Product Design Sprints are an incredible, five day process to solve a design or business challenge. Created by Google Ventures, the design sprint was invented to reduce the risk of launching something new by prototyping a solution and putting it in front of its intended audience as fast as possible to learn whether the solution will work.
Waiting to learn until your product gets to market can be expensive. Design Sprints are meant to align and orient your team around quickly creating, testing and learning what will work before investing a lot of time and money into developing a full solution.
Many leading companies, including Uber, Slack, and Google, use design sprints to quickly create new breakthrough products and services.
A typical length for a sprint is five days, with each day representing a different area of focus. This timeframe is not rigid and should adapt to the specific needs of the problem. For example, some phases may need more than a full day and others may need less.
The aim is to develop a product or feature idea into a prototype that can be tested to help us address our riskiest assumptions about success.
Develop a common understanding of the the problem, the business, the customer, the value proposition, and how success will be determined. By the end of this phase, we will have identified some of our biggest risks and opportunities with a rough plan to address them. We will also create a map of how the end user experiences the problem we’re solving and choose an area on the map to focus on for the sprint.
Generate insights and potential solutions to our customer’s problems. Through a series of rapid creative exercises, we sketch dozens of possible solutions to the problem we’re trying to address. This phase is crucial to innovation and marketplace differentiation.
These sketches give us a baseline of ideas and visuals with which to evaluate and identify potentially viable solutions in next phases.
Take all of the possibilities exposed during phases 1 and 2, eliminate the wild and currently unfeasible ideas and hone in on the ideas we feel the best about. We take the winning scenes from our sketches and weave them into a storyboard (a step-by-step plan for our prototype).
We adopt a “fake it” philosophy to turn that storyboard into a prototype that can be shown to potential end users. The prototype is designed to learn as much as possible about specific unknowns and assumptions we made throughout the week.
Test the prototype with existing or potential customers. It is important to test with existing or potential customers because they are the ones for which you want your product to work and be valuable. Their experiences with the problem have influence on how they interact with your product that non customers won’t have.
Sprints are an incredibly fun, collaborative, and creative process that will spark your teams creativity and give your project the initial momentum it needs to move forward. It’s fast and feasible pace keeps everyone aligned on the end goal: bringing a new product or service to market in as little time as possible.
If you have a project in mind but are unsure if sprints will be right for you, schedule a free 1-hour consultation with our strategy team to talk about what a custom sprint project would look like for your team.