Did you know that you can have your ideas tested by a high-fidelity prototype in only 5 days? You have a vision; we have a magical tool called The Design Sprint. Here we describe how we run it in CN Group.
What you will find in this article:
The Design Sprint is a step by step design process created by Google Ventures to help prototype and validate ideas. Before investing money into developing a minimum viable product we can prototype your idea and see if it makes sense to the users first.
We go from nothing to a high-fidelity prototype. But to get there, we need to do many short exercises and activities. Don’t worry, most people find them intriguing and a lot of fun! 1 team. 1 week. 1 challenge.
There are many ways to run the Design Sprint. It can take 4 or 5 days. Since we have done over 30 of them in CN Group here is our advice how to get the best out of this method. We encourage you to clear your schedule and invest the time for all 5 days of the Design Sprint. Everything takes time. This way, we will have more time for creating a shared understanding of the problem and, most importantly, for prototyping. We can run it face to face or remotely. Due to the current pandemic I would like to describe the process of the remote version in more detail. Let’s dive in.
Day by day. From Monday to Friday. Here is a brief summary of what you can expect to get through during the week of the Design Sprint.
I know. It seems so easy, it makes you want to rush in and start tomorrow. But wait!
What do I need to prepare, you ask? People, workspace, and the mindset.
Getting from nothing to a testable prototype in one week is not as easy as it sounds (seriously, it is not). Before the Design Sprint you need people to fill in these three roles.
Usually there are three people from your company and three people from us. It is suggested to diversify your team, so we have people from different departments. A Solution Architect? A Developer? Somebody from customer’s services? The Core team has to be available for the whole week of the Design Sprint. A very important role in the core team is The Decider, somebody from your organisation who makes the important decisions.
Tip: Decider could be your CEO or the future product owner.
Not everybody who has something to say about the project can be available for the whole week. That’s OK, we only need them for 20 minutes. An Expert is somebody who can give an idea, or a little piece of information, that can take the group outside the box.
Tip: Anybody who knows something about the product or target clients (finances, marketing, …).
The whole core team will contribute to the final prototype so obviously we cannot test it by ourselves. We need somebody who has not seen the prototype before. Every tester needs to be available for 45 - 60 minutes on the last day.
Tip: The best tester would be a potential end user of the final product.
Nope. But it helps. A lot!
We all know that long meetings can be exhausting and dreadful. That's why preparing in advance is important. It saves time.
Before the actual Design Sprint week, we have a short meeting with everybody from the core team to:
In the picture above you can see literally everything you need for a remote Design Sprint. Usually, during a face to face Design Sprint, you have a room full of whiteboards, flip charts and notes with sketches taped to the walls. Lucky for us (and you) there are already many digital whiteboards that help us to keep all the necessities (pictures, sketches, notes, feedbacks) in one place. Thanks to this wonderful invention we make sure everybody knows what is happening and we can collaborate on exercises just as well as during a face to face meeting. Our option #1: Miro board. Thanks to Microsoft Teams we have a place for screen sharing (this comes in handy especially during prototyping and testing) & videoconferencing. Not to mention that sharing files and recording user testing is a piece of cake.
Bonus: Using a digital whiteboard prevents you from losing all notes & sketches when your cleaning lady decides the meeting room is a big mess and throws away your notes. (Yes, that happens.)
After the many Design Sprints we have had in CN Group over recent years, we have three most important tips you need to keep in mind:
This is very simple, so here it is: We cannot fail! Whether we manage to deliver on Friday a prototype that is praised by testers, or the users leave confused and sad, we win. If users are happy, you know you are going in a good direction. You will know you have a prototype you can build on, and it’s easy to see that’s a great start for a project! Even if users are not so happy with the prototype and they do not understand everything, you did not spend months implementing it. You spend only five days and you are not starting empty handed, you know what not to do.
Well, that is totally up to you. Some of our customers decide to update the prototype based on the feedback from end users and retest it again. Some of them have solid preparation for starting the project.
However usually the next steps are:
As we already said, this is totally up to you. To sum it up, this is what you have at the end of the Design Sprint:
We recommend reading the book The Design Sprint by Jake Knapp (Transworld Publishers Ltd, ISBN: 9780593076118) from which you can learn everything essential about Design Sprints. You can also contact us, and we can talk about Design Sprint possibilities with our company. We will be waiting and looking forward to the next wonderful Design Sprint experience! See you soon!