Andy Larkin

Andy Larkin

13 January 2015
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How to combine SCRUM and Basecamp in iterative app development

Here at Grappetite, we have always been running our projects in small iterations. We believe that this is the best way to design and develop a mobile app: it allows the client to test and give feedback on our work from the very beginning and to see the product growth in a natural way as we progress with the design and development. There are different ways of working in iterations. SCRUM is the methodology we are using here at Grappetite nowadays and we combine it with Basecamp to collaborate online. This is how we have set it up.


If you are not exactly sure what SCRUM is, here is a 10-second introduction. In SCRUM everything that has to be done by your team is written down on post-it notes. All these notes together are called the backlog. Your teams work in so-called sprints, cycles of two weeks which are marked by a start meeting where you define the things to be done in this sprint.

Why combining SCRUM and Basecamp?

 Before we started with SCRUM we used Basecamp already. It is a fantastic tool that allows us to create central online project places for our clients and us. We use the text editing features to write down and discuss project details and we keep track of the to-do. When we introduced SCRUM, we loved it, but we missed Basecamp. And more importantly, we hated the paper post-it notes and especially the writing on it 😊 So we figured out a way of combining SCRUM with Basecamp so that we don’t have to write paper post-it notes, making it easier to work from other places than the office and allowing us to discuss tasks online with our clients.

Mixed teams

We work in teams with mixed disciplines: web developers, UI and UX designers and developers, app developers, and project managers work together in small teams of approximately 4 people and generally work for the same clients.</p>

Putting the SCRUM backlog on Basecamp

 On Basecamp we have created backlog dummy users for each discipline, for example ‘Backlog web development’, ‘Backlog app development’, etcetera. New tasks which come in are assigned on Basecamp to these backlog users.

Putting the SCRUM sprint on Basecamp

Each team has on Basecamp their own ‘sprint’ user, i.e. ‘Sprint Team A’, ‘Sprint Team B’, etcetera. When we start a sprint we assign all tasks that will be done in this sprint per team to the ‘sprint’ user of that team. The tasks that are assigned to this sprint are printed per 10 on A4 paper. Each discipline has its own color code, which helps team members identifying tasks they can do on the SCRUM board. After we have planned out the sprint we paste the printed SCRUM cards on the board and off we go.

The next step? We’d like to generate the post-it notes from Basecamp automatically. 

Was this helpful to you? Please share your thoughts and the way you use SCRUM and Basecamp below!

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