In our Design Sprint FAQ we answer the most frequently asked questions about the method Design Sprint:
What is a Design Sprint?
When to use a Design Sprint?
What happens after a Design Sprint?
Why use a Design Sprint?
WHAT IS A DESIGN SPRINT?
A Design Sprint is a user-oriented methodology that solves problems by designing, prototyping, and testing ideas with real users. And all that before many hours of development are invested in developing an idea. The Design Sprint helps to make decisions based on validated results. Design Sprints empower and align teams towards one clearly defined goal. All this within just 5 days.
There are various Design Sprint approaches, like the Design Sprint 2.0 and the Design Sprint 3.0. And some of these approaches are one or even two days shorter. We at NEON Sprints work with a Design Sprint approach that allows us to have certain Design Sprint team members participate during the first 2 days only. Because this makes it much easier to integrate the Design Sprint into a calendar full of meetings.
Our Design Sprint process:
The result of running a Design Sprint is a tested and validated prototype, a clear approach and a team focused on the right problem. In general, we recommend going through all six phases of the Design Sprint. But there are also situations and projects where a shorter workshop using individual tools can be the right fit.
So, check out our short explanation video What is a Design Sprint? Get an OVERVIEW and SUMMARY of the process
WHEN TO USE A DESIGN SPRINT?
The Design Sprint is perfect for different challenges and can be used in different phases of a project.
Here are some situations in which a Design Sprint is useful:
- The team is stuck in a project
- An idea has to be validated quickly
- Fast progress in the development of a solution concept is required
- Quick results to show are needed
Especially if a team is stuck, running a Design Sprint is a good way to align a team towards one goal because everyone is actively involved in the progress. By running a Design Sprint, the team achieves visible progress together and team motivation increases. Further, the Design Sprint creates a common level of knowledge and all members are actively involved in the progress and solution development. As a result, the acceptance criteria and next steps for all participants during and after the Design Sprint are clear.
The Design Sprint is perfect for big challenges. And it is a great tool for testing the potential of an idea. This makes sense, for example, at the beginning of product development before investing in the development and implementation of an idea. By running a Design Sprint, the team gets feedback on an idea validated by the real user because a prototype is tested immediately with real users. So it can be said that Design Sprints are the fastest way to find out whether a product or service is worth developing.
In conclusion, using a Design Sprint is perfect when a team needs results to show. Especially, when a pitch or presentation for stakeholders is on the agenda, it is good to have user validated results. By running a Design Sprint, the whole team gets results that have been validated by testing a prototype with real users. The method is therefore ideally used at the beginning of a project. But basically, the use of a Design Sprint makes sense whenever a team needs representative results and validated answers quickly.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A DESIGN SPRINT?
The process of the Design Sprint itself is very well defined in the Design Sprint book. But what happens afterwards is often not considered enough.
The energy created in a Design Sprint is the perfect basis for the next steps in the project. But what exactly happens after running a Design Sprint depends essentially on two factors: the type of challenge the Design Sprint was used for and the outcome of the Design Sprint week.
Possible situations after running a Design Sprint:
The first stage after the Design Sprint is usually about iterating the prototype. And the basis for this iteration is the user-feedback that the team received on the Design Sprint week test day. In the next step, the entire input from the interviews is evaluated and clustered. The analysis and evaluation of the interviews represents the first step of the process and ideally takes place soon after the Design Sprint has finished.
Depending on the result of the test and the evaluation, the prototype or parts of it are then revised and adapted. In the following step, the team tests this improved prototype again. This integration process is usually less time-consuming than the first Design Sprint, since the idea and goal have already been defined. Ideally, the entire team blocks a full day for this second test. So, even after finishing the Design Sprint, it is important to continue to integrate all participants into the development process. To achieve this, we recommend creating concrete time blocks to work together on the next steps.
However, the analysis and evaluation of the user interviews of the test day may show that the concept developed in Design Sprint does not work as intended. In this case, the idea can be put on hold. And further fundamental work and preparations such as more data research or even a reformulation of the challenge are often necessary.
To sum up, what the next steps are after running a Design Sprint cannot be answered in a general way. Because it depends strongly on what the evaluation of the user interviews on the tested prototype on the last day of the Design Sprint week revealed.
WHY USE A DESIGN SPRINT?
Design Sprints are an effective tool to reduce risks when launching new products, get answers quickly and they lead to a deeper understanding of user needs and wants. Running a Design Sprint is especially useful when a team needs validated results for complex challenges. The framework contains elements from the design process, Design Thinking, and wraps them in agile values. And the result is a “best of” that can be used to solve almost any challenge.
The Design Sprint method can be used for a variety of challenges. By running a Design Sprint, validated results for a specific Design Sprint Challenge are produced within a very short time. So, the method is perfect for developing a new product or service, improving an existing one, or aligning and empowering a team. Therefore, running a Design Sprint helps by delivering validated results to a specific Design Sprint challenge within a week.
Using a Design Sprint helps you to:
- Align a team towards one goal and clarify the specific challenge
- Make effective decisions
- Get better results faster by working in what we call the “together-alone-mode” instead of brainstorming
- Develop user-centred products and services by building a prototype
- Build up a better understanding of the customer by testing the prototype with real users
- Get validated results for critical business questions
Today it is no longer enough to have a „good quality product“– you need the right product. And Design Sprints are the fastest way to find out whether a product is worth developing. Ultimately, it is a tool for answering critical business questions in record time. For example the team gets answers whether a certain feature makes the difference or whether the performance promise is really relevant for the target group.