Shape Up is a new book published on the web that describes how we build software at Basecamp. The 6-week cycles, scoping the work, budgets instead of estimates, assigning projects not tasks, and forgoing the dreaded backlog. It's all here. https://basecamp.com/shapeup/
The book also answers the question: How do you use Basecamp to build software at Basecamp? Lots of concrete examples of everything from how asynchronous messages do most of the heavy lifting, and synchronous chat very little of it. And how it all stays in one place: Basecamp.
But this is ultimately less about tools and more about values. How we share a lot of traditional agile sentiments, but reject most of the concrete practices from the likes of Scrum. This is an agile method where designers have as much to say as programmers.
An a method that shows a way out of the feature factory and the endless backlog slog. An approach that seeks to grant deeper meaning in the work by delegating more of it, without giving up on a high-level vision for product development. A fine, thin line, but oh so rewarding.
It also feels like finally revealing the secret sauce of Basecamp. We've been sharing everything from Ruby on Rails to design techniques to how to build a company to how to strengthen culture. But never the full method of HOW the actual work is done. This is that.
Also, like most things we share, it's completely free! This isn't a capital-M methodology with certifications, workshops, and endless upsells. It's simply the method of how we work at Basecamp. Shared because we care about the craft and wish for more to have a better time at it.
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