Shaping Framework, Crypto Portfolio

The team at 37signals published a comprehensive blog post outlining how they used their Shape Up framework to build and launch a new product feature.

In this post my focus is on the first part of their process, shaping.

What is shaping?

Shaping is defining the problem and the core elements of a solution.

Shaping is primarily design work. The shaped concept is an interaction design viewed from the user’s perspective. It defines what the feature does, how it works, and where it fits into existing flows.

Basecamp Shape Up

It’s also strategic work. Setting the appetite and coming up with a solution requires you to be critical about the problem. What are we trying to solve? Why does it matter? What counts as success? Which customers are affected? What is the cost of doing this instead of something else?

Basecamp Shape Up

Shaping is an effective framework to kick off the process of creating a new product or feature. It nudges you to create a first draft of what you may build.

It’s also a very effective method to overcome blank page syndrome.

Pair it with the agile The Simplest Thing that Could Possibly Work approach.

Shaping Example: Crypto Portfolio

Here is an example of me shaping an idea for creating a website to monitor my crypto portfolio.


My crypto assets are spread across multiple wallets. This makes it time consuming to determine what is the current total value of my crypto portfolio, and how has it changed over time.


In a single portfolio view, display the total value of all my crypto assets. Display the change in value over time of my crypto portfolio. I’d also like to be aware of what my possible tax liabilities are for the current tax year.


Core Elements

  1. Add wallets
  2. View total balance
  3. View historical balance (1W, 1M, 1Y, ALL)
  4. View list of each asset & its current value

Nice to have

  1. Segment my portfolio balance by Tokens, NFTs
  2. Tax implications (by asset, estimated liabilities)