Our modification almost crashed the sprint

Cecilie Smestad
Mar 21, 2017 · 4 min read

This is a story about a GV style design sprint. If you’ve never heard of that, you can learn more here or read the book.

We (Netlife Research) wanted to help a Norwegian startup in testing their business case — weekly recipes with produce in season and minimised food waste.

Asking the experts on day 1 of the sprint

What question did you want to answer in your sprint?

We had quite a large scope for our sprint, really we wanted to do a full website, form an identity and check out the potential willingness to pay for the business idea. Thus the questions that we wanted answered were quite broad. We had questions regarding the concept itself, was it really going to fly? We had not quite defined a target audience, and we were unsure if the concept would resonate with our thought target audience. Would we be able to reach out in the market after the launch of the website with the means available to us? With all the above uncertainties, the one issue that stood out, and that we kept returning to throughout the sprint was the question of content. Is our content king enough?

Sprint map and questions (in Norwegian!)

Our sprint team

We were lucky to have our Decider with us during the whole sprint. She was the founder of the startup and the Facilitator was me, consultant at Netlife Research having heard Braden Kowitz speaking at Webdagene 2016 and eager to try out this (to me) new methodology. With us in the team we had the co-founder from the startup together with our chief of sales, a tech savvy designer and a cooking enthusiastic front-ender. None of us had experienced a design sprint before.

How might we notes goes up on the wall

How did you make your prototype?

We made almost a full website using Sketch and exporting to inVision. Our designer felt more comfortable using Sketch rather than say Keynote, as she works faster in a tool that she uses more regularly. We were able to test out the visual identity of the startup, the design and some relevant content. We started off the prototype with an Facebook ad taking the user into the new website.

User testing the prototype with eye tracking

What did you learn from the test?

Unfortunately for us, the users testing the prototype confirmed our concerns in terms of their (lack of) willingness to pay. This was really not good news. On the bright side, the users loved the design!

What’s next for your project?

In an ideal world we would have one or perhaps two more sprints to rethink our concept and ways in which to present it more eatable to the end users. With a startup, it might be hard to get it all right the first time around. So, note to self — plan for more than one sprint (or narrow down the scope of the sprint!).

What worked/didn’t work about the sprint process?

The methodology worked like clockwork! We were so impressed with what we accomplished in such a short timespan. If time really is of an essence this way of working is fantastic! However, if time is not so critical, it might be harder to defend the hours spent.

Did you make any modifications to the process?

We made one big deviation from the Sprint book — we changed the starting day! We began our sprint on a Wednesday and finished on the following Tuesday, giving us a break over the weekend. In theory we thought this would work well. It didn't. As we left fully in sync and very happy with our storyboard on Friday (our day 3), we returned on Monday (our day 4) to find that the team was out of sync having lost faith in our storyline. This was a real problem that almost jeopardised the whole sprint. Discussions, disbelief and relatively heated arguments derailed us from the task at hand — completing the prototype. With a deep breath we agreed to stick with the original storyboard. A few extra hours and a hard working team headed by a dedicated stitcher we managed to get back on track. Close call. Pew.

Will your team sprint again?

Yes! The thrill of getting so much done really inspires to try another sprint. Also, the total dedication and the deep focus on the task at hand was really great —made possible as we left our distractions (ie. phones and laptops) out of sight. Thank you so much for the inspiration and tools to make this possible. We especially appreciated the Sprint Bot :)


Vi løser digitale hverdagsproblemer! / We make stuff that works.

Thanks to Joakim Bording and Chris Atherton.

Cecilie Smestad

Written by

Project Manager at Netlife Research. Lives in Oslo, Norway.



Vi løser digitale hverdagsproblemer! / We make stuff that works.