To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream; not only plan but also believe.” Anatole France, Poet, Journalist & Novelist
Nowadays, it feels like speed is the only thing that matters in product teams. But as we are all aware, creating successful products requires more than just speed. Products that handle problems correctly, effectively, and with a positive customer experience always win.
How can you know if your product is headed in the correct direction? How can you tell if your product is what customers want?
Design Sprints can help.
What is a Design Sprint?
A Design Sprint is a five-day process in which a diverse team collaborates to analyze, develop, and test a solution to a major business challenge. If the idea works, it is immediately put into full-fledged product development.
Jake Knapp, the man behind the launch of Gmail and Google Hangouts, developed the Design Sprint framework at Google Ventures. Design Sprints, modeled after IDEO’s design-thinking framework, have been employed by organizations such as Coca-Cola, Slack, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Uber.
Jake and a few other GV design partners released Sprint in 2016, the renowned blue book that influenced a commotion in the design and innovation world. (It became a bestseller in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.)
Since the book’s publication, product teams worldwide have internalized, tested, and embraced the framework. Without a doubt, Design Sprints have transformed the way businesses of all kinds now approach the development of new products and services.
Through rapid prototyping and user input, the Design Sprint framework assists teams in finding the right problems to solve quickly. Teams may go from an abstract concept to a high-fidelity prototype evaluated with actual users in just one week, which is effective, rapid, and inexpensive.
Design Sprint is a low-risk, high-reward process that can be achieved by following these basic process-driven steps:
- Drawing a problem map
- Discovering the available solutions
- Choosing the finest prototype features
- Testing it on real-world users
Design Sprint in Product Management
Design sprints are a great approach for product managers to become more design-driven, regardless of their product’s stage. Without wasting time or money, they assist teams in building solutions that consistently solve problems and deliver a great user experience. Here are some reasons we feel Design Sprints can help product managers become more design-driven and customer-centric.
- Design sprints are a great framework for identifying user needs and potential solutions.
- Beyond finding pain points, the framework lowers risk, eliminates ambiguity, and breaks down complex problems.
- It helps avoid wasting months or even years of time and energy on problems that don’t bother users.
- Design Sprints aid teams in developing a mindset for prototyping. Rather than spending months on design and coding, a high-fidelity, clickable prototype is enough to obtain honest user feedback.
- Insights can help release budgets and make room for blue-ocean plans.
- It enables roles outside of product and tech to participate in product development.
What do you need to Conduct a Design Sprint?
- Decision Maker: They have the final say. The CEO or another top executive should be part of the conversations from the beginning because their choice will affect the sprint goal and the final result.
- Facilitator: The timekeeper. During the Design Sprint, they monitor the team’s progress and ensure everyone contributes. When it comes to decision time, they must remain fair and impartial.
- Marketing Specialist: A specialist in creating your business’s messaging to reach customers.
- Customer Support: They frequently engage with your clients and thoroughly understand your users.
- Design Specialist: They design the product and assist in realizing the goal’s vision.
- Tech Guru: They are in the ideal position to comprehend what your business can produce and provide using tech.
- Finance Professional: They can describe the project’s cost and the expected return on investment for the business.
Five phases of a Design Sprint
The following steps comprise the design process, which takes place over five days. While each step takes a full day of dedicated teamwork
Day 1: The Discovery Phase
The team comes together in this early phase to analyze the business from different perspectives and leverage their shared knowledge by collaborating on ideas to develop a shared brain. Experts typically address various parts of a business challenge for 10-15 minutes, during which one member may share ideas on the business case, and the other member may exchange ideas about competitor audits, among other topics. The Sprint Master writes down all the ideas and details discussed on the whiteboard so that the other team members can refer to them as they continue the sprint process.
Day 2: The Sketch Phase
The team members get the chance to discuss and come up with various solutions to the business’s challenges, where each member contributes and generates creative ideas. These concepts are developed further throughout the design sprint.
Day 3: The Decision Phase
Each member displays their sketch solution during this stage, and a vote is conducted to determine which ideas need to be prototyped. However, due to differences in viewpoint, this may not always result in an agreement. In these situations, it may be appropriate to do a silent review in which each team member puts their sketch on the wall, and the core member takes some time reviewing and discussing each sketch. This method works best when the participants are given enough time to produce well-articulated sketches that don’t need a lot of explanation.
Day 4: Prototype Phase
In contrast to traditional product development, where a prototype is more often utilized as an experiment to test a hypothesis, design sprint uses prototypes differently. Here, the team must identify what they want to develop to receive feedback that will approve or disapprove their hypothesis.
Day 5: Validation phase
This is one of the most important stages since it allows the team to see live users communicate their ideas and offer insightful feedback that can identify various design issues and help the designers quickly make adjustments. In most product teams, the researcher or the UX designer generally interacts with the user. However, during a Design Sprint, every team member can participate in the validation session. Using real-time user feedback to test various concepts is essential to collecting some learnings.
Things to Consider about Design Sprints
On the one hand, your team can:
- Avoid drawn-out discussions and decision-making processes per committee.
- Experience engaging, productive collaboration.
- Better comprehend your important users.
- Be absolutely clear about the deliverables.
- Explore a greater range of ideas, be inventive and try new things.
- Eliminate the need to draft extensive specifications.
- Lower the cost of final deliverable failure during user testing.
- Enjoy increased ownership as a result of active collaboration.
- Directly observe real-time users.
But remember that your team should:
- Recognize the present intensity
- Include those who can devote their entire attention to the task during the sprint.
- Remember that success isn’t guaranteed, and that’s okay
- Set realistic goals and expectations to ensure better output.
- Choose the right scope and expectations to ensure problems aren’t too complex to address in one week. This requires a critical approach to balance ambition with manageability.
Case Study of a successful Design Sprint
Consider reviewing how other firms have used design sprints to accelerate change to improve your design sprint workshops and training events. Here are some case study examples of how design sprints are applied globally to solve issues, validate ideas, create prototypes, and innovate within a short period.
Case Study: Design Sprint on Quizlet
Quizlet used the design sprint process to discover which possible new features connected and resonated with their consumers’ requirements the most through user research and insights. Quizlet focused on the particular products that students around the nation wanted and needed by trying out various features and developing product prototypes. Click here to read more.
Case Study: Files Go Design Sprint
Smartphone users in many developing nations lack the capacity and storage space on their devices required to protect their pictures and videos. The Next Business Users team at Google created Files Go to address this issue. Before beginning development, the team participated in a design sprint to create the second version of their app. Files Go has a list of prototypes to start sharing with Android Go users for testing at the end of the three-day sprint. Learn more about their design sprint experience here.
Case Study: The Oak Design Sprint
The meditation-themed app Oak required a revamp. Using the design sprint concept, Oak’s hired AJ&Smart team could interact remotely from different places and discover innovative new methods for the app to be designed and used. Through testing and prototyping, Oak was able to create user-friendly software. Learn more about Oak’s experience here.
In a nutshell, the Design Sprint is the format created for every team eager to innovate intelligently and effectively, and Genetech Solutions aims to implement design sprints for our clients. The Design Sprint helps you save time and money before making a substantial investment in a new project, and it also gives you solid validation based on end-user feedback. Whatever the outcome is, you win since you would have determined whether investing in the project is worthwhile. Plus, you have learned a massive amount throughout the process.
Want to learn more about UX design services? Are you interested in creating an app and want to know how much it will cost? Visit Genetech Solutions or stop by and chat with us here. We’d love to hear from you.