Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters

Published: August 22nd, 2019
Reviewed: 2019

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Never has a book about produt management and development cycles been so good! This small, free book is PACKED with a bunch of useable ways to make your own product development much more effective and efficient. Not everything will be a 1:1 map to your flow, but its a good frame of mind to get in to.

The process Basecamp uses to build and most importantly SHIP features is pretty unique and developed over time to fit for the team and work they wanted to get done. Admirably, they prioritize "work-life" balance and their project planning reflects that mentality.

With 6 week cycles of planning for the next iteration while the current itteration of execution are happening, it allows for ideas to be fully formed before hitting the screen designing, coding and copy writing. If an idea doesnt fit into six weeks, and it cant be done in phases then it doesnt get planned - shelved until there is a greater appetite for the idea.

I loved th concept of ramp time after the 6 week iteration, where teams are able to wrap up fit and finish, tidy up tech debt or address small things they saw in the ecosystem while working on the feature. It gives a much needed mental breather before getting into another round of feature work.

This is a quick read, you can find it free on their website here. I have taken these learnings and applied some nuggets to the agile processes I've worked in at various companies. Unless you are starting your own basecamp-like company, then the full shape up process might not work for you. But you can still take some of the ideas and improve your product management.