Podcast Awesome

Why We Use "Shape Up" for Project Management

November 07, 2023 Season 1 Episode 20
Podcast Awesome
Why We Use "Shape Up" for Project Management
Show Notes

In this podcast Matt and Travis discuss Shape Up, a project management philosophy created by 37 Signals, the makers of Basecamp, and how it helps Font Awesome stay on track. Instead of trying to build everything at once, Font Awesome ships complete features. By using the Shape Up method, Font Awesome has been able to deliver products efficiently and effectively, which reduces the risk of delivering an unsatisfactory product.

The traditional waterfall process, by contrast, can take a very long time to build a product that is often out of date by the time it is completed. During his career, Travis has worked with a variety of project management methodologies, including Agile, Scrum, and Kanban. In the end, the Font Awesome team has found that Shape Up works best, allowing them to ship consistently and at a pace that aligns with their philosophy of business and life.



"One of the surprising things and sort of a takeaway I took from reading Shape Up is that it's okay — It might even be expected that certain work gets abandoned and that shipping really is the highest priority and that backlogs kill productivity. And that kind of goes along with the philosophy, too, of work, that you have to have constraints and limits to actually allow creativity to flow. And you can't do everything. So you do have to have constraints. You do have to be able to say no. "

"Dave and I take a lot of inspiration from the books that 37Signals put out like Rework and It Doesn't Have to be Crazy at Work. Those kinds of things. And trying to maybe do business differently, do our own spin on it, see what works for us based on all the places we've worked. And kind of how we would try to change things. And one of those things that I ran into — and I'll speak for me — ran into my career is you might get a solution to find we need this feature X and the software and we're going to give you three weeks to develop it."



0:00:09 Shape Up Method and How Font Awesome Uses It

0:02:41 Discussion on Traditional Waterfall and Agile Methodologies

0:04:22 Agile and Kanban Methodologies for Software Development

0:07:51 Product Development Lifecycle Using Shape Up Methodology

0:09:15 Exploring the Benefits of Six-Week Splits and Two-Week Cooldowns for Software Delivery

0:11:18 How Two Week Cooldowns Allow For Side-projects like “Space Awesome”. 

0:12:39 An Overview of the Shape Up Workflow Process

0:15:39 Shape Up and Font Awesome's Business Philosophy

0:19:16 The Benefits of a 40-Hour Work Week and Embracing the Whole Person

0:20:51 The Benefits of Allowing Creativity and Autonomy in the Workplace

0:22:39 Exploring the Benefits of Font-Building Engine "Haunt Forge"

0:23:56 The Icon Wizard and Building with Creative Constraints

0:27:35 Iterative Development and the 37 Signals BaseCamp Methodology

0:29:41 Summary of Discussion on Software Development Methodologies and Project Management Methodologies



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