Design Sprints have become very popular in the startup world as a very useful tool to design products and services. That being said, it is not always the correct time to do a Design Sprint. This post is meant to be a simple guide as to when a Design Sprint might be suitable for your team.
According to Google’s Design Sprint Kit:
“A design sprint is a five-phase framework that helps answer critical business questions through rapid prototyping and user testing.”
It is a good idea to do a Design Sprint when:
You are at the beginning of a new product and need to outline what your product is offering.
Since the design sprint is centered around understanding the users’ needs and sketching solutions for them, it is a great tool for when you need to decide what to offer for a specific customer.
When you have found an obstacle in the development of your product
The design sprint will help you come up with ways around that problem.
When you need to inject speed into the development process
You have been tackling the development of a specific product for a long time and need to get to a result. The Design Sprint makes you come up with a solution in just one week, and makes you test it to see if it works.
It’s also important to point out when it is not a good time to do a Design Sprint. The following points are things you might want to reconsider before embarking on a program like this:
Get a team
You can’t do a design sprint solo or with just two people. You need at least 3 for the process to work (because of parts of the process that need ideating and voting). The optimum team size for this methodology is 5 people. Before you embark on a Design Sprint, get a team together that can help you solve the problem. They don’t have to be permanent team members, just people with different profiles that can help you on this challenge.
Find a problem that is not too big
If there are too many parts of the product to define and design, the sprint will lack structure and will not yield useful results. An example of a problem that is too broad is “will users like my product?”. Your question should be centered around a specific aspect of the product. If you’re facing a broad question, try to break it down into more digestible and testable questions and pick one.
…and not too narrow
There are questions that do not need a design sprint. For example “should we change the color of this button to blue?” is a question that does not require a design sprint. Ask yourself if you want to turn this into a bigger design question, or if this is just something you should go ahead and do without a sprint.
Find a testable challenge
The goal of a design sprint is to produce a prototype that you can rapidly test and either go forward with or discard. If your design cannot be tested, then a Sprint will likely not be so useful. Pro tip: your challenge should be user-focused. Think ahead to the last day of the sprint — if you can’t think of a scenario where you can bring in users to test your design, try to think of another solution.
If you think it is the right time for you, Tetuan Valley has an open call for a 3 week program centered around a Design Sprint. Don’t worry if you’re having issues coming up with the problem or need more research, during the first week we will help you define these. Apply here if you’re up for the challenge!