Shape Up, Introduction

Shape Up is the book written by Ryan Singer. It is a product development methodology.

Shape Up is for product development teams who struggle to ship. If you’ve thought to yourself “Why can’t we ship like we used to?” or “I never have enough time to think about strategy” then this book can help.

– Official Website of Shape Up

Read the book first

This series of articles shares my thoughts on the implementation of Shape Up. Based on my past experiences as a software developer, project manager, scrum master, product owner and engineering manager. I do not provide the perfect recipe for your company but may inspire you and highlight the challenges upfront. I also mention techniques from the other frameworks/methods you may try to apply within Shape Up

As I want to extend the topic, I try not to repeat the book.

Please read the book first - it is free, short, essential and pleasant to read.

Table of Contents

ToC below is my current understanding of what I want to cover. It may change over time, but it’ll be eventually consistent.

  1. Introduction
  2. When not to follow the book
  3. Shaping vs Building
  4. Who does the Shaping?
  5. Are Pitches the problems to solve?
  6. Before Shaping there is a Chaos
  7. Building, when Pitches get converted into Projects:
    1. Project kickoff
    2. Project Leadership and Project Roles
    3. Planning the execution
    4. Respecting people’s strengths
    5. Focusing on feedback and early testing
    6. Scope changes
    7. Monitoring the progress
    8. Release models
    9. Project closure
  8. Cooldown:
    1. Finishing projects during the cooldown
    2. Transparency and what to do
  9. Structure:
    1. Length and the first day of the cycle
    2. Async, sync, written, verbal
    3. Supporting your users
    4. Reporting to the board/stakeholders
    5. Composition of the teams
  10. Shaping:
    1. Modern product discovery
    2. Strategy and road mapping
    3. Big projects
    4. Not everything is a Shape Up project
  11. Shape Up at scale and the program management


The series consists of my thoughts on the topic and my past experiences. However, there are a few people who influenced it:

Disclaimer: This is a series of my thoughts. People mentioned above may have different opinions on this topic. They most likely disagree with me in many cases, just as I agree and disagree with them.