Coming back to this question to reflect more. Some of this will echo what @nayaab said and that we’ve observed/are guilty of as well
Writing pitches last minute, Implementing too fast
This seems to be the biggest one. It was particularly noticeable in our first cycle when we decided last minute to implement shape up. If you’re going to do shape up I recommend giving a full 4-6 weeks to shape and prepare the team for what’s coming. You also want to make sure that the people doing the shaping have ample time out-of-cycle and start early. This seems to be a side effect of Shapers being very very heavily involved in in-cycle work to be able to focus on Shaping, and the main problem that doesn’t seem to have an answer in sight for us yet.
No betting table
While I think generally not having a betting table is okay, I think it can lead to situations where work isn’t shaped well enough, and projects are started with incomplete shaping. There needs to be a checks and balances system for a group to agree “that is properly shaped and we’re willing to bet on it”.
Late Cycle Scope Creep
This is the one that I’ve seen a LOT, which is that the team working on the project is left to their own devices for too long during initial cycles (not enough Shape Up experience) and I end up seeing things implemented that were clearly defined as out of scope or a rabbit hole. Part of this is building habits, making sure we’re going back to the initial pitch often, having discussions early, and doing the hard work first (get everything up the hill first).
No Breadboards and Fat Marker Sketches
I don’t have any causal data on this one but it seems to me like the projects that don’t include breadboards and fat marker sketches are the ones most likely to get into the weeds.
Some of the little things I’ve noticed that need to be addressed to change the mind set.
- Up to date to do lists and hill charts - I’m all about leaving everyone alone to do their work but I don’t think it’s too much of an ask for engineers and designers to keep detailed lists of what is remaining to be done. My feeling is that if they’re keeping track of these lists somewhere they might as well be visible, and if they’re not then there’s a problem that is deeper than being able to Shape Up.
- Radio silence - OK if hill charts and to do lists are changing, not OK if nothing seems to be happening. Check in to see what’s going on. A lot of time it’s habit building, the work is being done but not transparently. Make sure the team knows that the benefit of the transparency is that check-ins are not longer required. Trust but verify
- Conviction - I struggle with this one myself, which is to not have periods of time where you’ve created a project of “refinements” that “need to be done” and calling it “small batch”. That’s laziness and not Shape Up. I should go shut down my refinements project oops.