My extreme productivity experiment! #3 — Stop brainstorming and start SPRINTing!

I’m convinced that teamwork is important. Teams provide a variety of skills and expertise, as well as conflicting opinions — all healthy ingredients for success. And I still believed that teams do better work — and do it faster — if they had a method to follow.

But what happened in the weeks and months after each problem solving activity? The results are sometimes depressing. Not a single new idea generated in the brainstorming sessions and nothing had been built or implemented.

Teams at British Gas were open to experimentation. This year, we tried an alternative: a five day process called a “design sprint”. This time, the process worked. The output of the sprints make it into real solutions and new products to address key customer issues.

Whats the Big Idea?

The big idea of the sprint is to take a small team, clear diaries for a week, and rapidly progress from problem to tested solution. On Monday, we make a map of the problem. On Tuesday, each individual sketches solutions. On Wednesday, we decide which sketches are strongest, and design them in detail. On Thursday, we build a realistic a prototype. And on Friday, we test that prototype with five target customers. It’s like fast-forwarding into the future to see your finished product in the market.

The Bottom-Line

A prototype and data, every time. The sprint process requires your team to build a prototype and test it. By 5pm on Friday, you have clarity about what to do next.

When a big nasty problem impacting the customer experience comes along, you owe it to yourself and your team to make better use of your time. You can find out more about the process at gv.com/sprint, or the book, Sprint. Check it out.

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