Review: How to Run and Sell Design Sprints Like a Pro by AJ&Smart

Chuck Rice
· 4 min read
The in-house tsf.tech time timer that we use for our Design Sprints.

I woke up on Sunday morning, brain a bit foggy because I stayed up a bit too late the night before. Like most people I reach for my phone and intended to kill some time before getting out of bed, except I come across an advert for AJ&Smart’s FREE online webclass on Facebook. For 90 minutes of free content, from a credible source I respected, I made the decision then and there to sign up and watch it that morning. Would this course really help me “run and sell design sprints like a pro”? Did it convince me to go ahead and purchase the full Masterclass? Here’s my review.

You can find the free introductory webclass here.

Setting the Scene

The webclass was run by none other than AJ&Smart’s CEO and Co-founder Jonathan Courtney. What I really wanted to take note of was not just learning specifically about Design Sprints and how to run the or sell them, but how Jonathan was communicating and selling it too. A good 15 to 20 minutes at least was spent setting the scene around who they’ve run Sprints with, how long they’ve been in business, pivots they’ve made and establishing the credibility of AJ&Smart. I had already been aware of a good portion of this, but reiterating these facts in a confident manner subconsciously signalled to me that I should stick around to watch more.

What’s Possible

Now that the audience’s attention has been grabbed and credibility established (to those that mattered, anyway) the topic shift to what people could achieve with the Masterclass. Trust and credibility established, it was time to see what was in it for the viewers. Jonathan shared a couple of examples of people who took the Masterclass course and established their own Design Sprint business in their local area. One end of the spectrum was a completely solo Facilitator, whilst at the other there was an example of a man who had a team consisting of 10 freelancers.

I did enjoy seeing what other people were doing, and nothing speaks louder or clearer than proof from other people. In the design world when having difficulty making a case for a particular solution or direction, you can always rely on the data harvested from surveys and interviews to make a strong case. Here I could see it in action and reflecting on it now, it did keep my attention and paint a picture of “what’s possible”. Very effective technique and great to see other people’s successes.

Testimonials

One bias that I’m aware of is that a couple of examples may not necessarily be the rule, so these people may just be anomalies actually. Next up in the webclass was a presentation of testimonials that you can also see in web format at https://ajsmart.com/masterclass from various student who took the course. This helped reinforce people who enjoyed the course, what the end of course certificate might be like and other smaller but just as valid successes others have had. For me it was the icing on the cake– by now if you weren’t convinced, then fundamentally you don’t want to believe in the Sprint!

How do AJ&Smart run Sprints?

Only at this point do you get a sneak peek into the inner workings of crazy different and successful design agency. There wasn’t a great deal of detail (this presumably is the value in the Masterclass) but the audience got to see the peripheries around a Design Sprint. I’m sure a lot of people struggle both before and after the Sprint, but peeking into the prep work done and the “Iteration Sprint” that usually runs after the Design Sprint 2.0 gives a great helicopter view of how this can all fit together. It can be daunting to run a Sprint, let alone think about the lead up to and the run down afterwards. This addressed the second biggest fear I think about getting out there, only after having the skills and confidence to run the Sprint itself.

Takeaways

At the end we get a nice summary of the templates, tools and deliverables that AJ&Smart use to run their own Sprints and train up their new hires. This is a key point I think– the fact that this is, for all intents and purposes, the same material that new hires get trained up on to run Sprints for AJ&Smart. If it’s good enough for them, it must be good enough for us! Hard to walk away from that. A few key takeaways that you get as part of getting this Masterclass:

  • Checklist and Sprint Report templates
  • User testing guide and Sprint preparation guide
  • All course material their own new hires use to get up to speed
  • Access to an exclusive Facebook group to discuss with peers
  • Course certificate– the closest thing to an official Design Sprint certification

Verdict

Mentally running through the structure of the webclass and reflecting on what I took away from the webclass did tap back into my sense of purpose. The way the webclass was delivered was down to earth and relatable as Jonathan always is, had plenty of room for engagement, yet more than met my expectations in terms of how authoritative and credible the content would be. For that reason I highly recommend anyone that isn’t sure about whether the Masterclass is for them, or simply to get some visibility into the greater context of the Sprint to go watch the webclass.

If you want to get in touch to discuss more about Design Sprints or running one with us in Manchester, get in touch with me via email at charlesr@thestartupfactory.tech or Twitter at @chuckwired.

Oh, and I did pursue a purchase in the end. Lifetime access to materials and future updates just doesn’t happen anymore.


Originally published at thestartupfactory.tech.

thestartupfactory.tech

The best from Design, Tech and Business for all things Startup. You’ll love it…

Chuck Rice

Written by

A True All-Rounder. Product Designer. People Person. Problem Solver & Ex-Coder. Traveller, Pseudo-CrossFitter and Corgis 🐶.

thestartupfactory.tech

The best from Design, Tech and Business for all things Startup. You’ll love it…

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