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What is Design Sprint and why does it matter?

When it comes to start-ups, it is very common for clients to not know what kind of product they want to build exactly. Although this may seem like an easy task, it can be very difficult for a complex project, especially from a non-technical person’s point of view.

What is Design Sprint?

Design Sprint is a process for answering crucial business questions by following instructions in a five-day process that involves steps such as making a map of your problem, writing a goal, rethinking and rewriting it during the process, sketching and designing available solutions, choosing the best features and methods to build a prototype later and finally test it in real-life scenarios by users. In simple words, it is a set of tools and key questions that will make you understand better the problem you’re facing and help you in creating a solution to it.

The principle behind Design Sprint is simple: getting started is more than important than being right. You select your dream team, clear your schedules, and start designing and testing solutions all in one week. The goal of the sprint process is to convert vague ideas of “what’s wrong” and “will feature X fix it?” into proper and perfect solutions you can actually test with your target users.

Why the Design Sprint is the hero you need

Design Sprint is a poor choice for generating useful solutions. The top reasons you should use the Design Sprint approach are:

  • Group work and individual work can peacefully and productively coexist in sprints. Structured, timed exercises to encourage diverse perspectives and developed ideas (with minimal distractions).

  • You get a tangible, repeatable problem-solving process that you can use at will to push your business ideas forward.

  • Getting real feedback from your target users means you can champion design based on data, rather than bias or intuition.

  • You can secure buy-in from stakeholders from the beginning, before investing lots of time and money.

  • You walk away with a prototyped, tested solution.

How exactly does the Design Sprint work?

  • The user is king. The overall design sprint process is user-centered. It builds products and services based on a proper understanding of the user’s wants and needs and asks for opinions and validation directly from them towards the end of the sprint.

  • Considers all perspectives. Design Sprints gather all important people in one place. This means that there’s less bureaucracy in the organisation because the process facilitates cross-team collaboration.

  • It’s efficient and effective. A sprint cuts out all inefficiencies and ineffective discussions. It helps to avoid time-taking pointless discussions, hence leaving you with little time to get anything done. A five-day sprint forces you and your team to focus and work towards something realistic by the end of the week.

  • Manages your stakeholder expectations. There is clear visibility and alignment from everyone on Day 1. Getting your stakeholders’ offers early on and throughout the sprint, discussions build trust and respect between all the effective participants.

  • Learn fast, fail fast. The sprint helps to obtain a clear vision of the goals at the beginning itself. It forces you to make critical decisions and solve complex problems quickly. This means that you and your team can save months of design, engineering, and development costs. You’ll be able to get your product to sell faster because you are focused on the correct approach.

Design sprints address the problems of brainstorming sessions with tightly structured exercises that generate the best ideas from your team members. You’ll work independently to generate and deliberate on your best ideas and then converge on the best approach with a process of silent voting. At key points in the process, the Decider — a senior leader on the team — makes the crucial decisions, but he or she does so only after considering all opinions of the team.

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