp 2 or 3 on a project with a team. That may be evident from my feature references above.)

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