Design

What is a Design Sprint? (Part One)

We love Design Sprints at Rocksauce. They provide focus, clarity, and collaboration. And, above all, they help us innovate faster.  “Design Sprint” is a fairly new term and it’s not exactly self-explanatory, so let’s break it down. 

Design Sprint History

A few Google employees came up with some workshop strategies that were appealing, but it was unclear whether or not they’d be useful. They decided to conduct a 5-day experiment to test some of their ideas. Carving out one week from their schedules, they dedicated it to doing nothing but conceptualizing, building, and testing a product idea.

It turned out to be a wildly successful way to validate a product concept without spending a ton of money and time.

In 2010, Google employee Jake Knapp turned this into a 5-day process. In 2012 and 2013, Google released Design Sprint how-to videos, and in 2016, Jake Knapp published his book Sprint and the idea spread quickly.

Photo by bonneval sebastien on Unsplash

The Point of a Design Sprint

The point of a Design Sprint is to validate a product concept quickly. You could spend months on ideas and brainstorming and then develop a product that ends up not working anyway. Or, with a Design Sprint, you can test your ideas quickly, in a matter of days.

If the idea tests poorly with users, then it fails quickly (after a few days rather than after a few months). Now you can move on to other ideas with more research and testing in your back pocket. A Design Sprint helps you find the solution that will be successful, by iterating and testing, iterating and testing.

Or it might be successful off the bat. The collaborative and creative elements of a Design Sprint ensure the best ideas rise to the top, so you may very well ideate a successful solution that tests well with users. Now you have a solid starting point; you can turn this successful idea into a more robust and fully-realized product. 

The Sprint Team

So how do you get started with a Design Sprint? First and foremost, you’ve got to assemble your sprint team. This team will vary a little from project to project but generally, this is who you want in the room. 

  1. The Facilitator. This is the person who will guide the whole sprint, keep things moving, and keep everyone going in the right direction. 
  2. The Decider. Choose someone who has the power to make decisions about the best ideas and concepts to move forward. It should be the person putting their name behind the idea.
  3. The Customer Advocate. Someone who has knowledge of the customers’ (or users’) needs, wants, and experiences. 
  4. The Design Expert. This person should have a good sense of design and its power and should be able to act as an authority during the Design Sprint.
  5. The Developer. If you’re building a digital project, getting one of your dev experts in the room will be vital for figuring out functionality and features. If you want your product to do something that isn’t actually feasible, it’s better to hear it now than weeks or months down the road.

With a Design Sprint, you  haven’t wasted months on an idea that may or may not work. You spend days on an idea and have solid information to guide you in your next steps.

In part two, we’ll breakdown each day of the 5 Day Design Sprint and how each day gets you closer to user tested prototype.

A 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 at your company and get the year started 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.

Next Article: Failure is part of the plan: making new year's resolutions

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