✍️ Written by Daniel Cooper on May 1st 2023(Updated - August 30th 2023)
Design sprint planning is an essential part of any design sprint, combining
the principles of agile methodology with focused, time-based activities that
involve members of the design and development questing teams. It begins with
identifying challenges, exploring solutions, choosing the best ones, and
then creating a prototype that can be tested and refined throughout the
The key to productive design sprint planning is fostering effective
collaboration among all members of the Scrum crew. To do this,
some simple strategies can be employed, such as clearly defining the sprint
goal, creating the backlog, and determining our heroes'
capacity. Doing so lets your adventurers quickly and efficiently narrow down
the tasks required to complete each backlog item during
Epic planning streamlines product development with time-based activities.
Collaboration is essential to the success of your sprinting adventure.
Clearly defining the goal, creating the sprint backlog, and determining
the team's capacity are all vital components of the planning practice.
Design Sprint Planning Basics
Planning is the first essential step. It is
an agile framework that helps adventurers create
and test solutions efficiently. This workshop is perfect for tackling complex
problems as it empowers our heroes to explore, prototype, and test ideas using
a structured, time-bound approach.
Now, a design sprint typically lasts five days a
week, with five phases, each day being dedicated to a different phase of the
process. The first phase is Sprint Planning, the time when the crew sets clear
objectives, defines the sprint goal, and aligns everyone
with the plan.
So, what are the basics of Design Sprint Planning? It all begins with
understanding the problem and setting a clear goal. The Sprint Master (or
Scrum Master for a Scrum adventure) should invite all mystical workshop
members and stakeholders to participate, ensuring everyone has the chance to
contribute ideas to the discussion. Remember, collaboration with other teams
is crucial in measuring results and making epic Planning successful.
Once the crew is assembled, gathering expert insights, ideas, and feedback is
crucial. This can be done by scheduling lightning talks, raising critical
business questions, and interviewing users, partners, gurus, or other
stakeholders. Gathering valuable information in this early stage will help
other team members decide and make informed decisions later in the ideation
and prototyping phases.
With the insights and contributions from all workshop members, the Master
should then guide our adventurers to prioritize action items, split the
workload, and create a timeline. Organizing sprints are essential for ensuring
smooth progress and efficient time management.
At this point, it's important to remember that the agile framework is all
about flexibility, so it's okay for the plan to undergo some changes. As new
ideas and challenges arise, our heroes can adapt and revise their initial plan
while working towards the ultimate sprint goal.
In short, Sprint Basics involve:
Setting clear goals and objectives
Assembling a diverse and collaborative team
Gaining expert idea through lightning talks and interviews
Prioritizing tasks and creating timelines
Remaining flexible and adaptive
By following these simple yet powerful guidelines, our heroes can kick off
their Design Sprints with confidence and clarity, knowing they've laid a solid
foundation for success.
Key Roles in Design Sprint Planning
Several key roles work together to ensure its success. Each role brings unique
skills and expertise, enabling effective collaboration and achieving a shared
Oh, mighty product owner! This brave soul maximizes the product's value and
ensures the project aligns with the user's needs. They're the ones steering
the ship, making decisions about
the priorities and vision of
the project. As the liaison between the stakeholders and the epic development
team, the product owner creates and maintains the product backlog,
communicates the goals clearly, and emphasizes critical thinking.
Behold the scrum master! They're like the guide on a grand adventure, ensuring
the team follows the agile scrum practice and toeing the line between dungeon
master (facilitator) and protector. The scrum master helps the small team to
self-organize and adapt to changes. They also remove
any obstacles or impediments the team may
encounter, allowing everyone to focus on delivering a quality product.
Meet the magical development team — the fearless crew committed to making the
product owner's vision a reality! With a variety of skills among them,
including UX culture designers, warriors (developers), and project managers,
this cross-functional group collaborates to complete the tasks at hand.
They're responsible for creating the product increment,
following the backlog instructions, and estimating the effort needed to
complete each task.
And lastly, the stakeholders—those impacted by the product or with
a vested interest in its success. They include the
top brass and small groups like clients, sponsors, and users who provide
valuable input and feedback throughout the process. Though not directly
involved in everyday tasks, their insights and opinions are significant in
decision-making. The product owner will often consult with them and keep them
informed to ensure the final product meets their needs and expectations.
Each role in the process is crucial for achieving successful outcomes.
Together as a unified Scrum Team, they can sail through
challenges, collaborate effectively, and deliver an exceptional product on
time and within budget.
The first step in the Design Sprint process is truly understanding the
problem. This involves research and
gathering notes from various sources such as user
interviews, analytics data, and expert opinions. The goal here is to create a
strong foundation of knowledge about the users and their needs.
Next, it's time to transform ideas into tangible forms. The design sprint team
should take all the gathered information and participate in a sketching
session. This isn't just limited to designers; everyone on the team can
contribute their ideas. One should sketch various solutions or concepts to
address the problem, considering the user's perspective.
With many promising solutions and creative sketches, it's time to make some
decisions and take that winning scenes. Evaluate each solution based on
feasibility, user impact, and alignment with business goals. Collaboratively
select the most promising ideas and refine them into a cohesive plan.
Once the decisions have been made, it's time to bring those ideas to life with
a prototype. This is a crucial step of the adventure
where your team can create a working model or prototype of the solution, be it
a mobile app interface prototype, a webpage, or even a realistic prototype of
a physical product. Remember, prototypes should be functional enough to test
with real users but don't need to be perfect or polished.
Finally, the moment of truth. Test the prototypes with
actual users to gather feedback and insights into
your design's strengths and weaknesses. This stage allows your customer research team to validate or invalidate assumptions,
identify potential pain points, and discover areas for improvement.
By following this process, your team will have a clear and efficient methodology
to tackle complex design problems and iterate quickly, ensuring a user-centered approach throughout the
entire design process.
Managing Partner & Dungeon Master
Did you know?
A design sprint gives you a quick way to validate your ideas or solutions with real users.
It's like having a sorcerer's stone that can turn hypotheses into evidence!
Sprint Planning Meeting
Gather 'round, agile warriors! Let's delve into the mystical realm of Sprint
First, we need an agenda to guide us through our meeting. Like a wizard's
spell book, it'll keep us focused and aligned. Here's a sample agenda to help
you conjure up a robust discussion:
Review the backlog: a magical list of user stories and tasks prioritized by your valiant Product Owner.
Determine team capacity: evaluate the working hours and
availability of your band of agile heroes.
Estimate tasks: use story points or
hours to grant each user story an estimate.
Select items for the sprint: create your Sprint Backlog by choosing what work can realistically be tackled.
You might also want to size up user stories before adding them to the Sprint Backlog. Why, you ask? Accurate estimations help in judging the actual capacity of
your adventurous brotherhood! Typically, we utilize story points – not hours –
for this purpose.
Here's a nifty table to guide you along on your estimation quest:
Estimating story points allows the team member to grasp the relative
complexity of a task rather than getting bogged down in the mundane details of
After that, it's time to forge the mighty Sprint Backlog,
crafted by selecting high-priority user stories from the Product Backlog. This artifact represents the work your team is committed to tackling during
the sprint week, and it is as sacred as an ancient scroll!
When creating your Sprint Backlog, keep these guidelines in mind :
Ensure it contains specific, achievable tasks.
Balance the workload appropriately across heroic team members.
Keep the duration in mind – don't let your team become overwhelmed!
Now, go forth and commence this epic sprint journey! Remember: confident,
knowledgeable, neutral, and clear. That's the voice of the agile adventurer!
Tools and Resources
Aye, brave explorer! When venturing into the realm of Planning a Design
Sprint, you'll need the right weapons and armor to face the challenges ahead.
Fret not, for I have a list of tools and resources vital for a successful
In the land of technology, various software solutions may aid you on your
journey. JIRA, for instance, is a powerful beast that
aids in planning, allowing your Scrum Master to manage the product backlog,
allocate tasks, and track progress throughout each iteration. With JIRA,
you'll defeat disorganization and emerge victorious!
But ye must know that JIRA isn't the sole software champion! Tools such
as Trello, Monday.com,
and Asana are loyal allies, helping you manage
tasks and collaborate with your fellow warriors.
Now, as you set forth in your planning quest, remember the importance of
communication and collaboration. The resources you'll need include:
Product Backlog, where you'll store your list of desired
features and prioritize them according to their importance to the realm.
Scrum Master, a leader who will guide you on your
journey, ensuring that everyone follows the Scrum process and works
Iteration Planning, a phase where the workshop crew
commits to completing a set of product backlog items for the upcoming
Preparing for a Design Sprint Planning is like forging a mighty weapon; with
the right tools and resources, your team will be unstoppable! Together, you'll
embark on a grand adventure. May you conquer your challenges and discover vast
realms of innovation!
Remote Design Sprint Planning
Behold, mighty remote battle planners! Creating an efficient collaborative
space for your remote team is like embarking on a great quest. First, you must
establish a shared workspace, a realm where big ideas can thrive, and problems
can be tackled head-on. Next, you must choose a timeline that accommodates all
adventurers (participants), considering that quests typically span 1.5 to 2
weeks. The swifter your team's velocity, the faster you can march toward
Working with a remote team also means conquering the dragons of time zones and
availability, so schedule meetings and checkpoints thoughtfully. Bolster your
team's expertise, inviting champions from various realms to contribute unique
insights and skilled craftsmanship to the process.
Tools and Techniques
In this digital age, a treasure trove of tools and techniques awaits to aid
you on your journey. To encompass the vast array of communication needs,
consider embracing video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Meet,
where face-to-face encounters can foster trust and understanding.
Collaborative software, like Miro or Trello, can help manage tasks and track
progress in real-time, empowering your workshop heroes to share their
brilliance freely. For prototyping and design, tools like Figma or Sketch
offer seamless integration with your remote setup. Here's a quick inventory of
tools to consider:
Communication: Slack, Microsoft Teams
Video Conferencing: Zoom, Google Meet
Project Management: Trello, Asana, Miro
Prototyping and Design: Adobe XD, Sketch, Figma
Always remember, adventurers: with the right preparation and power of
effective collaboration tools, you can lead your remote squad to success!
Speak To One Of Our Experts
They will help you solve you biggest challenges and set you on an epic path to tech success
Monitoring and Adjusting
Whaddya know, my friend? It's all about keeping a close eye on your design
sprints and making the necessary changes to keep chugging along full steam
ahead! With careful monitoring and adjusting, you'll stay on track to create
something magical. Let's dive into Sprint Review and Data-Driven Insights.
This is the moment when the scrum crew gathers
around, checking out the outcome of their hard work during the sprints.
Developers, designers, and the organization as a whole review the completed
tasks, test the finished products, and identify any bugs or issues that need
fixing in future sprints.
Besides solving problems, it's a fantastic opportunity to ensure the product
meets everyone's needs and expectations. Marketing and product folks join the
party and offer their valuable insights to help maximize the product's
quality. The Sprint Review is a dynamic part of the methodology that'll keep
things moving in the right direction.
Hey, don't rely solely on gut feelings here! Use cold, hard data to make
informed decisions during your planning. By gathering and analyzing valuable
information about your users, you'll understand their needs and preferences
better. Let these data-driven insights guide your decisions and shape your
Workflow and estimation are
two key areas where data can make a massive difference. Leveraging data helps
adventurers identify patterns, pinpoint priorities, and streamline the
workflow, making the final phase smoother and more efficient.
Consider tracking the following:
The number of bugs resolved per sprint
The average time taken to complete tasks
The percentage of completed tasks per sprint
Comparing previous versions to the current one
Using these existing ideas, you can make more informed choices and challenge
the status quo, tweaking and optimizing your workflow.
So, dear adventurer, that's the gist of monitoring and adjusting during your
journey! Be vigilant with your review, embrace those data-driven insights, and
never be afraid to make adjustments as needed. Happy sprinting!
Practical Applications and Case Studies
Design sprints are quite the versatile tool for teams facing challenges in
product development or refining business strategy. The epic design sprint
method is a flexible and responsible method that helps a
mystic development crew brainstorm and implement solutions effectively.
For instance, LEGO employed the design sprint methodology to revamp its retail
strategy. The project manager took it one day at a time, constantly preparing
and adjusting the product feature. With user research and testing, LEGO
uncovered insights that helped them boost their retail experience and reach
Did you notice that? Design sprints isn't just for the new features and
products. It is also beneficial in decision-making in various business areas
and answers critical business questions. The magic of design sprints lies in
their ability to adapt to various scenarios.
Using Google as our trusty compass, here's another illustration: Google
frequently runs design sprints to help shape its products and services. These
intense 5-day sessions include everything from ideating and prototyping to
user testing. By bringing expert insights to the table, their mystic
development team maps out challenges and tests solutions with real users,
ultimately enhancing and refining their offerings.
For companies ready to embark on design
sprints, running it well is crucial. Following the
established methodology, it's essential to stick to a set timeframe (usually
five business days), engage in customer research and testing, and have key
metrics to ensure the heroic development team works and aligns under a shared
Some quest adventurers employ various strategies to keep things on track. For
example, planning tools like Atlassian can help teams stay focused on the
existing work. At the same time, communities such as the Design Sprint Quest
Community offer valuable resources and support.
In summary, design sprints adventures can be used across industries and
challenges — from product design to business strategy. By using a tried and
true design thinking approach with the right mindset, teams can embark on a
journey to better products, services, and solutions that make a difference in
the world. So gear up, and set sail for success!
Challenges of Design Sprint Planning
Time and Budget Constraints
Oh geez, you know, time and budget constraints come with a major hurdle in
enchanted planning. We've got to solve problems at lightning speed, but
sometimes the tight schedule can limit the team's creativity. The whole point
of design sprints is to rapidly prototype solutions, right? Well, when there's
too much emphasis on speed, the user experience might falter.
This brings me to budgets. Yeah, we need resources to produce quality
deliverables, but again, we gotta keep that pocket tight. Keeping the budget
in check while maintaining high standards is another big challenge here. Let's
all remember to be wise and efficient with time and resources, folks!
Dealing with Complex Problems
Now, talking about complex problems, it's like storming our brains all day
long. Design sprint adventures are meant to tackle these lumbering giants!
Breaking down these big, scary problems into manageable chunks is essential.
But sometimes, it's more complicated than learning to harness a phoenix gem.
There's a chance that questing team members could lose focus during the
prototyping phase. So, to avoid wandering off course, creating specific goals
and establishing solid communication throughout the process is super
Use time efficiently: Work rapidly and minimize distractions
Balance budget and quality: Make wise decisions on resource allocation
Break down complex problems: Divide and conquer those big baddies
Stay focused during prototyping: Specific goals and open communication are
So, don't sweat it too much! We can overcome these challenges with
determination, skill, and teamwork, just like how I helped Ian master the
Psychology of Design Sprint Planning
By the bristles of the mighty Manticore, embarking on a Design Sprint Planning
journey entails understanding the psychology behind it. I shall unveil the
connection between power, engagement, interviews, and product managers in this
Firstly, harnessing the power of the team's creativity and decision-making
leads to the successful execution of big ideas in all design sprints. It is a
quest for collaboration, where each adventurer contributes their unique
expertise to develop innovative solutions. Product manager leads, guides the
crew through uncharted territories of problem-solving.
Next, engagement within the guild plays a crucial role in the step-by-step
plan of creating a fruitful design sprint template. Keeping the fellowship
motivated and focused helps to maintain a steady pace throughout the journey.
One must initiate trust-building exercises and icebreakers to solidify the
bond among participants. In this way, the team will foster a fertile ground
for generating concepts and sharing constructive feedback.
The art of conducting interviews and asking critical business questions with
stakeholders, users, and experts enlighten the path in quest planning. Through
these dialogues, the crew gathers valuable insights and perspectives, ensuring
that the team's work and final solution address the users' needs. By
understanding their desires, aspirations, and pain points, the squad will be
better equipped to create a magical user experience.
Lastly, product managers must be acutely aware of the underlying psychology
during enchanted planning. This mysterious force drives decision-making,
communication, and collaboration. By navigating these intricate dynamics,
product managers can create an environment where innovation thrives, and it
brings forth a solution that transcends all expectations.
Fear not, for in the perilous world of epic planning, understanding the
psychology that binds the approach together ensures the quest's success. May
your product managers navigate these waters with wisdom and grace, and may the
power of the team's engagement guide you to the enchanted solution your users
Ah, design sprints! In these intense five-day process, initially developed at
Google Ventures, user-centered mystic gangs tackle design problems head-on as
the sprint begins. They typically involve five stages: Understand, Sketch,
Decide, Prototype, and Test. Each stage is vital in focusing on the problems,
brainstorming solutions, making decisions, building prototypes, and testing
them with users.
How to plan and organize a successful design sprint?
To plan effective design sprints, you need to have the right mix of a clear
long term goal, a squad of diverse perspectives, a dedicated space for
collaboration (virtual or physical), and a fixed schedule for the week.
Preparing for one week is essential to set expectations by defining the big
challenge, assembling the team, testing ideas, and gathering any necessary
research or tools beforehand.
What role does a facilitator play in design sprint planning?
A facilitator is like a wizard guiding the hero's journey! They help keep the
team chipped and focused, maintain a smooth ritual, and ensure productive
discussions. A facilitator also manages time and resources, leads exercises,
and coaches the squad through the stages with a foolproof step-by-step plan.
How to choose the right challenge for a design sprint?
Selecting the proper challenge is crucial. It should be an important problem
for the business, and the competing solutions still needs to be defined.
Remember, design sprints and quests work best for exploring new ideas,
critical thinking, tackling significant challenges, or fixing poorly
performing products. The solution must have a magical potion to solve the most
essential business questions.
What tools and techniques are useful in design sprints?
There are countless tools you can use in your design sprints. Some popular
ones include sticky notes, sketch sheets, whiteboards, voting dots, and
digital tools like Trello, Mural, and Figma. Techniques, such as lightning
demos, crazy eights to sketch eight different ideas, and dot voting, will help
drive the process forward and create a productive design sprint template in
your sprint book.
How do you assess the outcomes of a design sprint?
At the end of the sprint, the team usually has a tested prototype, feedback
from users, and valuable insights. Assess the outcomes by reviewing the
feedback and determining if the prototype meets the desired goals. This will
help guide the team's future decision-making regarding the product.
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 1st 2023 (Updated - August 30th 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.