Strategy doesn't happen in tickets
I can't even remember the exact date anymore, but many months ago, we fully switched to using Linear for development at Firmhouse. And we're really happy with it.
The whole development team loves it. And we also got some support and operations benefits. Here's what I particularly like:
- The very tight integration with GitHub PR and their status.
- Super suitable for bugs, support, and operations tasks with the triaging workflow.
- The integration with Intercom helps us easily escalate tasks from an frontline support conversation into a question or operations task in Linear. And especially having the Intercom conversation pop back up if something in Linear changes.
- The general UI design, shortcuts, command bar, etc.
The only thing I have a big beef with is that suddenly everything becomes a ticket. And it's very easy to fall into the trap that you start using Linear for more than it's suited for. Especially because tickets aren't suitable for strategic work.
There is definitely nothing wrong with Linear as a company and the product. But there might be something wrong with how to apply Linear for anything other than heads-down execution of projects.
In my experience "ticket-based thinking" is not suitable for long-term or deep thinking. Especially things that need deep thought, consideration over time, and more mental and physical space than one cramped comment box to work with.
I noticed this right after we took the jump and move from Basecamp to Linear for our development tasks. I felt a big mental gap in where to do strategic thought. Basecamp is very suitable for approaching product and feature discussions in a holistic way, and then turning them into scopes (list) and then todos (build this and that).
But when everything is a ticket, you get distracted by statuses, assignees, priority settings, columns, and the rest of the UI "noise" that's meant for doing the work, then preparing the work gets messy.
Over the past weeks, I've slowly been transitioning my work again into Basecamp messages, and especially Notion for more long-term and malleable documents to use for preparing projects for Shape Up.
Basecamp and Notion are the tools that allow you to shuffle things around, have distraction-free writing, before you need to consider if you can treat something as "in progress" or "done". And after the messy and freewheeling phase that Basecamp and Notion are good for. Then we move things into Linear, where the awesome mode of execution and shipping stuff kicks in.