Hill Charts

Basecamp created hill charts as a novel way to view project progress and outstanding risk. The goal is to give managers a feel for progress without having to ask, but it also addresses key communication issues caused by uncertainty in creative work.

December 8, 2023 · 2 min

Pitches Separate Concerns For Cross-level Coordination

Shape Up’s pitches reduce the distance between managers and implementers while actually giving both sides more control over what’s most important to them.

November 24, 2023 · 7 min

Kinds of Concreteness in Work Specification

Shape up suggests too much concreteness is harmful in work specifications. I think the issue may be kind, not degree, of concreteness.

November 17, 2023 · 5 min

Appetite - Flipping the estimation game

Appetite, how hungry you are. Now repurposed as a useful project management term for how time the team wants to invest.

November 9, 2023 · 2 min

Technical Collaboration

“The need for reviewing was so obvious to the best programmer that they rarely mentioned it in print, while the worst programmers believed they were so good that their work did not need reviewing” – Daniel Freedman and Gerald Weinberg IBM found that every hour of code inspection saved 100 hours of related work (Code Complete, p.480). Pair programmers produce higher quality, more maintainable, code in only 15% more time than an individual (Pair Programming Benefits), and inspected systems require 1/10th the maintenance of non-inspected systems (Code Complete, p. 485).

December 15, 2018 · 4 min

Spec Docs

“Program specification is the process of taking a requirement and reducing it down to the point where a programmer’s skill can take over. It is an act of communication, explaining and clarifying the world in such a way as to remove major ambiguities” –The Pragmatic Programmer

December 8, 2018 · 6 min


“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan” – Agile manifesto Agile (in its many flavors) is the de facto standard for work management in software. It identifies core priorities for software collaboration and outlines a flexible structure for managing requirements. This facilitates best practices and a shared methodology.

December 2, 2018 · 6 min


The most important single aspect of software development is to be clear about what you are trying to build. - Bjarne Stroustrup (inventor of c++) Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

November 25, 2018 · 5 min