Ryan Singer

Product Strategy, Basecamp

Ryan Singer


How We Ship: Managing Scope Instead of Time

Tue 25 October 16

The way we’ve all learned to manage projects and meet deadlines doesn’t work. Projects don’t proceed on the schedule we imagine, and when they do it’s because of unhealthy overtime in the eleventh hour. Basecamp recognised this problem over ten years ago and solved it by completely changing their focus. Instead of trying to manage time, they aggressively manage the scope of work.

Scope management is about more than saying “no.” It’s about doing the right things in the right order, so when you do run out of time – and you always run out of time – you’ll be in shape to ship. Ryan will share the techniques Basecamp has created for breaking projects down into separate pieces of work, sequencing the work, and tracking progress along the way – all without setting unrealistic deadlines or burning the midnight oil.

(note re slides: as Ryan live sketched his presentation, there are no slides available)

About Ryan Singer

Ryan Singer has played many roles at Basecamp over the last 13 years. First he designed user interfaces in 2003 when the company was four people and known as 37signals. He later learned programming and product development and began managing projects, including the first complete rewrite of Basecamp in 2012. Today he uses an understanding of customer demand to frame high level strategy and produce specific design directions.