Over the last many years, Basecamp was a significant source of inspiration, but their book on product design is a hard read. Some thoughts follow where I disagree with their approach. Their book is located here: https://basecamp.com/shapeup
1/ A lot of interesting projects take longer than a six-week cycle, so it's strange to try to limit everything to fit an artificial time limit. We also work in cycles, but we accept that some ambitious projects can take multiple cycles to complete.
2/ The goal should be to build amazing things for the customers. The goal isn't to artificially limit scopes to fit cycles, or to keep your company or team small.
3/ A lot of jargon is used (shaping, appetite, risks, bets, etc.), which makes this a lot harder to understand than it needs to be. What has worked for us is to focus on producing some rock-solid product, design, and technical specs before starting development.
4/ A thing we have learned the hard way: Don't start developing without a clear product and design spec. Development is by far the most expensive thing to do, and you should only begin once you know what you'll build. Right now, we can spend a cycle on just a design spec.
5/ It's weird that marketing and support aren't included in the actual work. In most of our projects, we add one marketing and one support person as they provide valuable and more customer-oriented insights.
6/ It seems like testing, iterating, and polishing isn't core parts of their flows. Sometimes you miss out some critical details that can only be found by using the products. Sometimes you need to do more iterations to perfect a thing.
7/ The most unproductive time we have had inside our company was when we executed without an overall vision. It's healthy to envision what you want to build than to "randomly" pick stuff to work on every six weeks...
8/ I don't think of Basecamp when I think of a fantastic product, and their way of doing product could explain why. It seems a lot of their focus is finding a way to build as least as possible instead of focusing on building the best damn product there is.
9/ Final and most critical point: Don't follow anybody blindly. Think from the first principles and do stuff that makes sense in your team and company. Experiment and see what works!
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