At Autobooks we’ve done a number of projects using ShapeUp over the past year. The projects that have tripped the circuit breaker have mostly involved external dependencies.
A few months ago Ryan said to me, “you can’t place bets with other people’s money (resources/dependencies),” and that has stuck in my head.
Shaping and de-risking have helped us make a lot of progress with these projects:
- We have a better understanding up-front of what our desired result is, and we don’t find ourselves halfway through a project discovering that we can’t achieve what we set out to achieve.
- We use ShapeUp to force trade-offs and make sure we can cut scope as much as possible and still hit our objective.
The difficulty comes when we decide to place a bet. We’ve shaped the project and de-risked to the best of our ability. We place a bet that states, “if we achieve our objective it is worth investing 6 weeks of our time.”
We place the bet knowing full-well that the risk we can’t control is the external vendor that we’re working with and their ability to respond to questions, access requests (creds), bugs on their end, final certification, etc.
When we retro these projects we find that although we adhered to our method of execution and pushed the project forward (identify biggest unknowns up front, push things up the hill, …) we still trip the circuit breaker because we’re waiting on something from an outside party.
Has anyone found an elegant way to handle these projects? I’ve been trying to figure out some combination of shaping and de-risking up front, and then a kanban-style method of execution, but haven’t gotten very far.