Show&Tell of daily practicing ShapeUp in your team

At Firmhouse we use Basecamp for doing product development and project management across our company. In that sense, we’re pretty much modeled around how ShapeUp seems to be executed by Ryan Singer and his colleagues.

This week DHH and Jason Fried did a livestream of show&tell on how Basecamp works remotely. A big chunk of that livestream was about going through the motions of ShapeUp with shaping, pitching, but also running a project.

I thought it might be very helpful for us to “show&tell” really day-to-day insights into each other’s work and project. I’m aware that not everyone can share those because of sensitive information or other policies.

So here’s a short 10-minute screencast where I explain how we are running a project in our third cycle of 2020 (we use 4-week long product cycles and then 1 break week). This was meant to be an internal video to the rest of our team, but I think it’s a great thing to also show here:

In this video I show you the state of a project 3 days in where we are still kind of in the “discovery” phase, and figuring out how to start executing on a project. Concepts shown/introduced:

  • Kicking off a project and finding conclusions for open gaps/questions
  • Using an “inbox” todo list as a container to put anything that comes up during the project
  • Splitting up a shape into project scopes/slices
  • Using the hill chart to show progress

Hope anyone finds this useful and very curious to see other “real life” examples or video walkthroughs of how you execute on ShapeUp on a day-to-day level.


@Michiel this is amazing. Thank you for sharing. I already had to stop your video and tweet your discussion-to-do trick a few minutes in!

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@michiels thanks for sharing that. I really liked the way that you are “numbering” the cycles I will steal that idea for sure :slight_smile:

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Thanks @rjs! I noticed that :eyes:

I’ll try to get a bunch more short videos out over the course of this project. Would be great to show all our “stages” for this project in the coming 4 weeks, including the end result!

For anyone interested: I made another +/- 10 minute video about the progress after a few days when a bit more actual coding got done:

Concepts shown/introduced:

  • Adding a new question to Questions/Discussions list that popped up while exploring our current codebase
  • Adding raw UI so that the designer can already work with some database fields I hooked up on a model.
  • Extracting fixing a bug out of the cycle project and sharing with the wider Engineers team. And then coming back to the cycle again.
  • Showing how todos on Basecamp relate to GitHub PRs and how we’re using feature a branches for collaboration.
  • Informing my designer on the project about initial progress made
  • Updating the Hill chart for the new project.

Really enjoying these videos @michiels! Thanks for sharing :slight_smile:


@aylon That’s great to hear! Any requests or topics I can zoom into or highlight?

@michiels Honestly, I wouldn’t want to influence what you cover in the videos. I find it interesting to get your views on what is actually happening and how you & the team are acting on those things and work together as they occur (whether that’s smooth sailing or unexpected things, it’s all good to see!). Appreciate you taking the time to put the videos together.

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That’s fair. Will do!