Shape Up (a book from Basecamp)

July 24, 2019

A (free, online) book about how Basecamp does development

Basecamp’s rejection of the VC unicorn/rocket-ship track gives them the time and freedom to rethink conventional development wisdom.

Ryan Singer describes a mature way to write software, without buzzwords or overhead. Responsible teams, top-to-bottom slices of work, short delivery cycles — a good example of a company being ‘agile’ without getting caught up in faddish corp-speak.

I love the concrete direction on how to shape work before passing it off to a team. Each phase of development needs a different level of detail. This is difficult and important — it’s easy to over- or under-define up front, but design and dev have to be synced.

Recommended. You can read it for free at

Taylor Campbell lives in the woods of Virginia, travels with his family, and builds things with Rails and Javascript. (Check out ProjectPoll!)