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What is a Design Sprint? (Part Two)

As we covered in Part One, a Design Sprint is intended to validate a product concept quickly and to innovate faster. Once you have your diverse, collaborative team assembled, you can dive into the 5-Day process. Let’s break down each day of a Design Sprint.

Day One: Discovery

Your team is in the room trying to discover the best solution to your problem. Day One of the Design Sprint is about thinking outside the box, being creative, and exploring all possibilities.

At Rocksauce we use different note taking tactics to help us focus. How Might We Notes (HMWs) keep us optimistic, placing everything in the form of a question: How might we achieve ________?

After all the optimistic ideation, bring in some realism and pessimism: Fears, Uncertainties, and Doubts (FUDs). Can we overcome __________ obstacle as we pursue our goal? Consider these fears now before the product is being made. Otherwise, you may be halfway through creating the product and realize there is a major issue that you could have dealt with earlier.

During Day One of the Design Sprint, we also do Lightning Demos: we take a look at the great solutions that other organizations and companies have created. Who in the market is doing it the right way? This allows everyone to get a sense of what other people in the room have in mind for a solution. Checking out what is already being done gets the team energized and excited for the possibilities of what they can create.

Day Two: Ideate

Day One was already pretty creative, but in Day Two of the Design Sprint the team really starts ideating possible solutions. Based on what people have got kicking around in their heads from the HMWs, the FUDs, and the Lightning Demos, everyone in the room will start privately drawing and writing their solutions.

Crazy 8s help you use your instinct to ideate.

You can’t do anything wrong here. Spend time writing, doodling, sketching, whichever direction best suites your style. After a while of this, the Facilitator guides the team with some other Design Sprint tactics, such as Crazy 8s, to help share and explore these ideas further.

Following these more solitary activities, the team uses a Dotmocracy system to vote on the best possible solutions. This helps the Decider make an informed decision. He/she has a plethora of options to choose from and knows the opinions and thoughts of the team. Based on this knowledge, the Decider chooses one idea to prototype.

As Day Two of the Design Sprint draws to a close, the team comes together to decide on a flow for that solution. How does A lead to B to C to D? If you are designing a website, the flow might be a screen flow from the homepage to the contact form and then to a ‘thank you’ page. The goal is to create a flow that will be as close to the final product as possible. The flow is decided upon and then storyboarded. This will carry you through into prototyping.

Days Three + Four: Prototyping

The Design Sprint is at its halfway point and it is time to prototype. The team gets smaller: typically two or three people focus on the design and execution of the prototype, but they regularly check in with the rest of the team to make sure they’re staying on track.

The goal during prototyping is to create as close to a final version of the product as possible in order to create the best testing experience. To do this

  • The designer focuses on defining how the product looks, and the storyboards from Day Two inform how the product should function.
  • The prototype should also have industry appropriate text and tone. It should not be full of Lorem Ipsum.
  • Check in regularly with the rest of the team, especially with the Decider, and implement any feedback.
  • Once all of the screens are ready, stitch them together using prototyping software in order to create an interactive prototype that appears to function like the real product.

After you’ve created the prototype, tap through the whole thing to make sure everything is working exactly how you want the users to experience it.

Day 5: Testing

One team member takes notes while the interviewer asks questions.

This is the big day! Testing involves setting up interviews with future users of the product, subject matter experts, and/or with your own colleagues. Each of these groups of people have valuable insight to offer. You want to answer some fundamental questions during testing: 1) Does this prototype resonate? and 2) Does it help us accomplish our goal?

Set up the user testing interviews in advance, giving yourself plenty of time to ask all the relevant questions. Keep the questions open ended so that you can get genuine feedback, unobstructed by your own biases. The feedback you gather from testing will help you set up a plan for your next steps.

Post-Design Sprint

Now that the Design Sprint is finished, document the results and consider how to move forward. The data gathered during testing helps you understand if the solution that you ideated is a good one.

Maybe you’ve learned that people love the product, and the direction you’ve found is the right one. If so, great! Improve based on the feedback and start building a more robust and fully functioning product.

Or maybe you’ve learned that the idea falls short and what you hoped was a viable solution is not really a solution at all. That’s okay! The good news here is that you learned this early on instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to create a product that nobody wants.

Cross this idea off of your list and move forward. Perhaps you will do another full Design Sprint, or perhaps you will return to some of the other solutions that your team already came up with and will build a prototype from there.

The best part of a Design Sprint is that is it only 5 days. You ideate quickly, build prototypes quickly, test quickly, and yes, sometimes you fail quickly. In the process, you have aligned your team, set clear goals, and gathered extremely valuable information. Within 5 days you have the focus and clarity to propel your innovation efforts forward.

Rocksauce Design Sprint is 5 days. Just 5 days of brainstorming solutions, coming to a common goal, prototyping, testing, and devising a plan to move forward. If you’re interested in using a Rocksauce Design Sprint to innovate with focus and resolve, then give us a call at 866.981.6847 or send us a message. We want to help you solve your biggest problems.

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