Design Sprint X

Living in the golden era of customized design sprints

Robert Skrobe
Jan 14 · 4 min read
When you know how to play your instruments, you can really make them sing.

“I just do not see anything new.”

When the design sprint methodology was really starting to gain some momentum in early 2018, the most authoritative figure I knew and worked with in User Experience (UX) wrote those words in a dismissive tweet about the process and it’s potential.

It was a curious response where… in the absence of wanting to understand the process, it seemed to expose a feeling of fear or avoidance towards something they perceived as a potential threat to their professional standing.

Given what’s happened since then, and what I’m about to write about in this article… that person’s probably going to be terrified.


Full Custom Builds

In 2020, the design sprint methodology is now a fully customizable, interchangeable bundle of processes and activities.

Most of these ‘recipes’ orient themselves towards particular outcomes or outputs, while others are constantly evolving to client needs or approaches to getting work done. Some are complete rewrites to accommodate new industries and disciplines. A few are slight variations to address constraints with time, budget or both.

You can also have immersive integration with existing frameworks. Lisa Wagner, for example, has previously combined different aspects of the design sprint process with those of the Atlasssian Experience Canvas and the Product Definition Canvas by TWG. She’s even leveraged classical approaches, using the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas for different projects that she’s been involved with.

No matter what the scenario, it’s fairly clear that foundational tenants of the design sprint process have been successfully incorporated into most forward-thinking agencies, consultancies, design and product development teams.

Everyone else is either late to the game or just starting to figure it out.


Ones to Watch

Out of all the existing custom Sprint builds that exist today, there’s an innovative short list you should be aware of.

The following examples are from practitioners who are really pushing the envelope with the original methodology and are set to generate a lot of buzz and interest in the coming year. While this isn’t an exhaustive summary of their efforts, it should give you an idea of what they’re up to.

  1. , by Maaike Coppens at M. Creations
    If you’re looking to quickly and efficiently get into the voice space, then a . Maaike took the base principles of the design sprint methodology and remastered the content with serious ‘voice’ games. The approach gives those working in the discipline a unique strategy to explore, build and market their voice products and services.
  2. , by Stéphane Cruchon at Design Sprint Ltd.
    At the end of every design sprint that’s every been done, the same question has been spoken by someone… “What’s next after the design sprint?”. Steph’s comprehensively addresses this inquiry with a detailed, wholistic three month timeline to plan, organize and execute both the iterations and main build of a high potential product or service.
  3. , by and
    The Life Sprint was created by Rakesh and Matt to “strategically tackle career and life challenges quickly… defining clear actions while gaining support and confidence from others.” The base process takes inspiration from the design sprint process and completely recasts different activities to help participants find their path.
  4. , by and Sabrina Goerlich
    What if you could see what potential hires were capable of, rather than relying on stale data from resumes and cover letters? Jeroen and Sabrina’s approach to purpose-driven employment “re-humanizes the talent acquisition experience for both talented professionals and hiring organizations”, using facets from the design sprint process.
  5. , by Mike Brandt and Jonas Wenke
    At the very beginning of your AI project, you may be looking to properly frame and develop the concepts you have. The AI Design Sprint was created to address that need, allowing anyone to participate with no prior technical knowledge necessary (with the use of paper prototypes and related activities for workshop participants).
  6. Cyber Physical Sprint, by Lee Duncan at IBM
    I actually have no idea what a cyber physical sprint is, but it’ll be premiered at the Control the Room conference in Austin, TX in February. He won’t tell me anything else. I’m sad.

If you have other examples of custom build design sprint processes, I’d love to learn and know about them! Please comment below on what your favorites are.

Dallas Design Sprints

I train individuals, teams and companies on how to…

Robert Skrobe

Written by

I run Dallas Design Sprints, The Design Sprint Referral Network and Talent Sprints.

Dallas Design Sprints

I train individuals, teams and companies on how to effectively use the design sprint process. I also enjoy highlighting other professionals and practitioners in the field, and feature their stories here on Medium.

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