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Your Step-By-Step Guide to design Sprints

In this article, we will take give you a step-by-step guide for design sprint. Clearing up the ambiguity between design sprint and design thinking and finally tell you what a typical 5-day design sprint really looks like.

What is a Design Sprint?

A Design Sprint is a unique five-day process by Google Ventures. It is the key to success for many Start-ups while validating ideas and solving big challenges through prototyping and testing ideas with real users. To put it simply, a Sprint is a quick way to build and test ideas and thoughts while innovating.

Design Sprint and Design Thinking

Often, the terms related to design, such as Design Sprints and Design thinking, can get blurry. In layman's terms, Design Thinking is the concept, while Design Sprint is the application of the concept. By definition, Design thinking is a philosophy to internalize and a mindset to adopt to structure one's thought process to understand and define the problem, conceptualize, actualize and test solutions before even building them. There are two main advantages to Design thinking:

1. Focusing on establishing an empathetic connection with the client/target group, i.e. knowing one's audience

2. Having an iterative and flexible mindset, with gathering evidence, testing solutions and reiteration.

Meanwhile, Design Sprint is a methodological process based on design thinking, which tackles problems in the fastest way within a set, limited time range. It gives us the proper way to leverage Design thinking into our workflow. The revolutionary and effective framework of the sprint involves strict timeframes for each step, discourages lengthy discussions, and all-in-all brings a team effort on to the table.

The process involved in a Design Sprint

Time is of the essence, and focus is fundamental. Design Sprints are most valuable when one wants to maximise effect within a limited time. Design Sprint is a systematic five-day framework to help you define your problem, generate ideas and plausible solutions, and finally test them on real users. The most basic form of the Sprint, developed by Google Ventures, follows these steps:

1. Monday - Mapping. Working with experts across the organisation to diligently map out the problem and determine the goal of the Sprint.

2. Tuesday - Ideation. Exploring feasible solutions and sketching them through examining various sources of inspiration.

3. Wednesday - Decision. Going through every solution, using storyboards and listing the pros and cons of each, thereby collectively narrowing down the solutions to the most attainable one.

4. Thursday- Prototyping. Constructing a working prototype of the selected solution using the storyboards finalised on the previous day.

5. Friday - Testing. User testing of the finalised prototype on at least five users. This is one of the most important steps as it ensures whether the solution attained is a workable one or not.

Outcomes and Uses

There can be three types of outcomes obtained from a Design Sprint:

1. A distorted win - The Sprint helped identify what works or doesn't work for that specific problem. Reiteration can be conducted with fine adjustments, following which a re-testing on users.

2. A failure, yet a success - In this, one learns valuable information about the prototype, thus ensuring no wastage of resources, time, and funds to create a wrong product. A follow-up Sprint can accompany this to explore newer angles.

3. A victory - The prototype is a perfect fit as a solution for the problem at hand. The solution not only fulfils but might also exceed expectations, giving a clear path to move forward.

Honestly, Design Sprints can be used in multiple situations, in small or big organisations, to solve small problems such as creating a plan for an indoor garden and big problems such as introducing a new product into the market.

Apart from the basic Sprint introduced by Google Ventures, many organisations have come up with several Sprint variations, which can be tweaked to one's necessities and problem type.

Sprint 2.0, the 2-hour Design Sprint, and many more are shorter design sprints that often attract higher participation. They seem to be more engaging and are often highly helpful in maintaining the participants' concentration and attention.

Remote Design Sprints

In the current situation, with the world becoming a global village, it is essential that a team can communicate and come to a decision remotely. The remote Design Sprint comes into the picture here for conducting the entire Sprint process through tools such as Video Conferencing, collaboration boards and team messaging apps.

The process of the Sprint is almost entirely identical, though fraught with more challenges. Communication problems, network errors, lack of essential and proper tools, and loss of engagement due to shuffle in Video Conferencing are certain problems that may arise. Hence Remote Design Sprints require an A-class Sprint team to be nominated to ensure that each opinion is heard and considered.

In conclusion, running a design sprint can help teams overcome roadblocks, work more efficiently and align more quickly. They're good for generating multiple ideas from a diverse group to solve a complex problem, thus obtaining more innovative solutions than if everyone had operated independently. Design Sprints are highly flexible and can be adapted to multiple types of projects in various focus areas.


Design Sprints as a Service

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