dumplink

A communication bridge between business and technical teams to keep everyone focused on real work

Don't assign tickets

Figure Out The Work

DUMP:
Break down the project into an unstructured list of tasks
CLUSTER:
Cluster that list of tasks into shippable slices of work we call task groups
SEQUENCE:
Sequence the task groups
ARRANGE:
Visualize the task groups as an unfolded network and in an arranged order

Dumplink is primarily a work editor interface to manage the flexibility required to figure out how to make the main elements of a shaped solution form into some solved version of a shippable feature while in the context of construction.

It's perfect for product development teams looking to adopt, or teams who already are engaging with, the Shape Up Method.

Product

No More Assembly Lines, No More Never-ending Sprints

Meme

The Kanban assembly line model addresses reactive work. This is not what dumplink is about. Dumplink is a lightweight tool designed for creative problem-solving teams doing planned project work—teams that shape ideas on a conceptual design track to ensure a meaningful solution is considered and solved at the right level of detail before pulling it into development.

Scrum teams groom backlogs and assign scattered pieces of work to different people through sprint planning. This is not what Dumplink is about either.

Dumplink is for teams who want to bet on current and well-shaped ideas. It is for teams that want to get self-contained projects completed and off their plate and increase the optionality for doing new things in subsequent development cycles. Dumplink is for implementation teams that typically work with appetites, not sprint estimates across disjointed tickets, own individual projects, and come up with their own tasks using the project outline to maintain context.

Too many project management tools are designed around abhorrent ways of working models that are simply not ideal for creative problem-solving, are bloated and overly complicated, and distract teams from focusing on figuring out a discrete block of work and getting it done.

This ends now…with dumplink!

We need a common map that helps teams delegate bounded projects, not tasks, and improve how teams collaborate with each other when in the context of development and design to effectively course correct as the work unfolds. Delegation and implementation teams also need a tool that makes everyone a partner in the process of chunking up a project so those who shape and delegate projects can improve their upstream conceptual design and spiking skills.

Say hello to reliable project hand-offs, smooth kick-offs and fixed-time-variable-scope build cycles, seamless communication, and shipping high-quality work. Say goodbye to burnout, over-indexing on local maximums, and directionless planning.

Features

Task Grouper

Create a second-order view by clustering tasks into thin slices of work to make progress visual and communication understandable at an altitude everyone can interpret. Task groups become the language of the project.

Features

Task Group Sequencer

Understand what "completed" means in a path-dependent chain of unknowns and dependencies to ensure you do not hit a problem too late or in the wrong order and let the scope expand unnecessarily.

Features

Task Group Arranger

Mechanically turns the sequence of task groups into an editable view of what to do over time and in what order when in the context of construction.

Features

Risk Ratios and Appetite Timepiece

Share visual movement updates that anyone can understand with natural metrics that reflect real risk, from unsolved to solved stages, against the appetite.

Paradigms

Transformations Using Dumplink

Current situation Current outcome The dumplink transformation The dumplink outcome
Stakeholders: "Is the project going to be done on time?" Common answer from launch teams: "Hold on, let me stop what I’m doing. Ok. Maybe…it’s complicated." Risk Ratios and Appetite Timepiece: Teams can see exactly what is moving, what isn’t, and what is at risk. Managers: "Clear metrics make project status reliable, predictable, and easy to interpret, aiding trade-off decisions."
Product Managers: "Tickets are moving, but nothing is finished. What’s solved and what’s still full of uncertainty?" Common answer from launch teams: "Ugh, I'll get back to you on that (causing scrambling, distractions, and delays)." Task Grouper: See what’s unsolved, solved, and done. The clustering process enables teams to account for and figure out the work using a common language about the parts of the project. Small Launch Team and Managers: “Dumplink allows to have the conversation at an altitude everyone understands and points to finished pieces of software, instead of going down into the weeds and defending the purposes and status of individual outstanding tasks. Everyone can now be a partner in the context of development of bounded projects”
Product Managers: "Are we making progress on the right tasks?" Common answer from launch teams: "Uh, sure...we think so (it’s in our heads)." Task Group Sequencer: This DAG tool helps the Small Launch Team understand what "completed" means in a path-dependent chain, ensuring that it is progressing on groups of tasks with the most dependencies and the biggest unknowns first to not get sidetracked. Developers and Designers: "Before using dumplink, conceptually, I understood the project, but I couldn’t really speak to what should be worked on first...what goes together...what might we cut if we’re not hitting our deadline...or how to communicate if we need more time or less scope."
Product Managers and Tech Leads (EMs): "Which things need to be solved now and what can be sequenced later?" Common answer from launch teams: "Huh? We are doing the easy small stuff first." Task Group Arranger: Mechanically translate the DAG sequence into an ordered list so everyone interested in the project can easily see the plan as it gets mapped out. Developers: "I haven’t written any code, but I am now confident that I am going to be able to deliver a version within the timeframe."

What Else Can It Be Used For?

  • When you are planning an event, e.g., organizing a bunch of ideas for a trip to Iceland, putting together a company retreat, juggling wedding arrangements that must go smoothly, etc.
  • Sequencing the high-level focus opportunity areas of a product roadmap
  • When you are codifying qualitative research data from user interviews into themes
  • When you are planning to develop a hardware product and launch a Kickstarter campaign
  • When you are engaging in multiple home improvement projects with a private contractor
  • When you are creating a comprehensive personal health and lifestyle routine

…And so much more

How to Use

Work Like A Pro

  1. Create.
  2. Configure. State how much time is worth spending on the project (appetite) using the dumplink progress bar meter tool and the team members allocated to the project.
  3. Kick-off. The programmer(s) and designer (“Small Launch Team”) kick off the project cycle and read the shaped project outline document together and chat with the shaper(s) who packaged the work to be developed.
  4. Dump. The Small Launch Team dumps everything they think they will have to do into the dump. This helps the team consider the package of shaped work as a whole by turning the whole thing into rough implementation tasks without concerning themselves with structure and order before starting on any one area.
  5. Task Grouper. The Small Launch Team drags these initial tasks into unnamed groups by asking themselves: "What can be completed together and in isolation from the rest?". Task group boxes are named after the Small Launch Team clusters the tasks and looks at the actual work to ensure the task groups show real relationships in the work and not arbitrary categories. The Small Launch Team considers which task groups have risky unknowns and flags them. Seeing all the groups together helps to do this because the question of "what is unknown" is relative.
  1. Task Group Sequencer. The Task Group Sequencer lets the Small Launch Team draw an arrow from one task group to another illustrating the causal structure of how things are connected. Additionally, the Task Group Sequencer lets teams know when they have the required inputs completed that the next task group needs.
  2. Task Group Arranger. Dumplink recognizes task groups with more outgoing than incoming connections so teams know where to start building and solving problems first. The Task Group Arranger helps the Small Launch Team easily see what has to be done first in terms of dependencies and unknowns but also lets teams sort, e.g., by ease/effort, and move them up or down in the arrangement layer stack.
  3. Risk Ratios and Appetite Timepiece. During this process, teams are tracking their work using the simplified Risk Ratios and Appetite Timepiece: Teams can track phases between “Figuring out”, “Figured out”, and “Done” states all while start and end dates for each piece are automatically created. Additionally, progress states auto-switch depending on progress across a task group bucket to create less process management work for teams while maintaining transparency about risk and movement.

Team

Founders

  • Klaus Breyer

    Klaus Breyer

    Technology

    What irks you the most about how product teams work?

    I am most irked by the indirect bandwidth issues caused by the 'design wall' that separates designers and developers in tech projects.

    What do you love about work?

    I find joy in bringing together small, focused teams who have the flexibility to figure out the work and create with precision and purpose.

    Wishes for product teams

    More adoption of the principles behind the Shape Up methodology, emphasizing the importance of small teams, fixed time frames with variable scopes, and more designers capable of implementing their designs into code.

  • Matt Lane

    Matt Lane

    Product

    What irks you the most about how product teams work?

    I am most irked when people plan too far into the future, neglecting the essential tasks of product positioning to create focus and direction and developing multiple strategic paths to do things that build on other things.

    What do you love about work?

    I love doing the work—listening to customers and shaping step-by-step adaptations of concepts at the right levels of abstraction.

    Wishes for product teams

    I would like to see teams having more conviction and trust their intuition, and get better at contextual async communication.

Contact

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