Design Sprint: How to Set Team’s Productivity

In a fast-paced world with constant changes, it is necessary to make updates on new methodologies. Design Sprint may be exactly what your team needs if you are looking for short-term solutions.

Design Sprints is an approach that uses Design Thinking premises (immersion, ideation, and prototyping) in a user-centered, practical, and agile way. It is perfect for situations that demand results in a short time.

At the end of a Design Sprint, you will have a validated prototype, a clearer direction for a product or solution, and new improvement ideas for the future.

Its main advantage is the prevention of failures and anticipation of improvements within 5 days, as it is possible to discover the viability of the idea with users before the launch of the prototype.

In this article, you will understand what is Design Sprint and its role to help teams increase productivity faster.

What is Design Sprint?

A Design Sprint, as the name implies, mixes design concepts and agility.

The Design Sprints aim to accelerate the process of making an improvement idea tangible into a concrete solution. It consists of a flexible structure; an intense effort led by a small team where the results will define the direction of a product or service.

It’s a five-day immersion process where you’ll bring together an engaged team to answer critical business questions. The difference is that you will guide through the design, the creation of prototypes and will also be able to test your ideas with customers.

Jake Knapp is a writer and designer responsible for testing the methodology at Google in 2010. After a long period of testing, he developed the process in 2012, while at Google Ventures, alongside designers Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky.

Unlike MPV (Minimum Viable Product), through which we can take up to months to validate whether that idea will be promising in the market or not, Design Sprint flows like a big shortcut.

How does Design Sprint work?

It is important to emphasize that this methodology is participatory, that is, the members of all multidisciplinary teams need to create together in 40 hours, over 5 days of intensive work. During this period, they apply innovation strategies, business, behavioral science, Design Thinking, and everything necessary to improve the idea.

The use of the method starts right after the definition of the problem to be solved. Once this is done, the team gathers in an environment with the necessary material to develop the project and the 5 phases begin:

1. Unpack

The term unpack means unpacking. In Design Sprint this is equivalent to expressing all knowledge about the initial idea. Each expert dominates the subject of their area, and the perfect alignment of all is essential for the success of the program.

The issue is to align everything with activities that facilitate the work, such as expressing the consumer’s voice, defining metrics, deconstructing the final product, in short, creating dynamics that enable the union of different types of support towards a single goal.

2. Sketch

On the second day, all participants scribble their ideas, working individually on possible solutions. The intention is to explore the maximum number of ways out of the problem without too much speculation with the group at first.

After this step, it’s time for everyone to analyze the sketches and discuss how the concepts can work.

3. Decide

On the third day, the group will have a collection of the best proposals to choose from, and that’s excellent. However, the objective is to prototype only one of them, so, on that day, the task is to filter the alternatives, refine them, and choose the one that best meets the project’s intent, and then build the prototype.

4. Prototype

The day of the biggest challenge has arrived: making a prototype with as much productivity as possible. This implies selecting the prototyping tools best suited to your work routine.  In this way, the work yields more, since the objective is to assemble the prototype by the end of the day.

5. Test

Finally, the day comes to test the product with potential users in individual sessions. In addition, the prototype must be presented for the user to interact and return feedback in real-time. Also, it must demonstrate what they like and what needs improvements.

Finally, the team meets to discuss feedback from users and analyze whether the project is viable or not. In this way, a model that has already been studied and tested can be the starting point for the final finished product and following the expectations generated.

On the other hand, this restriction is also able to motivate the team more due to the energy and movement required for the work to be completed. It is a dynamic, innovative, and bureaucratic tool.

Advantages of Design Sprint

Design Sprint seeks to validate an idea even before starting a potentially expensive development process.

But that’s just one of the benefits. Design Sprints are also great for:

  • unlock an existing product design process;
  • initiate a new product design process and build a first testable version of a core product feature;
  • start new functionality by designing, prototyping, and validating features quickly before spending weeks on traditional design and construction.

But perhaps the main advantage of a Product Design Sprint is that it shortens the process of building an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) to 40 hours a week.

What results can a customer expect from a Design Sprint process?

At the end of the Sprint, the customer will have a validated prototype of an idea, product, or feature. The team also gains more insight into the business and carries an increased set of ideas for the next steps.

When to use a Design Sprints?

In general, Design Sprints makes recommendations for teams that have limited time. Therefore, it is important to ensure the viability of the development process before putting it on the market.

There are many ways to use a Design Sprint process. The key is to see what stage of development the project is at.

At the beginning of a project

In this process, you can begin a process change or initiate product concept innovation. This works well when you are exploring opportunities to create original concepts that will be tested in the real world.

In the middle of a project

You can start a new update cycle, expanding an existing concept, or exploring new ways to use a product.

Building a prototype will give the team the necessary validation and lead to a deeper investment. Thus, this will ultimately reward a team with a significant increase in sales.

In a mature project

A Design Sprint round can also be used to test a single feature or subcomponent of a product. This allows you to focus on a particular aspect of the design.

Your team may need to know what improvements can be made to the onboarding process. Use Design Sprint to discover the ins and outs of a new integration channel. So that can provide insight into a high-return part of the product experience.

The Design Sprint brings clarity to your kickstart roadmap and gets initial validation for virtually any new work related to product design.

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Leonardo Salles

Copywriter for GitScrum.