Blog>Team managment

Adding or Removing Admins and Owners in Basecamp

Evgeniya Ioffe - April 14th 2024 - 6 minutes read

In the fast-paced world of digital project management, the ability to adapt and refine team roles is essential for sustaining efficiency and harmony. Within the ecosystem of Basecamp, the nuanced responsibilities and dynamics of Admins and Owners play a pivotal role in this process. This article delves into the art and strategy of effectively adding or removing these key figures, offering a comprehensive guide that illuminates best practices, addresses the delicate nature of role transitions, and presents practical insights through engaging case studies. Whether you're looking to optimize your team's structure, enhance project outcomes, or navigate the complexities of change management, the following sections will equip you with the knowledge and tools to maintain a resilient and productive Basecamp environment.

Understanding the Roles: Admins vs. Owners

In the Basecamp ecosystem, distinguishing between the roles of Admins and Owners is crucial for efficacious team collaboration and project management. Admins bear the responsibility of overseeing daily operational tasks within the platform, such as adding or removing project members, adjusting permissions, and ensuring that team communications and tasks are well-organized. Their powers, however, have a defined limit to ensure a balance of control within the environment. This role is designed to facilitate smooth project flows and maintain the structural integrity of teamwork without granting access to more sensitive account-wide settings and data.

Owners, on the other hand, carry a broader and more impactful set of privileges that extend beyond the operational to encompass strategic oversight of the Basecamp account. This role includes the ability to manage billing, change account settings, modify storage solutions, and enforce two-factor authentication, alongside adding or removing other Owners – a power not vested in Admins. The essence of the Owner’s role is rooted in accountability, not just for project outcomes but for the security, financial, and administrative integrity of the Basecamp environment. It is a role that requires a high degree of trust and responsibility, reflecting its capacity to affect significant changes across the entire platform.

Understanding the delineation between Admins and Owners is not merely an academic exercise; it's a foundational aspect of effective Basecamp governance. Clear demarcation of responsibilities ensures that operational and strategic tasks are aligned with the appropriate levels of access and authority, thereby minimizing risks and optimizing the platform's utility. Moreover, clarifying these roles can dispel common misconceptions about their respective scopes of influence, empowering teams to utilize Basecamp more effectively and with greater confidence. This clarity enhances overall account security, project efficiency, and ensures a coherent division of labor that is critical for scaling operations and managing complex projects within Basecamp.

Adding Admins and Owners: Best Practices

Selecting the right individuals to act as Admins and Owners in your Basecamp account is a crucial decision that impacts not just the operational efficiency of your projects, but also the overall team dynamics. Begin by evaluating potential candidates based on their ability to fulfill project requirements, their communication skills, and their demonstrated leadership qualities. For Admin roles, focus on individuals who are adept at managing day-to-day operations, organizing project tasks, and facilitating team communications. Owners, on the other hand, should be chosen for their strategic vision for the project or the company, their ability to make high-stakes decisions, and their commitment to steering the project or organization towards its goals.

The next step involves planning the distribution of roles to ensure that the operational flow within Basecamp is both efficient and harmonious. It’s essential to strike a balance between having enough Admins to manage the workload and maintain smooth operations, without overcrowding the platform with too many chiefs. Equally important is the strategic selection and number of Owners, who will have the final say in critical decisions and therefore should be kept to a selective minimum. This balance ensures that while the day-to-day project management is adequately handled, strategic decisions are not delayed by having too many opinions at the helm.

Finally, once the right candidates have been identified, adding them to Basecamp as Admins or Owners should be done with clear communication about their roles, responsibilities, and the expectations from them. This includes briefing them on the specific permissions their new roles entail, the extent of their decision-making authority, and the key project or company objectives they will help achieve. It’s important for new Admins and Owners to understand not just their individual roles, but also how they fit into the larger picture of the project’s or organization’s goals, ensuring everyone is aligned and moving towards the same outcomes.

Removing Admins and Owners: Minimizing Disruption

Removing individuals from the pivotal roles of Admin and Owner within the Basecamp environment demands a careful, considered approach to minimize disruption to both project continuity and team morale. The process must be handled diplomatically, ensuring that any changes in roles do not lead to unintended gaps in project management or a decline in team performance. Before initiating the removal, it is crucial to assess the implications of such a decision on ongoing projects and overall team dynamics, with a particular focus on maintaining a positive work environment and ensuring that critical tasks are not left unattended. Transparent communication about the changes and the reasons behind them can help in mitigating any adverse reactions from the team and maintaining trust among members.

In planning the removal of an Admin or Owner, it is equally important to consider the redistribution of their responsibilities. This stage requires a strategic approach to reassign their duties to other capable individuals within the team, ensuring there is no loss in productivity or oversight. Identifying team members with the appropriate skills and the capacity to take on additional roles is a key step. Training might be necessary to equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in their new or expanded roles. This proactive measure helps in ensuring the seamless continuation of project management practices and preserves the integrity of team operations.

Lastly, adjusting access rights and permissions is a critical technical step in this transition. The removal process should be followed by a thorough review and realignment of access levels to secure company data and protect intellectual property. This involves not only restricting access for the individuals who are being moved out of their Admin or Owner roles but also ensuring that those assuming new responsibilities have the access they need to be effective in their roles. By carefully managing this transition, companies can maintain operational continuity, uphold data security, and ensure the team remains focused and motivated, thereby mitigating any potential disruption from changes in leadership roles.

In one real-life scenario, a rapidly growing startup faced the challenge of adding new admins into their Basecamp system as they expanded. Initially, the founder acted as the primary admin, closely monitoring all project progress. However, as the team grew, the need for additional admins became evident to manage the increasing workload. The transition was not smooth; several projects experienced delays as new admins took time to adjust. The solution was to implement a detailed onboarding process for new admins, focusing on specific Basecamp functionalities relevant to their roles. This approach significantly improved the efficiency of new admin integration, minimizing disruptions in project timelines.

Another case study involves a company that had to remove an owner from their Basecamp account due to a shift in business strategy. The owner had been deeply involved in setting up the projects and had extensive permissions across the platform. Removing them risked losing important historical data and insights into project management decisions. To mitigate this, the company decided to first change the owner to an admin role, restricting their access while retaining their contributions to project discussions and files. They then allocated time to carefully transfer knowledge and permissions to another trusted team member who was promoted to the new owner. This careful, step-by-step approach ensured that the team could maintain productivity and that valuable project insights were not lost during the transition.

Lastly, a hypothetical example illustrates a situation where conflict arose after adding multiple admins without clearly defining their roles. The overlapping responsibilities led to confusion and inefficiencies, with important tasks being either neglected or duplicated. The solution was to convene a meeting to reassess the distribution of roles and responsibilities amongst the admins. Each admin was then assigned specific, non-overlapping tasks based on their strengths and the needs of the project. This reorganization, coupled with regular check-ins, helped streamline operations and significantly improved team dynamics and project outcomes. These examples underscore the importance of strategic planning, clear communication, and careful execution in managing role transitions within Basecamp to ensure ongoing project success and team harmony.


In this article, we explore the process of adding or removing Admins and Owners in Basecamp, the popular digital project management platform. We discuss the distinct roles and responsibilities of Admins and Owners, highlight best practices for selecting and onboarding individuals into these roles, provide guidance on smoothly transitioning or removing individuals from these positions, and present real-life case studies to illustrate effective strategies for managing role transitions. The key takeaways from this article include the importance of clear role delineation, strategic planning in role assignments, transparent communication during transitions, and careful redistribution of responsibilities to minimize disruption and maintain team morale.