A Design Sprint is a 4 day workshop for rapidly solving big challenges, creating new products or services, or improving existing ones. It compresses potentially months of work into a few days.
Some common problems with product and service development are:
Cross-functional teams find it hard to align with common business objectives
Teams often work towards unclear goals as project scope changes repeatedly
Teams lack real data on which to base business decisions, instead relying on endless internal discussions
Teams have pressure to be ‘innovative’ but don’t know how to start
Product development cycles run too long, causing teams to lose enthusiasm and focus
Design Sprint Core principles
“The process is flexible… the principles are not”
Although we are working together in the room, a lot of the creative process happens by working alone; this helps reduce unnecessary discussions and maximize the efficiency.
Tangible > Discussion
Having a tangible concept is better than just talking about it. By bringing the abstract ideas into a tangible state we can explain and understand our goals in a clearer way.
Getting started > Being Right
At the beginning we are focusing on having as many ideas as possible, as we go through the workshop we will narrow down to the ones that could potentially answer our big questions and refine them into a prototype to test with our users. The sooner we start, the easier it will be to get answer.
Don’t rely on creativity
Often we think that we need to be creative to solve a problem. What if I’m not a creative person? I’m not a designer? I can’t draw. - Don’t worry… together we will build the end product by relying on everyone’s expertise and knowledge.
What a sprint week looks like…
A big commitment
What do you need for the sprint week?
A meeting room (preferably with white boards and/or windows)
A dream team
A great attitude
The sprint week can be a big commitment for the company. Having the team clearing their calendar for the week is not an easy task, but this will be a faster and more cost-effective way to test an idea before committing a larger team to build something for months before being able to show it to our target audience
The dream team
It all starts with the team. Magic happens when you have the right people working towards a common goal to help others.
A multidisciplinary team that are deeply involved with your product and it’s a good idea to involve different areas from across the board.
The ideal team size for the sprint is around 6 members + the facilitator and will usually look something like this:
Who has the authority about making the calls about this project
The person with the most stakes on the project
Product Owner, Project Manager, or even a C-suite executive
The design/development team
One or two members that know about the project’s inner workings and aesthetics
Someone from sales and/or marketing
Sometimes, the best insights about the product come from the person who is deeply involved with our customers. Someone that listens to what they are saying about us
Someone from the production team
Depending on the nature of the project this could be an industrial designer, someone from manufacturing, a programer, an accountant, a copywriter or even higher management
Any other experts that might have a different point of view about the problem we are trying to solve
This can be tricky as larger teams don’t always work better so we have to be careful with this
The next steps
After the User Testing and Interviews you’ll have a full report on what happened during the sprint week, the proposed solutions and a detailed summary of the tested prototype. More importantly, by the end of the week you will have concrete data backed by the user testing about their thoughts; so you know how your idea is working.
These reactions are honest and unbiased, providing you with useful information and of course, what are the recommended next steps to move forward or even to plan for a follow-up sprint week.
The most valuable information is in some cases the failure of our prototype. We all want to know that what we are doing is in the right track, but sometimes these failures are the ones that will provide us with a greater understanding and learnings about our customers and their needs.