✍️ Written by Daniel Cooper on May 21st 2023(Updated - August 9th 2023)
Design sprint quests have revolutionized the way teams tackle big projects and test ideas in a short span of time. The brainchild of Jake Knapp, epic design sprints have garnered immense popularity owing to their effectiveness in organizations of all sizes. Knapp's best-selling book, "Sprint," dives deep into the methodology, allowing teams to streamline their process and achieve better results.
The design sprints adventure framework encompasses a structured five-day process that helps teams rapidly ideate, prototype, and test their new ideas. Knapp, the author of Sprint, who spent 10 years at Google and Google Ventures, developed the process to address the challenges faced by startups as well as established organizations. The key to the design sprints lies in its focus on collaboration, efficiency, and results, transforming the way companies approach problem-solving.
Design sprints, enable adventuring teams to tackle projects and test ideas quickly.
The five-day process is a structured framework for ideation, prototyping, and testing.
Design sprint battles have been successfully implemented in startups, large organizations, and various industries.
The Origins of Design Sprint
In the mystical realm of product design thinking, there was a legendary wizard named Jake Knapp. He concocted a powerful potion known as the Enchanted Design Sprint back in 2010, while he was on a quest at Google. In 2012, Jake brought sprints to GV, and the rest of the team chipped in their expertise to perfect the methodology. The process was inspired by magical forces, including Google's very own product development culture, ancient scrolls from IDEO's design thinking workshops, and sage ideas like Basecamp's Getting Real and Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto.
Knapp, a skilled product designer who had previously crafted enchanted items for Microsoft, Google, and Google Ventures, envisioned a method of design thinking that would galvanize questing teams to solve big problems and embark on projects of epic proportions with unparalleled speed and urgency. And so, the Design Sprint was born. This sorcerous method soon spread throughout the land, permeating the workings of hundreds of enterprises and thousands of designers across the realms, ultimately revolutionizing the way they approached new product design.
Over the years, Knapp continued to hone and refine the approach, collaborating with more than 150 startups at GV. Assembled into an arcane tome titled "Sprint," the knowledge of this powerful process is now available to all who seek to join the movement. Beyond the confines of the Sprint Book, Knapp has shared his mastery of the craft by coaching teams at illustrious organizations like Miro, Slack, LEGO, IDEO, United Nations, and NASA. His teachings even echo within the hallowed halls of Harvard, where he serves as a guest instructor, and in museums like the British Museum. "Try the book and try a Sprint.” — Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO. “Read this book and do what it says if you want to build better products faster.” — Ev Williams, founder of Medium and Twitter.
The Design Sprint has emerged as a beacon of hope for smart adventuring teams venturing forth on their own heroic quests, guiding them through the perilous chasms of new endeavors and helping them attain the mighty elixir: success. Design sprint process is a ‘greatest hit' of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
Design Sprint Core Concepts
Ah, the Design Sprint! A most magical process concocted by the wise wizard. This enchanting method aids teams on their quest to solve daring problems and forge mighty products in the fires of efficiency. Let me share with you some core concepts surrounding the Design Sprints.
In this mystical land of productivity, a Sprint is a time-limited adventure, with intrepid magical teams navigating through uncharted territories of ideas and solutions. Over five stages - spread across but a handful of days - they shall journey through the realms of Mapping, Sketching, Deciding, Prototyping, and Testing. Fear not, for they do not travel alone. The path has been forged before them by Knapp and his trusty allies from Google Ventures.
Collaboration is the essence of this enchantment, as teams unite in their pursuit of understanding user needs and besting the trials of design issues. Knapp's wisdom empowers them to wield the formidable techniques of innovation, business strategy, and design with critical thinking together. They shall bring forth marvelous products and services that stand tall against the challenges of the ever-accelerating world.
Aye, the Design Sprint methodology is a treasure trove of benefits! It weaves speed and nimbleness into the teams' craft, boosting their confidence and knowledge. As they work in harmony, they shall transform their visions into reality, with new processes, forging effective solutions and prototypes with newfound swiftness.
And thus, my dear reader, I have revealed to you the core concepts of Jake Knapp's spectacular Design Sprints Battle. Onward, brave innovators, and may your journey through the realms of team collaboration, problem-solving, customer research, realistic prototype, and product creation be fruitful and inspired!
On the first day of the sprint week, the team will gather to understand and define the challenge they are facing. They will focus on identifying the problem at hand, analyzing the current situation, and setting a goal for their own sprint. The team will create a map of the problem, which will help visualize the process and contribute to a better understanding of the challenge.
Day 2: Diverge and Generate Ideas
On day two, the team will work to generate a multitude of ideas and solutions for the identified challenge. By sketching and brainstorming various possibilities to sketch solutions for big challenges without any limitations, the team will exercise their creativity and innovation on the playing field. This step allows for unconventional critical thinking and potential breakthroughs, giving the team an array of options to choose from.
Day 3: Decide on a Solution
After the collection of numerous ideas on day two of their own sprint, the team comes together on the third day, Wednesday morning, to decide on the best contributions and most promising solution to their problem. Through discussions and evaluations of competing solutions on Wednesday morning, the team will narrow down the options and arrive at the best choice to move forward with. This chosen solution will be the focus for the remainder of the sprint week.
Day 4: Prototype the Solution
On the fourth day, the team will turn the chosen solution into a tangible, realistic prototype. This step involves creating a simplified version of the solution, focusing on the critical components necessary for testing during Friday's test session. The prototype does not need to be perfect but should be an accurate representation of the proposed solution, allowing the team to conduct their tests the following day. Make sure everything is ready for Friday's test.
Day 5: Test and Validate
The fifth and final day of the sprint week involves testing and validating the prototype and tested solution created on day four. The team will engage with real users to gather feedback on their solutions. By observing how users interact with the prototype, the team will be able to identify any shortcomings or successes. This crucial step ensures that the solution is viable and effective in solving the original challenge. The insightful feedback will then be used to refine the prototype or inform the next steps of the project and move towards completing the finished product.
Managing Partner & Dungeon Master
Did you know?
After a sprint, you can iterate on the process and conduct more sprints.
Much like a Phoenix, it's a cycle of rebirth and continual improvement!
Roles and Responsibilities within a Design Sprint
A Design Sprint is a time-constrained idea process aimed at solving problems and testing solutions in a structured manner. It is particularly useful for small startups and organizations that need to make critical decisions quickly and efficiently. This section will highlight the key roles and responsibilities within the process, focusing on the Decider, the Dungeon Master (facilitator), and the importance of collaboration.
Firstly, the Decider is an integral figure in the Design Sprint. This individual is typically someone with decision-making authority and an understanding of the project or a big challenge being tackled. During the process, the Decider's primary responsibility is to make important choices and drive the direction of the prototype. Their accountability ensures that the team can progress smoothly through the process, particularly on day 4, when all the time prototype development takes place.
Collaboration is key in a successful Design Sprint Battle, and having a Facilitator can significantly enhance this aspect. The Facilitator is responsible for guiding the team through the process, ensuring that everyone contributes their input and knowledge. This includes setting ground rules, managing time, and keeping discussions focused on the task at hand. A skilled dungeon master creates an environment that encourages open communication, allowing for diverse perspectives and ideas to be shared.
While the Decider makes the final choices, it is essential for the entire team to actively participate in the process. The process relies on the collective expertise and knowledge of the group, with each member contributing their unique skills, firsthand expertise, and insights. Startups, in particular, can benefit from this collaborative approach, as it brings together professionals from different disciplines to address complex challenges more effectively.
Integral to the success of Design Sprints is the work of Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, who developed the framework and authored the bestselling book "Sprint". Zeratsky on the other hand, has appeared on stage nearly 200 times, including at Netflix, IDEO, McKinsey, the Code Conference, and The London School of Economics. Their expertise in the field has played a significant role in the popularity and efficacy of the hiring process, which has since been adopted by many organizations worldwide and brought firsthand expertise.
In summary, The Design Sprint process encompasses a powerful blend of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—all wrapped in a battle-tested process that any team can leverage. It relies on a diverse team working together under the guidance of a Facilitator to solve problems, confusing results, and test solutions efficiently. The Decider plays a crucial role in driving the direction of the prototype, ensuring that the team remains focused and on track. For startups and established organizations alike, adopting the process can be a transformative tool for tackling challenging projects and making informed decisions.
Remote Design Sprints
Adapting to Remote Work
In the face of the global pandemic, many organizations have had to adapt their processes and embrace remote work. One such adaptation is the Remote Design Sprint, an online version of the original Enchanted Design Sprint. This approach to Design Sprints maintains the core principles while allowing teams to collaborate effectively despite being in separate locations or in other countries.
By utilizing communication service and collaboration tools, teams can now run design sprints even when they cannot be physically together. The Remote Design Sprint paves the way for improved service productivity and creativity while keeping the team spirit and momentum going strong.
Tools for Remote Design Sprints
A successful Remote Design Sprint often relies on a strong arsenal of tools. Here's a list of some popular and useful tools for running fast forwarding seamless remote design sprints:
Google Meet: A video conferencing tool that allows teams to connect in real time and collaborate effectively during meetings.
Slack: A cohesive communication platform that lets teams keep their conversations organized, integrated, and collaborative.
Miro: An online whiteboard application that enables team brainstorming, creating prototypes, and sharing feedback visually.
These tools, when combined with the Remote Design Sprint techniques, empower teams to take on new challenges and solve problems effectively. By embracing this approach, companies can continue to innovate and make progress even during uncertain times.
Applying Design Sprints to Various Industries
Epic design sprints have proven valuable in numerous industries, helping organizations tackle challenges and propel forward with innovative strategies. Jake Knapp's approach, born out of his work at GV (formerly Google Ventures), has been influential in various sectors, including tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and even media outlets like the New York Times.
Microsoft, for instance, uses design sprints to boost innovation and tackle strategic challenges within their organization. By applying this five-days process, the company can quickly test out new ideas, validate solutions, and foster a culture of innovation throughout their heroic teams.
At Facebook, design and run sprints and quests are vital in the fast-paced environment where new features and services are constantly being developed. By adopting this process, Facebook can not only embrace new concepts and solutions but also respond swiftly to user feedback and ensure their platform remains a relevant and engaging social media hub.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has found design sprints to be valuable in navigating the rapidly changing media landscape. By implementing Knapp's methodology, the New York Times can develop new content strategies, optimize digital experiences for users, and ultimately maintain its reputation as a leading media organization.
Design sprints enable organizations across industries to:
Solve critical problems and address confusing results in a time-bound manner
Test and validate proposals before investing significant resources
Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration
Quickly respond to user needs and industry changes
In conclusion, the adoption of design sprints by organizations such as Microsoft, Facebook, and the New York Times showcases the versatility and effectiveness of this methodology. By fostering a culture that values rapid prototyping, user testing, and collaboration, these industry leaders continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. It has a long-term goal to align innovative solutions with the organization's vision.
Speak To One Of Our Experts
They will help you solve you biggest challenges and set you on an epic path to tech success
Measuring Design Sprint Results
Ah! A Design Sprint is a powerful tool for solving big problems and seizing golden opportunities. It's a step-by-step guide to get answers to essential and critical business questions in just sprint week. Let me tell you a tale about measuring the results of such an adventure.
In the realm of Design Sprints, success isn't just about the beauty of the final design, but also the clarity it brings to a team faced with the right challenge of a big idea or a quest – 'tis known as problem-solving. Keep track of key metrics and how well your team identifies the problem and outlines the objectives before embarking on this journey. After all, the success of a Design Sprint relies on a well-understood problem and a clear goal.
During the Design Sprint Battle, the journey to finished product is filled with rapid sketching, brainstorming, and prototyping. To measure its effectiveness, observe the sprint begins and how it transforms vague concept into tangible prototypes. Track the rate of innovation and distill the essence of the prototypes, reflecting on these key questions below:
Were we able to create various solutions to address the problem?
Hath our team been focused and fully engaged in the process?
In the end, when the enchantment of validation arrives via user testing, the most useful measure of a Design Sprint process is how it navigates the insights gathered. These insights highlight precise answers to the questions that prompted the adventure in the first place. Take note of:
How well did we make use of gathered user feedback?
Were potential pitfalls and opportunities revealed through testing?
While the journey is swift and intense, measuring its success requires a thorough approach. By using business strategy, paying heed to the critical business questions, and measuring results' clarity, the rate of innovation, and the value of insights gained, the treasure of success shall be found in the results of a Design Sprint process.
Resources for Setting up Your Design Sprint
Design Sprint Template
By the beard of Zephyr, a design sprint battle template is essential for setting up a successful design sprint! A foolproof template can help you create a step-by-step plan each day of the sprint, allocate tasks to your team, and stay on track to achieve your goals. Aye, mighty templates include those by GV and Mural, which provide clear guidelines and tools for running your sprint with ease. Don't forget to customize your template to fit the needs of your quest!
Sprint Book by Jake Knapp
Quests are never complete without a trusty guide! Fear not, for the Sprint Book is here to save the day. This magical tome shall enlighten you with step-by-step instructions for running successful design sprints. "Sprint" unveils the secrets of testing concepts by rapidly prototyping and gathering valuable customer feedback. Ready your quills, for this is an essential read for enchanted design sprint champions!
Every skilled adventurer needs a reliable checklist. A Checklist will ensure you've got everything covered—from assembling your team of warriors, to preparing the proper materials and tools. Here be a basic list to help you forge ahead:
Assemble the mighty team: diverse skills, champions of creativity!
Choose a valiant challenge: focused, but open to exploration.
Set up the war room: a safe haven to collaborate and create!
By the bristles of my beard and the power of the Lightfoot clan, you are now well-equipped to embark on a successful design sprint! Venture forth, and conquer your challenges with confidence and swagger.
Scaling Design Sprints for Larger Organizations
Ah, noble quest-seekers! Scaling Design Sprint Battles in larger organizations is a big challenge worthy of our embrace. Before we embark, let's ensure all our fellow travelers possess the knowledge of Design Sprints. It aids questing teams in rapidly progress, solving big problems and testing new concepts, all within an enchanted one week only.
Fear not, entrepreneurs and creators of work that matters! For I shall bestow upon you the secrets of scaling Quests to fit your small team of larger organizations. Prepare thy quills for note-taking:
Unite the Champions: Appoint Design Sprint Masters proficient in the ways of Design Sprints long term goal. These masters train and mentor others, thus spreading wisdom within the organization.
Forge a Guild: Establish a centralized Battle team. This guild stands as the beacon for learning, collaboration, and support for other teams embarking upon their Design Sprint Adventure journey.
Guild Meetings: Hold regular meet-ups with the Enchanted Design Sprint Masters. These gatherings foster knowledge sharing, camaraderie, and magical improvements in the Enchanted Design process.
Document thy Journey: Create a shared repository to store the knowledge and learnings from each Design Sprint. This tome shall serve as a reference for the entire organization.
Scaling Design Sprints Within Tiered Structures:
Dragons and goblins aside, larger organizations typically possess multiple layers of hierarchy. Fear not, for the Design Sprint Quest process can be adapted for the unique needs of each level:
For the higher echelons, employ a Strategic Design Sprint: This type of sprint focuses on long-term strategy, product vision, and tackling high-level organizational challenges.
For those stout-of-heart within the middle of the hierarchy, venture forth with a Tactical Design Sprint Battle: This sprint addresses specific projects, product features, or improvements that support the broader organizational strategy.
Onward to the brave contributors navigating the front lines, an Operational Design Sprint: Equip these champions with the tools to improve everyday processes and workflow, ensuring the smooth running of the kingdom.
Embark now on your quest to scale Design Sprints that align with the long-term goal, guiding innovative solutions toward the organization's vision! With hearts full of courage and heads filled with knowledge, lead your organization to victorious problem-solving and idea-testing. The world awaits your marvelous innovation!
Final Thoughts and Suggestions
Design sprint battles are an incredible tool for tackling big problems and testing new innovations swiftly and efficiently. Throughout this article, we've explored Jake Knapp's groundbreaking methodology, which has been helping countless companies innovate in just five days and brought firsthand expertise.
It is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing innovations with target customers and focusing on measuring results with the key metrics from each business. Thousands of teams around the world have already run sprints.
Upcoming Design Sprint News and Announcements
For those who are enthusiastic about design sprints and want to stay updated on the latest buzz, subscribing to a newsletter can be the way to go. On Medium, you will find numerous articles penned by Jake Knapp, who shares his insights and experiences in this domain.
A quick search on their platform will present you with enlightening stories and helpful tips, while helping you stay informed on any recent developments. By following him, you can get notified when he publishes a new article, making it easy to stay connected to the latest news and announcements from around the world of design hackathons.
And for those who prefer email updates, you have the option to subscribe to Knapp's own email newsletter that focuses on all things design sprint. By keeping an eye on the inbox, you will receive expert advice, practical guide, links to useful adventure resources, exciting stories, and the latest news about his work, right at your fingertips.
The quests have rapidly evolved into a powerful force in the world of innovation. With brainchild at the helm, the process approach is changing the way many organizations face their toughest challenges. Following his work on various platforms, like Medium or through his newsletter, can go a long way in expanding your knowledge and making informed decisions with confidence.
Ah, design sprint battles! They have five key components: Understand, Sketch, Decide, Prototype, and Test. Understand involves defining the problem and setting a goal. Sketch means brainstorming concepts individually. Take the winning scenes from your sketches and combine them into a storyboard. Decide is all about selecting the best idea. Prototype means creating a mockup, and Test is getting it in front of users to gather feedback and customer research. Pretty simple, right?
How do you facilitate a design sprint workshop?
Alright, to facilitate a battle workshop, you need someone's service to guide the team through the process. Typically, a facilitator leads discussions, provides instructions, and keeps time. Prepare materials and an agenda beforehand, making sure all team members are comfortable with the format. Throughout the workshop, keep the focus on the goal and encourage effective communication between hobbits (participants). Easy peasy!
What are the typical activities in each phase of a design sprint?
Great question! In the Understand phase, you map out the problem, listen to expert insights, and set an achievable goal. In the Sketch phase, everyone brainstorms individually, creating as many concepts as possible. Then take the winning scenes from your sketches and weave them into a storyboard. The Decide phase is for group discussions and selecting the best idea. Prototype is all about crafting a mockup, and Testing ideas involves gathering user feedback. And that's it for just five days.
Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is good, you'll get clear data from a realistic prototype.
A practical guide to answering critical business questions, it is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits.
It is like fast-forwarding into the future, so you can see how customers react on prototype before you invest all the time and expenses and it emphasizes critical thinking over artistry. An ambitious but manageable piece of the problem that you can solve in one week. During that one weekyou clear the calendar and then instead of all those normal emails and slacks, all the defaults that are drive us crazy we run a checklist.
Why, yes you can! There are training programs and workshops available, providing certification once you complete the course. Some courses are even endorsed by legendary wizard, the creator of enchanted design sprints with step-by-step plan. Just make sure you pick a reputable provider, and you're good to go.
Who is Jake Knapp and what is his role in design sprints?
What a guy! He's the creator of design sprints, coming up with a procedure that emphasizes critical thinking while working at Google. Jake spent 10 years at Google and Google Ventures where he ran over 100 sprints with startups around the world. Jake brought sprints to GV, and the rest of the team chipped in their expertise to perfect the methodology. After that, he wrote the best-selling book Sprint to share his knowledge with others around the world. So, yeah, he's kind of a big deal in the Creative Sprint universe.
What are the primary benefits of using a design sprint methodology?
Now we're talking about our long-term goal! Creative sprint methodology brings some awesome benefits like validating visions quickly, reducing risk, fostering collaboration, and saving time and resources. It's basically a magical recipe for solving big problems and creating innovative solutions with speed and confidence. Give it a try, and you'll see!
They will help you solve you biggest challenges and set you on an epic path to tech success
✍️ Written By: Daniel Cooper
🧙 Managing Partner, Lolly
📅 May 21st 2023 (Updated - August 9th 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.