The creation of user-oriented IT products plays a very important role in the modern world of development. At the same time, some teams continue to create websites and applications that are inconvenient for users. In this article, we will tell you about the Design Sprint methodology, which allows you to literally look into the future, and in a short period of time find out what customers think of the finished product.
Sprint is by far the most effective process that helps make decisions with an eye on customers when working on a design.
The Design Sprint was created at Google Ventures, a Google division that invests in promising startups and helps them grow. As you know, startups need a quick process of finding and validating ideas, but companies of this type are not always able to turn their technology into a product in demand on the market. The Design Sprint method was invented to solve these two problems.
The Design Sprint is based on the Design Thinking and Agile methodologies:
- From Design Thinking, Design Sprint takes over work in a multidisciplinary team (design, business, technology) and focus on the person (direct contact with the customer in the process of creating solutions).
- From Agile — the principle “Build fast, fail fast” (rapid prototyping and testing solutions).
A classic Design Sprint is a five-day work session that helps the team clarify the vision of a product or a feature, create a prototype, and test it with real users. The key members of the product team and the facilitator get together for five days and systematically work on the product. They clarify goals and visions, describe the business process, come up with ideas of features, draw wireframes, outline communication, and finally assemble a clickable prototype and test it with real users on the last day of the sprint.
- Day 1 — Immersion in the question, search, and selection of problems.
- Day 2 — Generation and visualization of a variety of ideas on how to solve the selected problem.
- Day 3 — Discussion of ideas. Selection and development of one of them in detail.
- Day 4 — Creating a prototype of the selected idea and preparing it for testing.
- Day 5 — Testing the prototype with potential users. Discussion of the feedback received and the following steps.
Roles in Design Sprint
Product Chief – the product manager, also known as Shot-Caller or Decider, is the key decision maker in the sprint. Usually, he or she is the chief, owner, general manager or vice president of a product, but this is not always so. In some cases, this may be a lead engineer, a customer service manager, or a sales manager. The product manager should be most knowledgeable about the product and the problem that the development team is trying to solve.
Facilitator – among all the roles in a sprint team, this one has the most responsibilities. In addition to confirming that you have completed all the necessary preliminary work on the sprint and gathering the most appropriate team, this person is assigned with many tasks to be performed during and after the sprint. The facilitator’s main role is to keep the team up with the aggressive pace of the sprint.
Customer Rep – if your product manager does not interact daily with customers, you should assign this role to your sprint team. This way they can pinpoint the problems your customers face.
Designer – it is very important to involve a designer in the sprint process because this person is responsible for the visual part of the product.
Marketing manager – helps to describe and market your product.
Engineer – although you do not need to be a technology company to start a sprint, you still need the help of specialists. Engineer in the team will help create software and hardware for the product sample.
3- and 4-day Design Sprints
These are versions of the classic sprint, the duration of which varies from 3 to 4 days, through the use of additional techniques and tools. One of the biggest differences from the classic Design Sprint is that these versions are optimized for work not only in startups but also in large organizations that do not always have time to devote a whole week to the full process.
- Great for corporations, corporate organizations, and startups;
- Adjustable to any type of service, product or business problem;
- Improves decision making;
- Helps effectively solve complex business problems;
- Helps make optimal use of resources: time, people and efforts;
- Takes into account the whole context of both the business need and the customer’s problem.
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The Design Sprint is cool with its flexibility and fundamentality. It can be used to solve any problems, to conduct on-site or remotely, to make it shorter or longer. Based on the classic Design Sprint, you can create a lot of variations, adapted for different companies, cultures, and tasks. Using the Design Sprint methodology, you will get numerous benefits for your business:
- Time and cost saving — the sprint is intended for quick and intensive work to get a solution to a business task using design. Using Design Sprint, you reduce the time spent on the design process and the product definition process from a few months to a few days.
- Shorter product development cycle. Based on the above, development time is significantly reduced, as the sprint will help you check whether the idea works or not, without developing products with very long production cycles (idea, design, approval, development, launch, and testing). Before investing in the development of your product or in the new functionality that requires an expensive process, you can devote 5 days to work out the problem your company faces, develop its solution, and create a functional prototype.
- Good feedback — getting feedback is key to developing successful products. During the Design Sprint, you will get real feedback from your customers. This feedback is very important because it helps improve your product or service while developing.
- Confirmation of business ideas — it is difficult to work with ideas and products without validation. With the help of the sprint, you can develop a plan to check the business idea or product functionality.
Sprints help gain momentum and interest even to old ideas that have lost support. Months and months of meetings and discussions bring less effect than one week of working together, comprehending processes from the point of view of designers, and customer-oriented decision making.