How to get started with design sprints

Maja Falkenberg, Senior UX Designer, YouSee

John Zeratsky, a former Google and Youtube designer and author of the hugely popular book "Sprint - How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days", was one of the keynote speakers at UX Camp CPH.

On his speak, Zeratsky elaborated on the ideas and his work with Design Sprints. He also went into the practicalities of working with the method, and this exactly what I will convey to you in this article.

What is a Design Sprint?

A design sprint is a five-day process in which the aim is to solve critical business challenges through design, prototypes and testing ideas on real customers.

A design sprint is a perfect way to skip endless discussions about possible solutions, and instead compress the lengthy process into five days of work.

Instead of launching a minimum viable product, which you afterward have to test to gain insights, a design sprint will give you a ton of valuable insights faster.

Design sprints can save companies both money and time on innovation and development.

"The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments." - John Zeratsky

Focus on working together

A design sprint can do more than just solve problems for companies. The method also highlights the ability to work together across functions in a company.

In any design sprint, it is crucial to include different functions of a company, and that they are able to work together, agree on challenges, priorities, goals, etc.

How do you get started with design sprints?

It is quite simple to get started with your first sprint. A typical sprint starts Monday and ends on Friday.

Design sprints

What you need to get started

Before the sprint, you need a room, post-its, paper, pens, markers, a whiteboard and some round stickers which you will need during the sprint.

Another key component to ensure is in place before the design sprint week, is the participation of the right people. You'll need approximately eight people consisting of a facilitator, tech-expert, UX-expert, product owner, other contextual stakeholders, and a decisionmaker who will make decisions.

Day 1: Understand & Map

The first task is to go through the problems you are trying to solve, and identify the goals you are trying to achieve during the design sprint.

Here you need to go through analyses, benchmarks, and to discuss your ideas. The overall aim is to establish a common focus, that you'll illustrate an overall customer journey.

Day 2: Sketch

On Tuesday you're going to break down the overall customer journey into smaller problems which are essential for the product.

And you're going to start solving the problems identified the day before. In this phase, it is all about creating as many problems as possible. Therefore, it is a good idea to work individually with illustrating and visualizing suggestions for possible solutions.

Day 3: Decide

On day three you will all go over the ideas generated the day before. Evaluate and judge, so you can choose which elements are relevant to bring on to the next step.

The process is simple. The whole team will vote for the best idea by using the round stickers.

The last step of day three is to collectively create a new storyboard of the concepts that you'll be taking with you to day four.

Day 4: Prototype

The last step of day three is to collectively create a new prototype of the storyboard created the day prior. The prototype does not have to high-fidelity or work perfectly, but the aim is that is good enough so you can test it on day five.

Day 5: Test

On the last day, you invite five real customers to try and test your prototype and give feedback on your concept.

Read also: How to use Preely for your Design Sprint

While a few team members handle the user testing, the rest of the team should observe and get a real insight into how the customer interacts with the product. In this way, you'll get valuable insights into the viability of the product, and which areas need to be improved.

At this point, you have only worked five days with a concept, made a prototype and conducted user testing on real customers.

Wrap up

John Zeratsky has been part of more than 150 design sprints, and his message is clear: jump directly into your first sprint!

Would you like to learn more about Design Sprint or how you can use Preely for testing during the sprints?

Feel free to message us!

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