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Shape Up

BaseCamp Shape Up


Software development could be an innovative field to get into, and the way to manage software development needs some good advice. Shape Up covers that. However, the book is directed strictly at certain types of projects. 


Product development teams can read Shape Up by Ryan Singer, which will eventually help them to enhance their product development teams who are in a constant battle to shape, build, and ship. 

What is the book about?

The primary idea that the target of this book is about software projects and how they can be finished within a span of 6 weeks. This is only possible if the right set of techniques is followed and the desired mindset is invested. 


A few of the techniques that are explained beautifully in the book are:


  • Always have a backup for crucial stances. Quality, time, and resources should always be fixed, but the scope can be varied for work to fit and sit well with the timelines.
  • Shaping projects before diving right into the work can help eradicate crucial problems and keep the solutions handy.
  • Using techniques like breadboarding and fat marker sketches can take help in ascending the communication designs.
  • Designers and developers can be served with an uninterrupted timebox that will allow them to complete any given project within the said deadline without the intervention of their reporting managers.
  •  Prioritizing tasks by segregating and grouping them based on the scope and timeline. Projects can be broken down into smaller tasks, and tasks can then be grouped based on the scope.
  • Using “Hill Charts” to track the progress of the team as well for delivering the progress ratio inside and outside of the development team.

Key Takeaways!

Shape Up follows the traditional and informal style that will make it easier for you to turn pages. The book also has some excellent insights into methodologies like SCRUM and Agile.


The book explains the four steps of shaping work.

  • Start with setting up some boundaries.
  • Draw out the various elements that will be used in the solution
  • Address the upcoming risks and mark the rabbit holes
  • The key element: The Pitch


“The Pitch” is the most essential in shaping up. The five major recipes of a good pitch are:


  • Problem
  • Appetite
  • Solution
  • Risks
  • No-gos

Worth the Read?

You will certainly enjoy reading Shape Up, and the book is sure going to take you in-depth thinking about the real project management issues that we come across. The book is full of great opinions and advice, portrayed well through strong ideas. 

Shape Up is a process description that is mainly developed by a bunch of people who have solely invested themselves in one product and one company. This book can help anyone benefit, which follows a similar approach and culture. 

It is alright to say that Shape Up can be easily applied to many other software development projects and environments. However, the lack of proper management could result in unwanted results. Anyone who is walking their way to the software development domain or is working in it can read this book for great additions.

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Mayuresh S. Shilotri writes on Product, EdTech, UX, Customer Development & Early Stage Growth. 2,000-Word posts only. You can discover more about me here

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