As a PM, have you come across - “Shape up” & “Pitches”?

How are “Shape up” & “Pitch” different from “User stories” & “Agile”

Ram Pulipati
4 min readApr 24


In the recent startup I joined, we follow “Shape up” & “Pitch”. These 2 things are different from my past experiences — “Agile” & “User stories”.

Let’s see what they are all about.


  • Shape up VS Agile
  • Pitch VS User stories
  • What do I like? and Why does Agile win?
  • Why Shapeups if it lost against Agile?

Shape up VS Agile

Shape up

Shape-up is an 8-week cycle.

Deliverables come at the end of 8 week cycle.

The first 2 weeks of shapeup are about understanding the requirements (Pitch), grooming the requirements, fixing the scope, etc. Actual dev work starts in weeks 3,4,5,6 and QA starts in the 6 and 7th weeks, and the 7th and 8th weeks are for release and cool down.


Whereas Agile sprints can be a 2–4 weeks cycle. QA and launches come at the end of sprints. Grooming for the 10th sprint happens during the 9,8 or 7th sprints.

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Pitch VS User stories

User stories

User stories have a smaller scope and are tightly defined.

Template for a user story:

  • As a user, I want to do xxxx because I want to achieve yyyyy
  • More description of the problem
  • UI designs
  • Acceptance criteria


Pitches are high-level descriptive writings that include strategy (vision, goals, success metrics) as well as features (problem, description, rabbit holes, no-gos). Since “acceptance criteria” is not part of the pitches sometimes they seem vague to the engineers.

But writing long pitches give a greater understanding of the product to the PMs and help resolve ambiguity and complexity of the product!

What do I like?



Ram Pulipati

10yrs exp as a PM, Dev and Co-founder. Studied, lived & worked in US, Canada & India. Want a FREE PM resume consultation? ->