Meetings are boring. Sprints are cool.
I believe that few are those who work on digital projects and who have not been involved in endless meetings at the end of which, most of the times, there was another meeting. I would be willing to even offer a beer to any person who can tell me that the process of creation and definition of specifications is done without stress, unhappy people or headaches.
I even think that here the corporate environment is the champion, the experience I have had the pleasure to gain myself in one of the biggest banks in Romania - almost all the 3 years there were a business meeting. I'm kidding of course.
But even so, I just sit and wonder sometimes how much time we lose in endless discussions, or how long it takes to make strategic decisions, not to mention to launch a new product or service onto the market.
Throughout the time I’ve kept wondering if things could not be different. If there are ways we can replace a typical day at the office with something more productive, more fun and more action based.
Moreover, with the launch of UXProject, we got to the point where we had to deliver fast and very well, and the workshops became even more and more complex. Various business issues, multidisciplinary teams and especially high expectations made things even more difficult to manage.
I think one of the things that UXProject has successfully offered me was the opportunity to apply lots of methodologies and frameworks in order to work efficiently, and the solution I chose and I strongly believe in is called - Design Sprint.
What is Design Sprint?
Invented by the guys from Google Ventures, Jake Knapp respectively, Design Sprint fundamentally changes the way a project can be started or a new functionality introduced.
We are talking about 5 days of work, which involve a series of tools for collaboration, problem solving and ideation, laying over a process similar to that of User Experience (Research - Concept - Prototype - Test).
Each day is especially dedicated to an activity and comes with a very clear working agenda. After several iterations and experiments, at UXProject we promote the 4-day Design Sprint (slightly different from the one in the book that underlies this framework).
How does it work?
Let’s start at the beginning.
A map of the ecosystem is drawn, a target of the sprint is selected and various solutions are built.
It is about voting solutions and expanding usage scenarios.
The entire day is dedicated to developing the prototype of the solution you work on.
The moment of truth, when you confront your solution with end users and get feedback.
What are the advantages of Design Sprint?
From my point of view, there are many such advantages:
- Multiple concepts in a very short period of time
- User-centered process - we receive feedback from the one that actually matters
- Align team members (especially in cross-departmental teams)
- Quick decisions such as YES / NO for a new project or functionality (it only takes 4 days)
- Selection of new working methods that will fundamentally change the way we work
- I don't know if I said this before but … meetings are boring. Sprints are cool.
How is it different from other user-centered methodologies?
At first glance, everything seems very similar to the User Experience Design or Design Thinking process. I would say that the process is actually identical, maybe even some of the tools are similar - but in reality, Design Sprint comes most definitely accompanied by speed. The way each working day is structured is the key to success.
Who is it for?
Design Sprint can be successfully used by:
- Product Managers
- Innovation Managers
- UX Designers
- Dev Team Leaders
- Brand Managers or people involved in the Marketing Departments
- Startup entrepreneurs / founders
- Anyone interested in developing better and faster digital solutions or services
Who else uses Design Sprint?
Since the release of the book, Design Sprint has gained immense popularity in many companies we can easily consider to be innovative. Besides UXProject (:D), we can name Spotify, Microsoft, Slack, Shopify, Red Bull and especially Google.
How do we use UXProject - Design Sprint?
Every project starts with Design Sprint. We strongly believe that only with the customer’s team can we deliver truly remarkable results in various complex industries. We are not talking just about simple presentation websites here, but also about Software as a Service products or Innovation projects.
Another good time for Design Sprint is when we extend a new and more complex functionality of a product or when we realize that we have the opportunity to increase several performance indicators but we don't know where to start.
In conclusion, for me Design Sprint has radically changed the way I approach projects and it is one framework I truly believe in. It fits incredibly well those who are oriented towards quick and significant results.
For those interested in Design Sprint I would highly recommend the Google Venture website (http://www.gv.com/sprint/) or the book (Buy on Amazon), and for those who truly want to experiment and to acquire the tools they need to support a Design Sprint in their projects, we are waiting for you at one of our workshops (http://uxproject.agency/trainings).