Shape Up Forum

Hillcharts Without Basecamp (Tracking Knowns vs Unknonws)

Hi all,

I’m wondering for those of you who aren’t using Basecamp as a tool in your company, what are you using (if anything) to replicated Hillcharts? I.e. how are you tracking you getting your team to track/identify their knowns vs unknowns? Curious to hear what people have MacGyver’d together or if you aren’t doing anything, do you feel like you’re missing anything?

At our company (we use Azure DevOps - which is kinda hate), on our KanBan board, I’ve replaces to typical status columns - To Do, In Progress, Done, etc - with “Has Unknowns” & “No Unknowns”. I’m finding it’s better than nothing, but definitely missing seeing a sense of progress for when things are in either of those states. It’s hard to tell if things are stuck there or moving slowly without asking someone.

Looking forward to hearing what others have tried! :slight_smile:

At Trafi we’re adopting Shape Up gradually and really wanted to give hill charts and scopes a go without moving to Basecamp. Requirements that we had for hill charts:

  1. All scopes on one hill
  2. Allow for precise placement of scopes
  3. Easy way to see change history
  4. Easy access to the hill chart for everyone
  5. A simple tool

Easiest approach we though of was having a physical whiteboard dedicated to the hill chart. Though, it does not have change history (unless you take pictures) and it is not available for remote workers.

To overcome the above shortcomings we though of using an “online whiteboard”. And it turns out that we already have a tool like this used by our company - Figma (any online design tool would do). It easily matches all of our requirements :raised_hands: The only drawback is that we had to sync scope names between two places, though, we knew this is inevitable without actually using Basecamp.

You can see (and copy) our template for a hill chart in Figma here :wink:

We were really happy about our trial on hill charts with Figma and are planning to try out Basecamp for our next cycle.

Good luck! :four_leaf_clover:


Thanks so much for sharing your Figma project! That’s really cool.

Funnily enough, also used Figma to create our own Hill Charts (yours is better haha), but in the end the team didn’t like double-handling items across 2 tools, so we stopped using that. That might be a little unique on my end, as I’ve got a dev team that’s fairly adverse from using any new/additional tools to what they currently use. With that said, our front-end devs are looking into using Figma, to perhaps we’ll try use it for Hill Charts again if the rest of the team starts using Figma for other things anyway.