Design Sprints involve a five day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.
Design Sprints provide teams with an opportunity to learn, re-iterate, test and validate without building and launching. They allow teams to fast-forward to a future vision of the product and assess customer reactions and experiences without making any expensive commitments. Design sprints foster collaboration with cross-functional team members who each bring different skillsets.
The design sprint is split up into 5 days. The facilitator must complete tasks before, during, and after the sprint.
- Write a design brief defining the challenge
- Invite the team
- Schedule client interview sessions
- Prepare a facilitator’s deck
- Schedule user testing
- Prepare the room
- Facilitate session
- Appoint leaders
- Course correct
- Daily email summary
- Create a path to launch
- Summary Report
- Survey to Sprinters
- Next Sprint Planning
Day One: Define
How might we?
Interview the expert, client, or the person or people in the room with the most knowledge about the challenges at hand. The team will write the “How Might We” notes… then vote on the most important challenges to solve.
Once we know the key challenges we want to solve and who we think we might be solving them for, we create a simple map showing the “story” of the user’s journey through the hypothetical product.
Defining the Sprint Goal and Sprint Questions are like building the foundation for the sprint. We want to clearly define and agree on an over-arching goal for the sprint along with 3 key questions we want the prototype to answer. Here we once again refer the the top voted “How Might We” challenges to create the questions.
Day Two: Diverge
In the Diverge phase, the Design Sprint team generates and shares a broad range of ideas as individuals. Each team member will start by looking for inspiration, such as solutions in alternative spaces and individually generate ideas for consideration. From there, the team will narrow down ideas as group to a single, well-articulated Solution Sketch.
Look for ideas from other industries or fields that relate to your business problem.
Fast sketching exercise that challenges people to sketch eight distinct ideas in eight minutes.
Each team member spends more time articulating one idea they are most interested in.
Day Three: Converge
In the Converge phase, the Design Sprint team finalizes the direction or concept to be prototyped. Each participant will share their Solution Sketch, and the team will find consensus on a single idea through decision-making exercises. The final direction will aim to address the Design Sprint focus.
Hang everyone’s sketches up on a wall in the same way art is presented in a gallery or museum. Each person has three to five minutes to present their solution. The team can ask questions or discuss details in the sketch.
Before voting begins, review the criteria for selecting an idea to prototype. It’s helpful to remind the team of the business problem, goal, and deliverables, as well as success metrics and sprint questions. Give each team member 3 votes.
This method is applicable when there is more than one winning Solution Sketch. Decide as a group if you want to combine the winners into a single prototype (All-In-One) or develop two different ideas and test them against each other (Rumble).
Day Four: Prototype
The Storyboard method unifies the entire Design Sprint team on the prototype concept and helps the group make critical decisions during the prototyping process. A Storyboard maps out each step of the experience that you want to test and clarifies the pieces you need to prototype.
Assign roles to each person on the team (maker, writer, reviewer, interviewer, etc.) and make sure everyone is clear on what they’re doing. For example, the researcher and project manager could recruit test participants while the designer creates assets and the engineer builds the prototype.
The prototyping tools you choose will depend on what you decide to build. For digital products there are many great options out there, and we have listed a few below:
Day Five: Evaluate
In this phase, the Design Sprint team will put the concept in front of users – this is the moment of truth! The user researcher will gather feedback from users who interact with the prototype. The team will end the Sprint with a validated concept– or an invalidated concept to improve on. Either way, the team has made progress.
The Cognitive Walkthrough’s (CW) emphasis is on the most frequent tasks done by new or infrequent users. The user tester will evaluate the product by asking users to complete a variety of tasks.
The user tester will identify any usability issues and determine the user’s expectations and frustrations, if any, with the product prototype. This involves observing the user attempting to complete a task or set of tasks while using the product.
This review will confirm buy-in on the prototype from key stakeholders. It is ideal for the key stakeholders to participate in the entire Design Sprint, although it is not always possible. The team can invite the stakeholders to join the Design Sprint for thirty minutes to provide feedback on the prototypes or early sketched concepts.
Design Sprints Overview PDF
This downloadable PDF provides another way to consume the Design Sprints content.
Want to learn more? Check out these case studies below:
Apple Watch App: Every Body Walk! (EBW)
Every Body Walk! Apple watch app product design.
Digital Membership Card
Digital Membership Card iterations and product design.
RAD Member Tablet Gen 3
Understanding how intermingling influences affect product design.
Stroke Alert iterations and product design.