Shape Up Forum

Getting buy-in for Shape Up - Summarised Powerpoint Version of the Book


At AskNicely we are in the early stages of trailing Shape Up and I have focused heavily on getting proper buy in from the various stakeholders before we kick off.

A challenge we faced was that only a few of us actually read the book, and expecting the C-Level and engineers to read it seemed a bridge too far.

Instead I created a summary of the book in PPT format and presented it, sharing more insight and the stories from the book as I presented.

Here is a link to the Shape Up Overview deck in case it’s helpful to other people too.

We are super excited about this, thanks @rjs for writing it all up so we can all benefit from your experiences.



Good job! It would be nice to see some other approaches on how other companies adapted Shape up and experiences with that.

We at Avocode took it maybe a bit more heavily, but I think it works.

We are currently using Notion for all internal documents, meeting notes, a database of people etc. basically everything we are trying to keep there at one place. So regarding the Shape up we basically “rewrote” the book into our Notion. Means we extracted the key points from the book and wrote it how it applies to our company our people etc. When the meetings will be held, what are the key points of the development phase, who is attending the betting table, who are the shapers and all that kind of info.

Then after this, we held 2 workshops (~1h long) and explained it in a nutshell and show others where they can find all the details and additional info.

So far we are in the 2nd week of the first dev cycle, but I think it works well.

Anyway, I’d love to share the Notion template with you, but first, it needs to be evaluated and ready for public release (it has some NDA info).

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It depends if the people who you need buy-in from are feeling the pain at this moment.
That could be the pain of not shipping like in the early days or being a code monkey.

If they are not feeling any pain (but you are) I think Start with shaping is an excellent suggestion.
You probably don’t need much buy-in to start thinking and shape better projects to start with.
When you pitch such a project you have the opportunity to sneak in links to the shape-up book.

I’ve been playing the long game (to get buy-in) like this.
Trickling concepts from shape-up in my communication:

  • if someone asks: how much time does X take:
  • if someone throws multiple requests at me:

Then, just before the holidays came up, I had a chat with our CEO about the struggles I see in our organisation and how concepts like shaping, appetite, pitches and betting tables from Shape-Up could help us grow as a company in the next year. I sent a follow-up e-mail with a link to the book and got a positive reaction back.

We’ve just had our first betting table last week and started our first cycle this week.
I like to think that introducing the vocabulary earlier helped others in our organisation to at least recognise the pain and giving us means to talk about it.

ps: I work at a company with ~40 people where hierarchy isn’t a big thing. I realise having a chat with your CEO and voicing all the struggles you see in your organisation isn’t possible for everyone.
Trickling concepts in your communication is though :slight_smile:
Good luck and I’m interested in hearing other stories!


To get started at Zaarly, we went the other way and sold the idea of a pilot to our designers and developers. We said we were aiming to test this for two cycles in order to achieve more autonomy and more predictability, while reducing interruptions.

We scheduled a product team Q&A about it and asked everyone to read the book ahead of time. After the Q&A, everyone was willing to try it for at least one cycle.

It was not without it’s bumps, but seemed better enough to try it again and work out some of the kinks. We kickoff our 4th cycle this week and it just keeps getting better every time.

The positive side effects of other stakeholders knowing when something would be “done”, plus being able to be super hands-off during execution was enough for the whole executive team to buy in fully.

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For those interested I have made a template for Shape Up in Notion, which can be duplicated from here. I did put it in a seperate post, but that’s not showing up yet.


I was facing a similar issue in our company and I also did some internal presentation. It could be useful for somebody as an inspiration.

Anyway, my question goes even further. We are an agency working for our clients. And I really feel that this way of development could be beneficial to them:

  • Predictable deliverables with predictable timeframe and budget.
  • Force them to focus on the big picture and not on tiny unimportant details.
  • Bigger productivity of our team -> more music for less money for the client.

My question is, what is the best way how to sell it to the client? Does anybody have experience here trying to persuade a client to try this in an agency? Thanks.

It’s been 2 months since you wrote this but you can change your marketing and positioning to attract people who have pains around the benefits you’ve mentioned. It might not be for everyone but I’m sure there are people out there who’ll get it.