Design Sprint Process: Your Complete Guide to Running a Design Sprint
To stay at the forefront of digital transformation, companies have to become agile and flexible. They need to find new ways to provide a better customer experience and make customers loyal brand ambassadors.
The design sprint has been on the rise the past few years as a process that results in innovative, user-centric products. Product teams use the design sprint process as one of the most popular design methodologies. Let’s see why.
What Is the Design Sprint?
The design sprint represents a five-phase process that validates new product ideas through design thinking, with minimal risk. Leveraging workshops and structured exercises, the process can bring answers to customer requirements in a very short time.
Based on the Google Design Sprint approach, the workshop is usually conducted over five days and includes ideation, design, prototyping, and testing. The user is in the center of each of these actions. This strategy helps design sprints to capture work that could otherwise take up months into just five days and minimize the chance of a product failing, while it only requires minimal resources.
A design sprint aims to concentrate on a single topic, create several ideas, construct prototypes, and quickly get customer input. It can be a great tool that assists teams in making more innovative and creative products quicker.
Why Should You Run a Design Sprint?
Going through the design sprint process can bring you many benefits:
● Straightforward solutions. The design sprint’s collaborative and intensely oriented nature ensures that various ideas are developed and evaluated. Any of these can generate exciting possibilities that your team hasn’t thought of before.
Through the design sprint process, you get simple and straightforward solutions to complex challenges.
● Reduced product development cycles. Design sprints are intended to be quick. That’s why they efficiently overcome complex processes and protocols that large companies often struggle with. They make your organization agile, as they have the ability to lead you through the phases of understanding the problem, designing and creating a prototype, and validating your ideas in a matter of five days.
● Minimized risk. Design sprints allow you to generate ideas quickly. However, they can also fail immediately. Before investing in actual product development, testing your initial concepts with customers dramatically decreases the likelihood of introducing an ineffective product or feature to the market.
● Real feedback from targeted users. The design sprint process helps you understand the genuine opinion of your users more thoroughly. Their feedback is a vital element of your product, which leads us to the next benefit.
● Products with the user in mind. As you will gather feedback from the users that belong to your target customer group, you’ll be able to build user-centric products that will help them overcome challenges.
How Does the Design Sprint Process Go?
Your design sprint process should have a defined agenda. However, don’t be too strict in sticking to it. You need to remain flexible, as the workshop might result in some wild ideas.
According to Google Ventures and the University of Pennsylvania, the team size should be from four to seven people. It should consist of professionals with various profiles, including a facilitator, designer, decision-maker, product manager, developer, and someone familiar with the domain.
A design sprint is planned to move rapidly, lasting just five days. It’s meant to inspire ideas and generate learning opportunities without creating and launching a finished product or feature. Instead, you should end up with a testable prototype that will get you rapid feedback, strengthen products and services, and discover potential market possibilities.
The prototype will dive you deep into how your target users think, feel, and interact with your product. What is more, it will highlight its weaknesses and show you what you need to change to make it more user-friendly.
The Five Phases
The phases of the design sprint process will guide your team towards creating the best possible solution. They also support facilitators and decision-makers to select the right tools and resources and provide the professionals and the best settings for developing a particular product.
GV’s timetable suggests actions for each day of the design sprint process. The workshop starts on Monday and lasts until Friday when you should have your prototype reviewed by users. A tool which is good to use — if the participants are not all working from the same place is Miro. It offers templates for methods that are used in the design sprint.
Day 1 — Scoping & Synthesis
The first day is all about understanding the problems users are facing with the current system, generally discussing the problem and the challenges the team is facing. You should also use this day to analyze competitors and see how they are helping customers, as well as choosing a target for your sprint. Also, you can start recruiting users for your testing later.
Day 2 — Ideation
As you now fully understand the problem, you can start generating first ideas and specify them. We also aim to have a small deep dive into the big stack of ideas. For this step you can use “How-might-we” and lean UX Canvas.
Day 3 — Concepting
Now, you need to talk about the ideas from the previous day and decide which ones you’re going to test. Further the team can create solution sketches (through the four step sketch process). By the end of the day, you should fill out the storyboard prototype so you can be ready for the next day.
Day 4 — Prototyping
Today is the day when you create your prototype. You can use tools like Sketch or Adobe XD to create a prototype that is as realistic as the actual product but at this stage it might be better just make some sketches by hand. While the designer is designing the prototype, other team members should use the day to write the customer interview you will be using the next day. The questions should revolve around the assumptions you want to validate.
Day 5 — Validation & Planning
The big day — when you get to find out your product’s destiny from the answers of your test users. You’ll give them some time to interact with the product, monitor their behavior, and interview them about their experience. By the end of the day, you should know what changes you need to make to design a user-centric product.
The Key to Success
Aligning stakeholder perceptions with the sprint priorities at an early stage and not losing focus in the process is the secret to success in design sprints. It is essential to follow a collective, user-centered approach, as it is to use the best tools and strategies to get the most out of the entire workweek.
More importantly, it’s crucial to have proven professionals in the design sprint team. After the design sprint, our team of experienced designers provides you with a detailed report on everything completed during the process.
Moreover, we suggest how to proceed with the design. If you decide to work with us on the design, we create a detailed project plan with development steps, together with clearly defined activities for each phase.