Ryan’s advice on coaching is solid. For what it’s worth, here’s what our team does.
Our shaping team avoids scope altogether. We use a construct called a target condition to “theme” each cycle. Here’s the target condition from our second cycle:
‘When I feel unsure about reaching out to [our company], let me find information online, so that I can trust [our company] actually does what I’ve heard of them.’
(The wording is weird because we use Shape Up for marketing, not product, so our target condition is always written in the potential customer’s voice.)
The big batches of shaped work are all aligned to this target condition, but the scoping is left purely to the delivery team. Since I’m also on the delivery team, it’s easy for me to coach … but I’m usually hands off. Because the delivery team knows the target condition, they have a good compass for managing their scope. Either their scope gets them closer to the target condition, or it doesn’t. I’m willing to let them learn that on their own.
Using target conditions has had two unexpected side effects on the delivery team. The first is an increase in unsolicited pitches. It spurs them to think of other ways to achieve that target condition that we either haven’t shaped yet or flat-out missed.
The second is questioning our shaped work and actually doing additional demand-side user research during the cycle. This happened just last week. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, because in theory research should take place on the shaping side. Still, I was pretty excited that someone felt confident enough to push back and be skeptical of the research behind the presumptive “fully shaped” work.
Anyway, tl;dr – we solved the scope issue by ignoring it for the most part in shaping and then passing the buck in full to the delivery team—but give them a target condition “compass” that hopefully keeps them pointed in the right direction.