Design Sprint 2.0
If you have a thorny problem in dire need of a solution, a product begging for innovation, or an idea just waiting to be explored, then a Design Sprint with InkConsultants could be the perfect way to get real answers in just four days.
Design Sprint is a 4-day process for rapidly solving big challenges, creating new products, or improving existing ones. It compresses potentially months of work into a few days.
Why use a Design Sprint?
It’s no longer enough to have a “good quality product”, you need to have the right product. Design Sprints are the fastest way to find out if a product is worth developing, if a feature is worth the effort, or if your value proposition is really valid. Don’t invest months of time, invest a week.
“We’ve found that magic happens when we use big whiteboards to solve problems. As humans, our short-term memory is not all that good, but our spatial memory is awesome. A sprint room, plastered with notes, diagrams, printouts, and more, takes advantage of that spatial memory. The room itself becomes a sort of shared brain for the team.”
― Jake Knapp,
What does a Design Sprint look like?
The Design Sprint is essentially a 4-day intense hackathon. On Day 1 we work in person with you, our client, to define the challenges and scope of the week. Day 2 is about deciding what challenges to prototype. Day 3 is about rapidly building the high fidelity prototype, which is then tested with real users on Day 4.
We’ll start off by helping you get a focus for your Design Sprint, assemble your most appropriate team, identify the experts and background information to bring into day 1.
Monday is for mapping the design challenge and sketching out ideas for solving it. On that day, the team will dive into the audience, trying to understand and empathize with them. Design Thinking techniques like Personas, Empathy Maps and Problem Reframing (“How Might We …”) help to get to the core of the problem.
Tuesday is creating storyboards and deciding on which idea to follow up on. The team will discuss and vote on the ideas created on Monday. After a decision is made, the ideas will be fleshed out in storyboards, trying to create a narrative around the idea, preparing them for the prototyping phase.
Wednesday is for prototyping the idea. Depending on what the outcome will be, the prototype can be either physical or digital. Apps can be built into tappable wireframe prototypes, physical products into cardboard models and services into role play scripts. The flexibility of the Design Sprint model allows for a different outcome, independent from the initial idea.
Thursday is for testing and presenting the prototype. User tests show the viability of each new development and can either verify or smash an idea. Not everything that is produced in a Design is gold – however, finding out within four days rather than four weeks or four months makes the learning much faster and efficient. The successful ideas will be presented to the stakeholders and can be taken to the next stage of development.
What is the exact outcome?
The outcome of every Design Sprint Week is a high-fidelity interactive prototype, tested by real users, and with clear insights on where to go next. This is not a “wireframe” or a “paper prototype”, it looks and feels like a real product.
User Testing Feedback Artifact Example
Apple Watch Prototype Generated during a design sprint
Native IOS App High Fidelity Wireframes
What happens after a Design Sprint?
Once you have a tangible representation of your product in your hand, and real user insights to guide your next steps, making decisions becomes a lot easier. You could use a second sprint to iterate and polish the idea, bringing it very close to production-ready, or you could use the prototype to sell the idea further and develop the concept.
Post-sprint: Wrap-up and review
We’ll write-up a brief report summarising all the learnings from the week, including the early sketches, final prototype and testing recommendations. We’ll give you a high level plan for what to do with the conclusions and outcomes of the Design Sprint.
Meet the Team!
Certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC) - Toronto
Matt is a certified Agile Coach (ICP-ACC), Scrum Master (CSM), Product Owner (CSPO), and Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) with 10+ years of industry experience in product and software development. He works with Product Owners, Business Analysts, and teams as a coach, trainer, and embedded team member to enable greater agility and better business outcomes.
Certified UX Designer & Product Manager - Toronto
Mubeen is a certified UX/Product Designer & Product Manager with 10+ years of industry experience in product design and software development. He is passionate about design and how design thinking can solve human problems by understanding their behaviour and attitudes in a way that creates opportunities.
What is a Design Sprint?
A Design Sprint is a user-oriented methodology that solves problems by designing, prototyping, and testing ideas with real users. And all that before many hours of development are invested in developing an idea. The Design Sprint helps to make decisions based on validated results. Design Sprints empower and align teams towards one clearly defined goal. All this within just 4 days.
When to use a Design Sprint?
The Design Sprint is perfect for different challenges and can be used in different phases of a project.
Here are some situations in which a Design Sprint is useful:
- The team is stuck in a project
- An idea has to be validated quickly
- Fast progress in the development of a solution concept is required
- Quick results to show are needed
Who should I include on my Design Sprint team?
Building your Sprint team is an important element in the Sprint planning process. Your team should include the people who will be responsible for executing the product, process, vision or strategy after the Sprint. There is a sense of shared ownership that is generated in a Sprint, as well as the development of a shared vocabulary and vision which helps to streamline communication and collaboration throughout an entire project. During the process of a Sprint, decisions are made as a team that can influence the strategic direction of a product and any stakeholder who has the power to outright reject the decisions should be part of the decision-making process. If a stakeholder is not able to participate for the whole time, you can arrange for them to check in and review work at critical moments throughout the Sprint.
Teams typically include a UX Designer, a User Researcher, a Product Manager, an Engineer, Marketing, Content Strategy, or others depending on the problem space you are working in. You will want to be sure to recruit the maker skills that you need to create the deliverables you agreed upon with your leadership in your planning process. For example, this means if you decided that creating a short video to tell the story of your idea would be the most useful outcome, you will want to have someone who can shoot and edit video on the sprint team.
The biggest benefit we have seen from Design Sprints is improved cross-functional collaboration, so whenever possible you want to bring together a range of roles. This will maximize the opportunities identified and solutions generated
Does the whole team need to be present for the entire Design Sprint?
Yes, Design Sprint participants need to be present for the entire Sprint. With continuous participation, the team builds a shared knowledge base and vocabulary, driving towards solutions together.
However, knowledge experts who participate in Lightning Talks or the Validation phase may only join for specific exercises. You might consider checking in with a key stakeholder at critical points in the Sprint as well.
What happens after a Design Sprint?
A Design Sprint is the beginning of generating new ideas and developing solutions for a challenge, not a single moment or the end of the process. Planning for what happens after your Design Sprint should happen before the Sprint even begins and should include the steps necessary to drive your solution forward.