Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters
Shape Up is for product development teams who struggle to ship. Full of eye-opening insights, Shape Up will help you break free of "best practices" that aren't working, think deeper about the right problems, and start shipping meaningful projects.
Trusted by millions, Basecamp puts everything you need to get work done in one place. It’s the calm, organized way to manage projects, work with clients, and communicate company-wide.
The way a team works has an enormous influence on what it can do. The process, the methods, the practices, the approach, the discipline, the trust, the communication style, the pace. The way—the how—is foundational and fundamental.
You’ll often hear people say “execution is everything,” but that’s not quite right. In fact, it’s often quite wrong.
When it comes to project work, and specifically software development, executing something the wrong way can destroy morale, grind teams down, erode trust, crunch gears, and wreck the machinery of long-term progress. So yeah, it’s “done,” but at what cost? By doing, what have we done to ourselves? Do we really have to do that again, over and over month after month, year after year?
How many projects have you been a part of that you’d want to do over? How many projects have gone long, piled up at the end, and burned people out? How many projects were essentially collections of unreasonable expectations? How many projects turned teams against each other, frustrated everyone from builder to stakeholder, and ultimately would have been better off dying than delivering?
Sometimes execution is everything—everything that’s wrong. So what does executing right look like?
For one, we’re not into waterfall or agile or scrum. For two, we don’t line walls with Post-it notes. For three, we don’t do daily stand ups, design sprints, development sprints, or anything remotely tied to a metaphor that includes being tired and worn out at the end. No backlogs, no Kanban, no velocity tracking, none of that.
Ya sólo en la primera página del libro dicen esto. No sé que pensarás....
"An appetite is completely different from an estimate. Estimates start with a design and end with a number. Appetites start with a number and end with a design. We use the appetite as a creative constraint on the design process."
En basecamp no deciden que quieren hacer y luego estiman el tiempo que les lleva, si no que deciden que quieren hacer y luego deciden durante cuanto tiempo quieren hacerlo.
Qué os parece? Agustín Cuenca
Backlogs are big time wasters too. The time spent constantly reviewing, grooming and organizing old ideas prevents everyone from moving forward on the timely projects that really matter right now.
So what do we do instead? Before each six-week cycle, we hold a betting table where stakeholders decide what to do in the next cycle. At the betting table, they look at pitches from the last six weeks — or any pitches that somebody purposefully revived and lobbied for again.
Nothing else is on the table. There’s no giant list of ideas to review. There’s no time spent grooming a backlog of old ideas. There are just a few well-shaped, risk-reduced options to review. The pitches are potential bets.
With just a few options and a six-week long cycle, these meetings are infrequent, short, and intensely productive.
If we decide to bet on a pitch, it goes into the next cycle to build. If we don’t, we let it go. There’s nothing we need to track or hold on to.
What if the pitch was great, but the time just wasn’t right? Anyone who wants to advocate for it again simply tracks it independently—their own way—and then lobbies for it six weeks later.
There is nothing special about bugs that makes them automatically more important than everything else. The mere fact that something is a bug does not give us an excuse to interrupt ourselves or other people. All software has bugs. The question is: how severe are they? If we’re in a real crisis—data is being lost, the app is grinding to a halt, or a huge swath of customers are seeing the wrong thing—then we’ll drop everything to fix it. But crises are rare. The vast majority of bugs can wait six weeks or longer, and many don’t even need to be fixed. If we tried to eliminate every bug, we’d never be done. You can’t ship anything new if you have to fix the whole world first.