Running a quick design sprint

Design Sprints are great tools that help answer critical design questions using analysis, design, prototyping and validation. A design sprint typically compresses all these phases into a five-day intensive collaborative workshop.

A design sprint already squeezes weeks and months of design and product debates into a five day process so that the team can save time. It’s great and one of the main requirements of a sprint is to have most of the major stake holders present for the sprint so that critical business decisions can be taken during the sprint.

A sprint is usually divided into six phases:

  • Understand: This is where we understand business needs, user needs and technology capabilities.
  • Define: This phase is used to define the key strategy and focus.
  • Diverge: Exploring as many ideas as possible.
  • Decide: Do a prioritization exercise to select the best ideas.
  • Prototype: Something that gets the idea across.
  • Validate: See what stakeholders feel about it.

While the design sprint is strategically significant, it is time intensive and requires a lot of scheduling to have everybody available for five days. A number of stake holders I’ve run into feel they are unable to devote five days to a design sprint. At times I’ve tried to fit it into three days. While it is a bit cramped it is still possible. But there have been requests to fit the workshop into a single day.

Is it possible to fit a month of discussion into a day?

One of the experiments I’ve tried and been relatively successful is to take part of the process offline.

The idea is to make the ‘Understand’ and ‘Define’ processes asynchronous. Use collaborative tools to get the whole team to contribute. Collate all the responses and meet on a day where two phases ‘Diverge & Decide’ are carried out and the assimilation and validation can again be made asynchronous.

This would mean one day of actual meeting but more than a week of collaborative asynchronous input gathering and validation. It still feels like the whole team worked together on the consensus. But the actual time spent in meeting is drastically reduced.

Would you like to run a design sprint for your organisation? Get in touch…

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