Understand Objectives — Clarity on the product, user needs, the market, and technical possibilities.
Before design sprint participants can build anything, you need to understand:
- Design principles — How is this form factor different from others?
- Design challenge — What problem are you trying to solve?
- Personas — Who are you designing for?
Addressing the Gap
What is the team missing at this point that’s critical? What is the riskiest decision or hypothesis you want to test with the users?
For example, new projects lack a clearly defined target user group or user value proposition. This means you may have to focus the sprint on testing features against a few different groups and testing for the best fit.
Early stage products versus late stage products tend to have different “gaps.” For early stage startups, you need to first find the gap by identifying
a) Target audience
b) User value proposition
c) Use cases
If you find a gap — rejoice! You can now design a sprint to address that gap.
How many of you bother to do a simple competitor analysis before the start of every project?
I believe not many do as we are afraid of facing the reality. The truth that your idea is just a sub feature of an existing app that is already out in the market place.
Worse still , it’s just another “Me too” idea!
It’s not the most pleasant realization to discover before the start of your project but it will definitely save you lots of time and effort.
Don’t be discourage even yours is another “Me too” idea. Flipkart is the equivalent of Amazon in India.
There are many types of idea. Some are already success stories. So which category does your idea belong to?
Anyway, a brief review of 3–10 similar projects can be a great way to kick start the sprint.
For example, if the team is working on a online store experience, you might want to visit the sites, such as Google Play and list down what you like and dislike.
Ask yourself these questions while you walk through the user journey of your competitors’ products.
Describe its user experience, focusing on how the product makes you feel as you perform different tasks.
- the tasks you attempted
- how the product did and did not help you
- how you felt along the way
- any design elements you feel contributed to your experience
Let’s begin our Design Challenge.
Is it going to be a design audit on an existing product or are you going to build something new?
Regardless of which mission you have embarked on, crafting a challenge statement is just as important.
A great design challenge strikes a balance between providing clear direction and enabling creativity. It never prescribes a particular solution.
A Challenge statement needs to be:
- Purposeful (key result)
- Concise and Inspiring
- Targeted to users
- Aligned and timely
It must be relevant, focused on a target audience or target segment and tied to the team goals. Above is an example.
The first steps is to
- Interview key stakeholders
- Identify or review use cases
- Review all relevant research
- Review current designs (if any)
Based on the design challenge you came up with, get together and understand from many different points of view from each of these three business functions and learn what each group needs.
The talks should include
- Business goals and success metrics
- Technical capacities and challenges
- Relevant user research
Find out how to conduct effective user interview from Research Sprint.
Products and services often have multiple types of people they are designed for. The stakeholder map lists all the possible people concerned in a situation.
- List all possible stakeholders in a project
- Group the stakeholders in meaningful sections
- Decide what stakeholders you will design for during the sprint, and in what order
- Plan need finding activities and consider creating a team to work on each group
It’s important to know the parties involved in one way or another along the entire value chain or ecosystem. If the customer segment that you are targeting is not willing to pay, there might be other customer segments somewhere along the chain who are willing to.
Creating a Persona
After you have identified a customer segment, create a persona from that group.
List down the
- Needs & goals
Who are you designing for? What are his/her biggest needs?
Look for extreme users. Try not to design for your “Average Joe” — instead, find people with very specific (and even challenging!) needs. These will spark more innovative ideas.
The point is to explore the needs of one particular person, just one.
Persona should be specific enough to feel real and allow participants to understand who they are, how they relate to the design challenge and what they need from technology to make their lives better.
Then put down the information in writing arranged in this format.
Summarize the learnings
At Lefty Talents Group, we find it useful to conclude the Understand section by summarizing all the learnings.
- Share ﬁrst set of ideas and insights.
- Group them into themes.
- Vote on the best ideas, the ones that bring the most insights and should be pursued.
This exercise is a “first check” and not a final decision on a direction. The team will continue to learn and decide in the later stages, so nothing at this point is final.