In 2019, I was working as a product manager in a small Berlin-based startup. Every Thursday, me and the team would have the same bad experience of “Whoops, it’s Sprint Planning tomorrow – what should we do?” So we’d rush to specify tickets around the most recent issues we had heard, and we were off to the races.
Then came the plan for a major rewrite of our core product.
And we thought: “There’s got to be a better way!”
In the months prior to the planned kickoff of the rewrite, I had stumbled across a podcast interview with Ryan Singer, in which he talked about Basecamp’s “How we work” video series on YouTube – an early glimpse of Shape Up. By coincidence, an engineer on the team share a case study of how Slite had adopted Shape Up. So we used this momentum and decided to try Shape Up within the small group of 3 engineers, 1 designer and myself for the relaunch of our core product.
While there were many bumps along the way, I remember vividly the feeling of calm that settled in. I finally had time to think ahead while the engineers and designers were working inside the 6-week cycles. So much so, that we even started to have multiple options for initiatives to pursue next. Something that had previously been unthinkable.
In early 2020, the team had just launched an amazing new B2B marketplace for physical promotion spaces (think shopping malls, airports and the like). But with the pandemic on the rise, promotion events were the last thing on anyone’s mind. So the investors decided to liquidate.
I was excited for new opportunities, but I was also anxious about getting back on the 2-week hamster wheel. What if there was a way to find a job at a company that also worked the Shape Up way?
The idea for the Shapers & Builders job board was born.
My friend and former co-worker Alex and I launched Shapers & Builders on February 21st, 2021. Companies like Slite, Process Street, UserVoice, FundApps and many more posted jobs and hundreds of job seekers signed up for new job alerts. The Shape Up Practitioners Remote Meetup group grew to 450+ people, and while the job board took a short hiatus in 2022, we are back in 2023, alongside the launch of the Shapers & Builders podcast.
On the Shapers & Builders podcast, we explore the inner workings of how product development teams work, with a particular focus on the delivery side of things. Our first season focusees on companies who use Shape Up.
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