AKA Project Roadmapping, AKA Solutions Design

The phase in a project between requirements gathering and beginning the work. The art of examining constraints and resources in order to design a solution to a problem. Term is inspired by the Basecamp book, Shape Up.

Shaping involves identifying risks and rabbit holes. Rabbit holes are unanswered questions that could cause trip ups in development. Reducing unknowns and therefore risks is the primary value add of shaping.

Shaping involves setting the appetite for the solution. How much time and resources are you willing to invest in the solution? This is a more useful question than asking for a estimate, and focusing on "how long it might take."

Shaping is still early enough to walk away from a project. It's simply a time to explore ideas.

Shaping should also define no-gos. Anything specifically excluded from the concept. Functionality or use cases we intentionally aren't convering. Defining these contours increases legibility for both sides.

Factors to consider for project-wide shaping

Questions to help with shaping features

Questions to help identify rabbit holes:

Shaping Artifacts