Monday, July 15, 2019 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Shape Up

Ryan Singer (Ryan Singer):

This book is a guide to how we do product development at Basecamp. It’s also a toolbox full of techniques that you can apply in your own way to your own process.

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First, we work in six-week cycles. Six weeks is long enough to build something meaningful start-to-finish and short enough that everyone can feel the deadline looming from the start, so they use the time wisely.

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Second, we shape the work before giving it to a team. A small senior group works in parallel to the cycle teams. They define the key elements of a solution before we consider a project ready to bet on. Projects are defined at the right level of abstraction: concrete enough that the teams know what to do, yet abstract enough that they have room to work out the interesting details themselves.

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Third, we give full responsibility to a small integrated team of designers and programmers. They define their own tasks, make adjustments to the scope, and work together to build vertical slices of the product one at a time. This is completely different from other methodologies, where managers chop up the work and programmers act like ticket-takers.

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This book is about the risk of getting stuck, the risk of getting bogged down with last quarter’s work, wasting time on unexpected problems, and not being free to do what you want to do tomorrow.

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