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What Design Sprint can and can't do for you

Design sprints were born out of Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc. They were initially developed to help start-ups address the different challenges they faced, most importantly, the business challenges.

“The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers.”

Google has created a highly structured five-day process, using this concept of Design Sprint, with activities defined for every day. A typical design sprint functions like this:

  • Monday: The group works with experts from across the company, which would help to identify the ultimate goal of the sprint and map out the challenge for the week. It is important to identify the problem clearly.

  • Tuesday: The team starts exploring several different solutions by looking at sources of inspiration and making various approaches that they could take.

  • Wednesday: The group looks at the solutions explored on Tuesday and decides which ones have the best chance of fulfilling the target for the week. The team then expands those sketched solutions into storyboards.

  • Thursday: The group turns the storyboards into a working prototype designed to mimic the final approach and have it ready for testing.

  • Friday: The final prototype is shown to prospective users and its viability is tested.

The Benefits of Design Sprint

  • Simple solutions to complex business challenges. The main reason to conduct the sprint is to find all pain points and convert them into valuable solutions. Along with effective communication, it empowers contributors to share ideas, risks and doubts that can affect the final results.

  • Speed. Management and slow processes are often seen as the inseparable part of scaling a business, so definitely speed is the vital topic on the table. The sprint itself is meant to be short and agile, as it is easily adapted to the complexity of a project. It speeds up new product discovery.

  • Smaller Risk. The process produces a prototype, within just a couple of days. In this way, you can minimise risk by reducing time and budget on validating your ideas. Remember, the faster you prototype, the faster you can validate your idea with investors, customers, and other stakeholders. That gives you extra time for improvements or changes in case of failure.

  • Efficient collaboration. Product Design Sprints foster collaboration with varied groups of people, with different skillsets. A multidisciplinary team works together and each voice is heard and considered equally important. In the Sprint, there is no time for a lack of organisation and inefficient discussions. As a result, you save time, money, and stress. 

  • Services validated by customers. Nowadays companies don’t understand the value of the user-centered approach. This often leads to misunderstandings and forgetting of market needs. However, an important part of this process is listening, trust, and building good relationships with users. This approach builds products from a user’s perspective and with the needs that they want to fulfill in mind. 

When does a Design Sprint Fail?

  • When there isn’t enough information upfront to effectively inform the solution.

  • When it isn’t a product design problem

  • When an effective prototype can’t be produced in a day

Though there are some disadvantages to using Design Sprints, some of them do strike a mark. A company could be falling, whether or not a Design Sprint is applied. However, Design Sprint is quite an effective process for bringing up the company and expanding the marketing process extensively.

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