How to facilitate a complete Design Sprint in 1-hour, in order to help a Zombie Mother.

Jonathan Litty
Feb 25, 2019 · 5 min read

After 4 years as an WebAnalytics team leader, I’ve been an UX Designer for the last 7 years, and recently shifted to start coaching UX/UI teams.
My job is basically to help these teams adopting the right mindset, explain why there is an “U” in “UX”, teach and use every useful tools I know and help them design great products and experiences that will hopefully have an impact on the users daily life and generate high value.


Among others things, I spent the last 8 months coaching a Designer’s Team inside the Innovation Lab of one the biggest French Insurer. This team had the particularity to work only in Design Sprints.

During this time, we prepared and facilitated more than 12 Design Sprints.
The subjects were brought by the internal business lines or by partners, and offered a great diversity of industries, challenges and maturity.

This context gave the team (and me) the opportunity to level-up really quickly on the methodology, which was awesome.
(The major drawback of this set-up was that we were constantly moving on quickly from one subject to another. Too quick maybe, as we did not have enough time to efficiently follow-up the projects and help the execution team to generate value quickly…but this is a subject for another article coming soon^^)


I was offered the opportunity to give a 1H30 talk-workshop during the last edition of the “School of Product Ownership” conference in Paris.

The purpose of this talk was to teach a little bit of theory and then facilitate a full Design Sprint in just one hour, so the participants could really experience the methodology and discover its potential. 1-hour only !!

The real challenge in this was to compress 5-days in 1 hour, while really preserving these 5 Design Sprint fundamentals :

1. All the groups start with the same context and issue

2. Each group (5–6 people max) can choose a different challenge to tackle (which can lead to really various solutions among the groups)

3. Each participant has an individual ideation time in order to be able to express his own ideas, in his own way

4. The groups will have to converge all the individual solutions into one final solution

5. You have to test your solution at the end !!

Spoiler alert : It worked !! All the groups managed to experience a Design Sprint in 1 hour :)

I’ll give you below the 5 main tips to conduct successfully your own 1 hour-design sprint.


#1 : Come up with the right agenda

My agenda for the 1-hour Design Sprint

In order to succeed, I had to think about a condensed version of the agenda.

I adjusted the timing a little bit on the fly according to the group progress, but globally it turned out pretty efficient.

Don’t remove the test !
(One person from each group will the zombie and test another group solution at the end)

#2 : Choose wisely and prepare the use-case

Do you know this Netflix Show ? I don’t know why but I do :)

In my case, I’m not sure that “wisely” might be the correct word… as I finally ended-up with a totally off-the-wall use-case, related to one of the worst Zombie-Show available on Netflix :)

My challenge was :
“Help a young mother to survive and maintain a normal family life despite recently turning into a Zombie”.

To give life to this challenge, I took the time to prepare a Persona (thanks to Wikipedia and Fandom) and an Experience Map.
Both offered a lot of potentials challenges to tackle (fears, pain points, ..) and were detailed enough to make things real.

Challenge, Persona and Experience Map prepared and printed for the groups.

This preparation and the printed documents available for the participants were really a great factor of success.

#3 : Delegate the time management

This a trick I learned while facilitating multi-groups workshops. Don’t bother managing the time yourself !!
At the beginning of the workshop, ask for volunteers to become the “Time-Keeper” for his group. A Time-Keeper just need a phone with a basic Timer app.

Then when a new exercice start, or when you need to adjust the time on the fly, just shout theatrically : “Time Keepers, set your Timer to XX mn”.

The Time-Keeper will place his phone in the middle of the table, and everyone in the group will magically manage his time for the exercice.
Trust me, this works perfectly !

Don’t forget to walk around the tables to help the groups and adjust the time regarding all the groups progress.

#4 : Provide all the equipment

To avoid losing time, prepare and provide all the equipment the participants will need during the workshop.

The list is pretty simple for this workshop :

  • The printed Persona and Experience Map (A3) for each group

#5 : Set the mood and enjoy the workshop :)

I honestly loved facilitating this workshop and had some much fun discovering the crazy and unethical ideas the participants came up with.
The energy was amazing and I got great feedbacks about the workshop.

Just keep in mind that that your audience is here to learn about Design Sprint, and that everybody will increase his capacity to learn when having fun.


Feel free to give me any comments /feedbacks about this article. I would really love hearing about your opinion or experience.

Also, don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested about this workshop. I’m working in Paris so I can facilitate this workshop/training in French or English.

Jonathan Litty

Written by

Coach UX Design @Paris #UXdesign #ServiceDesign #DesignThinking

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