A unique five-day process where user-centered teams tackle design problems. A carefully selected team from across the organization focuses themselves and manages their time to systematically collaborate and proceed from defining a user problem to testing a potential solution. A company, in only 5 days, can accelerate and simplify the design process of a digital product. The main value of sprints is the speed at which design teams can concentrate a narrow focus on one or more user needs and sharply defined goals.
There are tons of resources on Design Sprints: "The Sprint" book by Jake Knapp explains in detail what a Design Sprint is and why it is awesome. Google Ventures also has a Design Sprint site and a Sprint kit with all sorts of resources and materials.
Most companies are stuck within old-fashioned office behaviors: endless arguing at meetings, decision churn, extroverts dominating brainstorming sessions, bad roadmaps. It all results in wasted months or years. The design sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, rapid design prototyping, and testing ideas.
What are the goals/outcome of a design sprint?
By running a design sprint, you get a concrete and measurable outcome in just 5 days, thanks to user validation built into the process. By getting from problem to solution without running errands, and time spent with unuseful development, you’ll be able to convince investors faster, reduce risks, avoid developing unnecessary features, and maximize your ROI. This will:
Minimize time wasted.
Align cross-functional team collaboration through co-creation in a very compressed time-frame.
Give structure to a collaborative design process.
Act as fuel for the product design process by giving it an initial direction.
What does a sprint look like?
On Monday, we map the problem based on expert input from the client. On Tuesday, we sketch possible solutions together. On Wednesday, we decide on the strongest solution. On Thursday, we build a realistic prototype. The client gets actively involved in the first days. We devote Day 4 to prototyping, which we can do remotely. On Friday, day 5, we test the prototype – inviting users to test it, then taking advantage of their feedback to assess the potential of your product. We seek to answer all strategic questions through design prototyping.
Image from UX Studio
Pros and Cons of Design Sprints
Like everything, there are a lot of pros and cons of design sprints. Definitely, you can improve your team-work spirit, teams can enjoy a dynamic and focused collaboration. The five-day spring push team to think creatively and experiment to explore a wider variety of ideas. But, on the other hand, success isn't guaranteed, and choosing the correct scope and expectations to ensure problems aren’t too complicated to solve in one week—demands a careful eye to balance ambition with manageability.
The process gathers all important people in one place. This means that there’s less of a bureaucracy and siloed structure in the organization because the process facilitates cross-team collaboration. Therefore, sprint cuts out all inefficiencies and ineffective discussions. There are clear visibility and alignment from everyone on Day 1 and the sprint helps to obtain a clear vision of the goals upfront. The entire design sprint process is user-centered. It builds products and services based on a solid understanding of the user’s wants and needs and asks for feedback and validation directly from them towards the end of the sprint.