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Run design sprint and validate your design within a week.

The main purpose of running a Design Sprint in your company is to validate your idea/feature within a week before it is implemented. Design Sprint helps to validate your product decision in the early stage before it fails.

Although, Design Sprint has nothing to do with Agile Sprint (Scrum). Design Sprint is just a name. Jake knapp is the creator of the Design Sprint. He introduced this process when he was working for Google Ventures. He also the author of “Sprint” book.

In his book, he explained the whole process in-depth and also gave some real-life stories. Design sprint is not only applicable to digital products but also applicable to physical products. According to his book, Design sprint is divided into 5 full days. Yes, this is very true for big projects. But from my 10 years of working experience as a UX specialist, I can say Design Sprint is also suitable for small projects or even for a specific feature of your existing product. I applied it in many projects in my past and those projects became successful in the market now.

In this article, I will explain how you can run a Design Sprint for a specific feature of an existing product. Please keep in mind that there are no hard and strict rules. You can customize your Design Sprint according to your needs.

Ok, enough talking. Let’s get into the main point :-).

Before you start Design Sprint, you have to make sure that you are aware of the following requirements. Without these, you will not be able to make the Design Sprint successful.

  1. A problem: You need to have a solid problem/issue that you want to solve during this Design Sprint.
  2. Facilitator: who will run this Design Sprint.
  3. Decider: who will be the ultimate decider at the end of the Design Sprint. In most cases, CEO or VP of the product is the decider.
  4. Participants: Minimum 3 and a maximum of 7 people from different teams.
  5. Sprint supplies: Sticky papers, blank papers, whiteboard, markers, pens, and pencils.

The whole process has to split into 4 main steps and they are:

  1. Story — draw a map and set a goal
  2. Solutions/Sketch
  3. Prototype
  4. Validate

Story — draw a map and set a goal
On the first day is all about brainstorming between each other. The facilitator will present the story of the feature or the problem that you want to solve the end of this Design Sprint. After briefing the story, the facilitator will draw a user map on the whiteboard and will set the goal of this Design Sprint. Now, it’s time to ask questions as many as possible. It is not necessary to ask questions only to the facilitator. You can also ask each other in the room. Whenever you hear a good conversation/point in the room, convert them into question and write it down in a sticky note. When everyone in the room thinks that the whole problem is clear and they don’t have any more questions, everyone understood what they need to solve, now you need to stop everything and go for a break. Yes, I said BREAK :-). Break is very important after each hour. People in this room have to be energetic all the time. Otherwise, a good solution will not appear at the end of this Design Sprint.

After having a coffee break, let’s start the journey again. This time everyone will stand up in front of the whiteboard. Put your sticky notes randomly.

Now, the decider will go through all those questions and will pick up the most important ones and put them on the board separately. At this stage, if the decider wants he/she can modify the GOAL based on the questionaries. So, let's summarise the step one as bullet points for better understanding:

  1. The facilitator will present the story/problem/feature to the team.
  2. Draw a user map on the board.
  3. Set a goal of the Design Sprint.
  4. Ask questions.
  5. Write your question on sticky notes.
  6. Put them on the whiteboard.
  7. The decider will prioritize those questions.
  8. If needed modify the Sprint Goal.

Solution/Sketch
This is the most important and effective step. In this step, everyone will draw on the blank papers. It is not necessary that your hand sketch has to be super professional. It is OK to draw abstract (if you are not good at drawing at all). You will get a chance to explain your concept end of this step.

In the previous step, our decider finalizes a question list. Based on that questionaries, we have to come up with a concept/solution. This is your chance to solve the big problem. Draw (hand sketch) concepts as many as you want. Put your sketches on the whiteboard when you done from your end. Everyone will participate in this step. Take a break after hanging all sketches on the board.

After the break, it’s time to present your concept to everyone in the room. Everyone will present their concepts one by one. After explaining all the concepts, its time to rank them. Put a “Star” sticker on the concept that you think is the best solution. If you don’t have “Star” sticker, draw the star by pen or pencil. You can rank on your own concept and you can rank multiple concepts.

Now, the decider will come forward and will go through all the solutions. The decider will discuss with the team if he/she gets any queries. Finally, the decider will select the best solution among them.

So, here is the summary of this step:

  1. Get the blank papers and draw/sketch your concept.
  2. Hang them on the whiteboard.
  3. Everyone will present their concepts.
  4. Rank them by putting “Star” sticker.
  5. The decider will select a solution for the next step.

Prototype
It’s easy to catch issues in your design when you are testing an interactive prototype. Problem is, that usually doesn’t happen until development starts. At that point, it’s too late to fix things.

Now you have your concept ready in your hand. Now its time to convert it into digital format and make an interactive prototype. Ask your designer to make a realistic prototype. Just fake your product so that the user gets a real user experience. Make sure it works on both desktop and mobile devices. It should be responsive. It doesn't matter what tool you are using for prototyping your concept. Now let’s go to the final step.

Validate
Now, its time to validate your concept/solution directly from your end-user or someone who never used your product before. Organize a casual coffee meeting with your user and let them use your prototype. Write down all the pros and cons they are talking about. See every detail of their reaction while they are traveling your prototype.

After doing the prototype session, you definitely will have a list of pros and cons. Make sure you modify your prototype according to their valid feedback and validate it again with them.

Summary
The whole Design Sprint process can be possible within 3 days if you want to solve a specific feature of your existing project. But if you want to build a new product and you have no idea how you want to do that then you should follow Jake knapp’s Design Sprint theory which is five days process. Again in the Design Sprint process, there are no hard rules. You can customize your Design Sprint process according to your needs. The main purpose of doing Design Sprint is to validate your design concept before it fails in the real project development cycle. A lot of companies spend a lot of money and time on their product but in the end, it fails just because they didn’t take the right decision at the right time. So let’s introduce Design Sprint in your company before it gets too late.

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