We love it when we introduce novelties at the company – it’s a great way to keep the team motivated and challenge them to think of and search for new ideas that can help the company grow. So, recently, we decided to try out Design Sprint.
We are starting our next internal project (but we’re still keeping it a secret, so don’t tell anyone) and it was a great opportunity to see how beneficial Design Sprint is and whether we can apply it to the projects we do.
What is Design Sprint?
Design Sprint is a 5-day sprint that can sometimes even last for 3 or 4 days if the participants are well-versed in it, and there are fewer requests.
The Sprint has to involve a designer and a Decider (usually a stakeholder, but in our case, it was our CEO Djordje), and the facilitator (the person who runs the sprint). Apart from them, it is useful for Sprint to have participants from different fields of expertise. In our case, those participants were engineers and a Scrum Master, but any expert that can have great insights for the project is welcome.
This kind of Sprint is organized either at the beginning or during a project. In the beginning, the Sprint is used to determine whether there are any CONS to starting the project. If the Sprint is done during the project, the reason might be to expand the project by adding some new features, exploring new uses for the product, or testing some of the product’s existing features.
Before the Sprint begins, the facilitator needs to decide on the participants and create a daily agenda and the exercises that will be done. Since this was our first time doing this kind of Sprint, there are some exercises that we didn’t do, but plan on doing in future projects.
“Design Sprint” VS Scrum Sprint?
A Design Sprint is a five-day process created by Google engineers. It is invented for user-centered problem-solving and prototyping, aiming to validate ideas quickly. In contrast, a Scrum Sprint is a time-boxed iteration in agile development focused on delivering working software incrementally, allowing for frequent feedback and adaptation.
How it went?
We got all the materials ready (sticky notes, markers, whiteboard, etc.) and rolled up our sleeves.
Although the Sprint lasted for only five days, it was an exhaustive process requiring much focus and teamwork.
During those five days, we managed to define our long-term goal, discuss target groups, sketch the product, construct the product prototype, got feedback from colleagues outside the project, among other things. Apart from that, we went through many exercises that called for everyone’s maximum effort, and everyone delivered!
After the Sprint was over, we had a Retrospective meeting and went over the whole Sprint, talking about the PROS and CONS and deriving conclusions. We also created a plan of action and discussed our next steps.
Conclusions and observations
Apart from the fact that we had a great time working as a team, here are some of the reflections on this kind of Sprint, from our point of view.
- The Sprint helped us gain insight into the next steps in the project
- We found new ideas for creating a backlog
- We saved time by realizing that some default features should actually be optional since they are not largely beneficial to our focus group
- The Interviewees gave us new ideas about what novelties could be included in the product
- During the interviews, some new features that were not included in similar products received positive feedback from the test group
- We also received negative feedback on some features that to us seemed like a good idea, which meant that we needed to change some functionalities or omit them completely
- Next Design Sprint should include either more designers or more efficient design tools, and a more diverse team
- In the future, we should focus on including a test group that doesn’t involve our coworkers
- We should also define the focus group better
- The cooperation and engagement of the whole team were crucial for the successful Sprint
- We haven’t done all the exercises, but some of the ones we covered can be altered to the team’s needs
Is Design Sprint useful for projects?
We officially pronounce the Sprint a success! There are still a lot of new exercises and strategies that we can cover, and that can be altered so that they fit the needs of the team. The good news is that we know how we would change the schedule and tasks according to the needs of the Sprint members.
Allowing businesses to achieve in 5 days what would typically take weeks or months, and numerous Sprints.
Get Feedback from a Pilot group on the fifth day of the Sprint, before you launch your product or feature.
Diversity Of Use
Useful for defining and expanding the project concept, finding new product uses, and testing its functionalities
Although we did the Design Sprint for the internal project, we can safely say that it can be very beneficial for external projects as well. With that in mind, we plan on introducing Design Sprint into the projects we do for other clients and recommending it to stakeholders.