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5 Day Sprint: A Comprehensive Guide for Maximum Productivity

Design Sprints > 5 Day Sprint: A Comprehensive Guide for Maximum Productivity

โœ๏ธ Written by Daniel Cooper on May 18th 2023 (Updated - August 22nd 2023)

In today's fast-paced business world, companies often need quick solutions to pressing problems. The five-Day Journey is a proven method that can help answer critical business questions through design, test new ideas, and set a solid foundation for future success. This innovative approach, developed at GV (formerly Google Ventures), brings together business strategy, design thinking, innovation, and behavioral science into a streamlined process that delivers impactful results in just five days.

The five-day run offers a highly efficient and practical approach to jump starting projects such as launching a new app, website, or even redesigning existing products. By dedicating a small team for one week, from brainstorming to prototype testing, businesses can save valuable time and resources while moving forward with the most viable solutions. The process enables teams to make informed decisions, validate ideas, and generate immediate customer feedback.

Key Takeaways

  • The Five-Day Run is a time-conscious method for solving problems and testing ideas
  • By dedicating a focused team for a week, companies can save time and resources
  • Implementing the Five-Day Run can lead to informed decisions, validated thoughts, and valuable customer feedback

The 5 Day Sprint Process

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Monday: Map the Problem

Embarking on a five-day journey adventure begins on Monday, when your team gathers to map the problem. The quest starts with understanding the challenge, identifying the goals, and discussing any existing ideas. The team then creates a roadmap to comprehensively tackle a step-by-step plan of the problem and defines key metrics and paths to success. Then combine the winning scenes from your sketches into a storyboard. By the end of the five-day process, you'll have a clear layout of the problem and an inspired team ready for the next step.

Design sprint is a five-day collaboration for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.

Tuesday: Sketch Solutions

As dawn breaks on Tuesday, it's time to gear up your creativity and sketch solutions for the mapped problem. Everyone on the team contributes their thoughts, ensuring diverse perspectives are included. The sketches act as rough blueprints for solving the challenge, considering user needs, functionalities, and potential constraints. After an intense day of brainstorming and sketching, the team will have a collection of possible solutions.

Wednesday: Decide and Build Prototype

On Wednesday morning, your team will muster their focus to decide on the best solution and start building the prototype. This critical step requires careful evaluation of the proposed sketches to determine the most effective path to the big challenge. Once the team reaches a consensus, it's time to assemble the prototype using the chosen design, ensuring it addresses the problem. With steadfast determination, this day lays the foundation for the next stage of the quest.

Thursday: Perform User Testing

As Thursday rolls in, you'll be bracing for user testingโ€” the ultimate trial by fire for your prototype. Armed with your well-crafted prototype, the team will test its effectiveness with real users, collecting honest feedback about its strengths and weaknesses. This day is crucial, as user insights and usability testing will guide the necessary refinements, ensuring the success of your five-day journey.

Friday: Refine and Launch

On the final day, Friday (Friday's test), the team rallies to refine and launch the improved prototype. By incorporating user feedback, you'll sharpen the tool, refining and optimizing its functionality. Once the adjustments are made, the prototype is ready for launch! It's time to embrace the accomplishment in just five days and share the finished product of your hard work and dedication with the world. Focus on measuring results with the key metrics from each business. Good luck, brave team!

Team Composition

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Roles and Responsibilities

Ah, questing for the perfect team to embark on a five-day run, ye've come to the right place! Now, gather 'round and let me tell ye about the crucial roles in this grand fellowship, 'tis quite the tale.

The Product Owner: This fine trailblazer is our visionary product manager, who sees the path ahead and leads us to greatness. They are responsible for the fabled product backlogโ€”prioritizing and refining it like a true champion. Guided and brought firsthand expertise by customer needs and value, they ensure our quest remains aligned and on course (which can typically take weeks to plan and often delivers confusing results).

The Scrum Master: Hail the wizard (facilitator) of our order! This agile coach navigates and protects the team. Upholding the sacred Scrum rituals, they clear a path through impediments and distractions, keeping our adventurers focused and in high spirits.

The Mercenaries (developers): The heart of our fellowship, these stalwart warriors wield their skill and expertise to vanquish tasks on the battlefield of code. In their hands, our quest takes shape and becomes a reality through commitment and collaboration.

While traversing the treacherous terrain of a five-day journey, each valiant staff member assumes their mantle with great accountability. Forsooth, the decider is often the Product Owner, forging the trail we follow through the dark and dangerous development forest.

In the realm of design sprints, our champions are challenged with planning, daily stand-ups, reviews, and retrospectivesโ€”all critical rituals that lay the groundwork for steady progress and successful outcomes in sprint book. United by these tenets of Scrum, our heroes traverse the road to victory together, forging a bond that spans countless sprints for the ages.

So, hearken to this legend, new members of the order! May ye find inspiration and guidance in the tale of these mighty roles as ye lend thine own strength to this grand fellowship, charting a new course on the hallowed grounds of five-day quests!

๐Ÿ“– Read More: Google's design sprint kit

Key Principles of the Sprint Methodology

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Time Constraint and Focus

The Methodology revolves around a five-day process that makes participants work to achieve a daily target within a set time frame. During these focused days, scrum participants aim to complete a specific amount of manageable piece of work, addressing critical questions. This time constraint comes from GV's design approach and allows for greater accountability by enabling participants to concentrate on their long-term goals.

Embracing Failure

One important aspect is accepting that failure might happen, but it's not the end of the road. Instead, participants can learn and grow from their mistakes by embracing their failure. By iterating early and often, they can identify potential obstacles before they become unmanageable. This proactive approach helps to minimize risks and ultimately leads to better software development outcomes.

Iterative Learning

The five-day Methodology encourages participants to learn through repetition. Each day has a designated focus, pushing the staff to drill down on specific issues or problems. As time passes, the staff iterates on their work, refining and honing their solutions. This cycle of continuous learning and adaptation helps create a product that meets user needs and requirements.

To avoid stagnation, the Methodology utilizes tools such as:

  • Tables: to organize and present data in a structured format
  • Bullet points: to enumerate important thoughts or lists
  • Bold text: to emphasize essential terms or concepts
Daniel Cooper

Daniel Cooper

Managing Partner & Dungeon Master

Did you know?
The sprint process encourages quick decision-making.

This speed helps prevent the bogging down that can happen in typical meetings.

Tools and Practices

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Aye, mates! One of the best ways to build and visualize thoughts during a five-day journey is through storyboarding. This practice is crucial for startups and helps establish a clear schedule that aligns everyone on the staff. You take your research, customer interviews, thoughts, and create your epic tale. Use sketches, sticky notes, or whatever materials you have on hand to visually represent your customer's journey from start to finish.

Prototyping Techniques

Now that you've got your storyboard, it's time to bring your thoughts to life using prototyping techniques. Remember, perfection isn't the goal here, but rather to create a representation and realistic prototype of your product that's good enough for testing with customers. You need not be a master blacksmith in this stage!

  • Paper prototypes: Start with something simple and easily changeable, like sketches on paper that display the main interface elements.
  • Digital prototypes: If you're a master of magic, opt for creating a digital mockup using design tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD.
  • Clickable prototypes: For a more interactive experience, consider creating clickable prototypes using tools like InVision or Marvel.

User Testing

Ahoy there! You've got your mockup in hand. The next step is user testing. In this phase, you'll have your customers test your mockup and offer valuable feedback. This is essential to refining your approaches and ensuring you're on the right path. Conduct user interview script, observe their reactions, and collect their feedback. Remember to remain neutral and open-minded during these sessions, as customers can provide some of the most surprising and useful insights.

Collaboration Tools

No enchanted quest runs smoothly without proper tools. Here's a list of collaboration tools that can help your staff stay organized, communicate effectively, and design the perfect solution during a five-day run:

  • Project Management: Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can keep you on the right track and organized.
  • Communication: Slack or Microsoft Teams are essential for real-time staff communication.
  • File Sharing: Google Drive or Dropbox can keep all your important files, designs, and research in one accessible place.
  • Design: Figma, Sketch, and Adobe XD will help you build and iterate on your prototypes.

That be it, traveler! Now, gather your staff members and venture on to your five-day journey, using these tools and practices to guide your way towards success.

Adopting the 5 Day Sprint to Your Business

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Defining Goals

The first step in a five-day design sprint process is crystalizing your objectives. Think of a problem or a new opportunity you'd like to seize. The main goal is to find a superpower to propel your business forward. Begin by creating a clear checklist of objectives, defining minimal product requirements, and identifying the key stakeholders for your design sprint.

Establish a clear set of data-backed goals to achieve throughout the process. This data-driven approach helps maintain a strong focus and critical thinking during the run. Take time to learn from existing market trends and competition to understand your target audience's needs. This groundwork will provide a strong foundation for success as your own sprint begins and progresses.

Addressing Challenges

Now that your goals are clear, it's time to identify barriers and challenges. This step in the five-day run involves gathering information, collaborating with staff members, and defining crucial questions that must be answered. Be proactive in identifying potential hurdles that might arise during the run and prepare to tackle them head-on.

  • Utilize prototyping techniques to create viable, testable mockups for your objectives.
  • Foster a collaborative environment within your staff, emphasizing open communication and joint responsibility.
  • Continuously refine your approach based on feedback, experimentation, and learning from successes and failures.

As you rapidly progress through the design sprints, keep the focus on launching a high-quality and efficient solution for your need. By successfully addressing challenges, you'll rise above the competition and deliver a lasting impact on your organization.

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Real-Life Case Studies of 5 Day Sprints

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Success Stories

Take this tale from a cool email marketing startup. They used a five-day run to streamline their business, which worked like magic! By dedicating five days straight to run planning and collaboration, the staff could focus and move forward together. And guess what? Their email performance skyrocketed, and they saw a boost in customer satisfaction.

Another rad example comes from Steve J Larsen, who led a five-day run for a group of determined entrepreneurs. They joined a Facebook group with one goal in mindโ€”to build a rock-solid sales funnel. With such an intense experience, they fine-tuned their funnel and launched it live by the end of the sprint week. Cha-ching!

Lessons Learned

Now, let's talk lessons. One thing to remember when running a 5-day sprint customers is that time is limited. It's essential to plan ahead and be ready to dive right in on Monday. Trust me, it'll make the rest of the week so much smoother.

But it ain't all sunshine and rainbowsโ€” design sprints can be tough. For example, when a software company held a 5-day sprint to prepare their new app feature for the future, they hit some roadblocks. Their developers and decision-makers found it challenging to keep up with the pace and deliver the feature in a tight timeframe. But they learned the value of communication and collaboration, and eventually, they got the feature built.

So, what do these stories tell us? Well, 5-day design sprints can be an excellent way to power through projects and keep heroic teams connected. It's about working together, learning as we go, and being open to change. Just remember to stay nimble and stay bold, friends!

Fostering a 5 Day Sprint Community

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Hey there! It's important to create great collaboration during a five-day run. You know, teams who work together, stay together! By using platforms like Facebook (yeah, it's not just for cute cat videos), you can bring your staff members together in a private Facebook group to share thoughts, progress, and experience about your journey. Think of it as your own little digital fellowship!


A 5-day sprint is all about teamwork, so providing a safe learning environment is key to success. Creating this supportive atmosphere means that everyone feels free to ask questions, offer help, share experiences, and grow as a staff members. This is quite like what happens at Blue Bottle Coffee - the perfect blend of ingredients generates a delightful experience. Social media platforms like Facebook can greatly contribute to enforcing this supportive environment, facilitating connection, and motivating members.


Now, we all know a 5-day sprint without resources is like trying to defeat a dragon without a sword! To maximize the impact and fuel the success of your run sprints, you must ensure your members have access to valuable resources, like replays of previous sessions. By offering these learning materials, you give your squad the freedom to absorb past knowledge at their own pace (ain't that awesome?), ensuring they are equipped for the adventure ahead. This also encourages members to learn from each other's experiences and foster a collective sense of progress.

Remember, the secret to fostering a 5-day sprint community lies in collaboration, support, and resources. By creating a space that values teamwork and shared learning experiences, you'll pave the way for success on your journey. Onwards, my friends!


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In the realm of product development, a 5-day sprint is a powerful tool to rapidly iterate and validate ideas. By incorporating design thinking, strategy, customer research, and behavioral science into a structured 5-day run, adventuring teams can tackle critical questions through design prototyping and test prototypes with real users. Members may include a facilitator, designer, decision-maker, engineer, and someone from a relevant unit.

Over these mystical five days, each day bears its own significance: defining the problem, sketching them, deciding which ones to pursue, building a high-fidelity mockup, and finally, validating it with users. When done right, the outcome is a validated, tested solution user-centered mockup, significantly accelerating the development cycle.

Remember, fellow adventurers, time is a precious resource. Embrace the big idea of the 5-day sprint and embark on your quest towards a successful product launch or improvement. In the end, the true magic lies in harnessing your members' collective knowledge, key insights, firsthand expertise, and collaboration during this intense, focused period.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the key stages in a 5-day design sprint?

A 5-day design sprint quest consists of five main stages:

  1. Day 1 - Understand: Identifying the design sprints challenge, gathering insights, and setting up the foundation for the rest of the time.
  2. Day 2 - Diverge: Exploring a variety of decisions to solve the challenge, promoting creativity and idea generation.
  3. Day 3 - Decide: Narrowing down the best thoughts and forming a clear, actionable path forward.
  4. Day 4 - Prototype: Creating a tangible mockup of the chosen solution to gather user feedback.
  5. Day 5 - Test: Collecting user feedback and validating the solution's effectiveness against the original challenge.

How does a 5-day sprint differ from design thinking?

A 5-day design sprint is a condensed, intensive version of design thinking. While it involves iterative steps spread over a longer period, a 5-day design sprint packs everything into a single workweek. This concentrated approach encourages quick decisions, collaboration, and innovation to solve a specific challenge. To shortcut the endless debate cycle and compress months of back and forth in a single week.

What are some real-life examples of 5-day sprints?

5-day sprints have been adopted by many organizations, including Google Ventures, Slack, and Blue Bottle Coffee. They've been used to develop products, streamline internal processes, solve customer-facing surface points, and define new strategies.

What are the primary benefits of using a 5-day sprint?

You'll start by reviewing existing ideas so everyone can improve and build on them using a four-step process that โ€œemphasizes critical thinking. In addition to the Design Sprint methodologies, there are a variety of other techniques you may consider, and they are always evolving.

Some benefits of using a 5-day design sprint include:

  • Rapid problem-solving: It's generated and tested in a focused time frame, enabling swift innovation.
  • Streamlined decision-making: This helps participants reach consensus and align on priorities.
  • Lower risk: The fast-forwarding nature of design sprints helps validate thoughts without significant financial or time investments.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Sprints require everyone to work together, promoting cross-functional communication.

How can I create a template for a 5-day design sprint?

Creating a 5-day, design sprints adventure template involves planning the activities and goals for each day. Break down each day into distinct tasks, challenges, and outcomes. Clearly outline the roles, responsibilities, and deliverables of each member. Prep logistics, such as materials, timeframes, and locations, well in advance to keep the design sprints running smoothly where the rest of the team chipped in their expertise.

Where can I find resources or certifications for 5-day sprints?

Several organizations and online platforms offer resources and certifications for 5-day design sprints, including:

These resources provide courses, DIY guide, expert tips, and certification opportunities to help you master the five-day run.

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Daniel Cooper

โœ๏ธ Written By: Daniel Cooper
๐Ÿง™ Managing Partner, Lolly
๐Ÿ“… May 18th 2023 (Updated - August 22nd 2023)

Daniel Cooper is the founder and managing partner at Lolly and focuses on creating incredible digital products for his clients. As an experienced product designer, sprint facilitator, and software/app developer he has created simple, no-nonsense, and informative videos and articles for Lolly and other established brands.

โœ‰๏ธ [email protected]   ๐Ÿ”— LinkedIn