Ryan Singer (Basecamp) on the North Star podcast

Ryan Singer talk to David Perell about about his book/method Shape Up. Especially how they work in small teams on specific, defined goals with a 6 week timeline. There’s 2 weeks downtime between each ‘sprint’.

Soft core, hard perimeter/hard boundaries. Sets a stage, 6 week design and coding to get a certain job done/goal accomplished (hard boundaries). The team is free to make trade-offs internally within the timeframe to deliver the feature or solution (soft core). Bugs may be present.

This is opposite to how many companies work: hard core, soft boundaries. Very specific tasks, tickets etc (hard core). With no clear or specific goal (soft boundaries). This makes it harder to keep track of the big picture. Everyone ends up solving small individual issues and it’s harder to make judgement calls. (everything is prioritised vs. Will this help us reach hard perimeter within given timeframe).

North Star podcast


Book summary by Sebastien Phlix https://www.sebastienphlix.com/book-summaries/singer-shape-up

Full book on Basecamp’s website https://basecamp.com/shapeup/webbook (free ebook)