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Run a design sprint and validate your design within a week.

6 min readFeb 1, 2020


The primary objective of implementing a Design Sprint within your organization is to verify your idea or feature in a week-long process before implementing it. By utilizing a Design Sprint, you can validate your product decision at an early stage and prevent any potential failures.

It’s important to note that despite the similar terminology, Design Sprints are unrelated to Agile Sprint (Scrum) and are simply named as such. The creator of Design Sprint is Jake knapp, who first introduced this approach while working for Google Ventures. Additionally, he authored the book “Sprint.”

Jake Knapp’s book provides a comprehensive overview of the Design Sprint process, including real-life examples. It’s important to note that Design Sprint is not only applicable to digital products but also to physical products. While the five-day process outlined in the book is well-suited for larger projects, it’s worth mentioning that Design Sprint can also be effective for smaller projects or specific features within an existing product. As a UX specialist with 15 years of experience, I have successfully implemented Design Sprints in several projects, resulting in market success.

In this article, I will outline how to conduct a Design Sprint for a specific feature within an existing product. It’s important to note that there are no strict rules, and you can adapt the process to suit your needs. With that said, there are some key requirements you need to meet to ensure a successful Design Sprint. Let’s dive into the details:

Before starting a Design Sprint, you should be aware of the following requirements. Without them, you may not be able to achieve the desired results:

  1. Clear goals: You must have clear goals for the Design Sprint, including what problem you are trying to solve and what outcomes you hope to achieve.
  2. Cross-functional team: You need to assemble a cross-functional team that includes individuals with diverse skills and expertise to ensure a holistic approach.
  3. Time commitment: The team members should commit to the entire Design Sprint process, which typically spans five days.
  4. Customer knowledge: You should have a good understanding of your customer’s needs, preferences, and pain points.

By meeting these requirements, you can lay a solid foundation for a successful Design Sprint.

Story — draw a map and set a goal
If needed modify the Sprint Goal.

On the first day of the Design Sprint, the focus is on brainstorming and gathering information. The facilitator will begin by presenting the story or problem that the team wants to solve at the end of the Sprint. Next, the facilitator will draw a user map on the whiteboard and set the goal of the Design Sprint. The team will then ask questions to clarify any uncertainties, and they can ask each other for input. Whenever someone makes a valuable contribution, it is recommended to turn it into a question and write it on a sticky note.

Once the team feels that they have a good understanding of the problem, they will take a break to recharge. After the break, everyone will stand in front of the whiteboard and randomly place their sticky notes on the board. The decider will then review all the questions and choose the most important ones to prioritize. The Sprint Goal can be modified at this stage based on the feedback.

To summarize the first step:

  1. The facilitator presents the story, problem, or feature to the team.
  2. Draw a user map on the board.
  3. Set a goal for the Design Sprint.
  4. Ask questions and write them on sticky notes.
  5. Place the sticky notes on the whiteboard.
  6. The decider prioritizes the questions.
  7. Modify the Sprint Goal if necessary.

This step is crucial and highly effective as it allows everyone to sketch their ideas on blank paper. There is no need for the sketches to be perfectly professional; even abstract drawings are acceptable. After completing your sketches, you will have the opportunity to explain your concept at the end of this step.

In the previous step, the decider finalized a list of questions. Using these questionnaires, it’s now time to come up with a concept or solution to solve the problem. Feel free to draw as many sketches as you’d like and hang them on the whiteboard when you’re finished. Everyone will participate in this step, and a break will be taken after all the sketches have been displayed.

Once the break is over, it’s time for everyone to present their concepts one by one. After each presentation, it’s time to rank the concepts. Put a “Star” sticker on the idea you believe is the best solution. If you don’t have a sticker, simply draw a star using a pen or pencil. You can rank your own concept and multiple concepts.

Next, the decider will review all the proposed solutions and consult with the team if there are any questions or concerns. Finally, the decider will choose the most optimal solution among them

In summary, this step involves:

  1. Drawing and sharing concepts on blank papers
  2. Displaying them on a whiteboard
  3. Ranking them with star stickers and
  4. Ultimately having the decider select the best solution for the next phase.

Identifying design issues during the development phase can be problematic since they often go unnoticed until the interactive prototype is tested. Unfortunately, by that point, it’s too late to make any significant changes.

With your concept in hand, it’s time to create a digital version in the form of an interactive prototype. Enlist the help of a designer to create a realistic prototype that mimics the user experience of your final product. Ensure that it works seamlessly on both desktop and mobile devices and that it is responsive. The choice of tool for prototyping is less important. Now, let’s move on to the final step.

It’s time to obtain direct validation of your concept or solution from your end-users, or someone who has never used your product before. Plan a casual coffee meeting and allow your user to use your prototype. Take note of all the advantages and disadvantages they mention. Observe their reactions and responses to every detail of your prototype.

Once the prototype session is complete, you will have a list of pros and cons. Ensure that you modify your prototype based on their valid feedback and re-validate it with them.

The Design Sprint process can be completed in as little as three days if you’re looking to solve a specific feature of an existing project. However, if you’re looking to build a brand new product and you’re not sure how to approach it, following Jake Knapp’s five-day Design Sprint theory may be more appropriate. It’s important to note that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the Design Sprint process — you can tailor it to suit your specific needs. Ultimately, the main goal of the Design Sprint is to validate your design concept before it’s too late and the project fails during development. Many companies have spent significant amounts of time and money on their products only to have them fail due to poor decision-making. By introducing the Design Sprint process to your company, you can avoid these pitfalls and ensure that your products are successful from the outset.




Lead Product Designer @ Mendix | I design meaningful digital experiences through empathy and attention to detail.