At Wayfair, we’re always finding ways to maximize what we can learn in the minimum amount of time. We’re also on the lookout for ways to better partner as a cross-functional team.
An opportunity led us to do our first 4-day design sprint using the latest “Design Sprint 2.0” created by AJ&Smart.
A Design Sprint is a 4-day process for rapidly solving big challenges, creating new products, or improving existing ones. It compresses potentially months of work into a few days.
Using this method, we were able to launch a new feature live on the Wayfair homepage in less than a month considering a list of more than 50 cross-functional and cross-department stakeholders!
1. What is a Design Sprint?
If you want to learn about it, there is plenty of content on the topic. Here is a simple list I advise you check out.
- What is a design sprint and why it is important by Gloria Lo.
- The Design Sprint book, created by Google Venture ❤ Jake Knapp ❤ .
- The updated 4-day Design Sprint 2.0, by AJ&Smart that we used. Check out their Masterclass too.
- Many (many!) inspirational success stories of using the design sprint.
- How to facilitate a Design Sprint. The Facilitator’s Handbook: 24 Design Sprint Tips, by Jake Knapp
2. How did we do it?
We strictly followed the Design Sprint 2.0 process. It allowed us to achieve the same goal while blocking fewer days on people’s calendars. It was the perfect balance of involvement vs impact. We managed to get 2 Engineers, 2 Designers, 2 Content Strategist, 1 Researcher (co-facilitator), 1 PM, 1 Analyst, 1 Product Director, and me, the other co-facilitator.
Although there is a lot of literature and advice on how to run a Design Sprint and a Design Sprint 2.0, it still requires a little bit of preparation. The biggest pain points for me were:
- Finding a room for 4 full days.
- Finding experts and managing their calendars. My PM Rachel was so helpful in achieving communication — we ended up having the exact 9 Wayfair experts we wanted!
- Creating a deck with ~100 slides to support all the activities for the 4 days. Here is the template I created for myself: check it out. Feel free to copy it, use it, share it.
3. What did we learn from this experience?
This was the first Design Sprint 2.0 for myself and the team. We were amazed by how much we achieved. And the team was thrilled to have participated in that experience.
“I really liked that all of us participating were on equal footing and all ideas were treated as such. I felt like the format made it easy for me to contribute.”
A Design Sprint participant
Nonetheless, we always want to improve. Here are a few points we’ll be doing differently:
- Better define the initial goal. Our issue was that our goal was too broad and not based around specific customer behavior. The team aligned on: How can we make Wayfair the One-Stop-Shop? We probably should have had something like: We want our customers to engage with Wayfair’s broad offering (Services, Tools, Programs,…) higher up in the funnel.
- Better define the “mapping” exercise. That particular step created a little bit of confusion. Most of it was due to our goal not being specific enough, but we could still have done a better job at explaining the purpose of that step. In the end, even if it took more time, the exercise forced the team to have a conversation about what we were achieving together.
- Share more examples for each step.
Any question? Write them in the comments!
Thanks to Lauren Lamperski, and Emily Thompson for helping write this article.