October 27, 2022

How do we use design sprints?

A design sprint is an important workshop involved in the design process. Find out how to do and use design sprints for your own work in this blog!

A design sprint is a five-day design process with the goal of creating, building, and testing ideas or products quickly. To effectively use design prints, you should follow the following steps: 1) Take the time, space, and people to do it, 2) Understand the goal, 3) Draw up and assess initial solutions, 4) Make the storyboard, 5) Design and build the prototype, and 6) Test for validity and efficiency.

If you've ever had a creative idea, then you know that sometimes it's easy to persuade yourself that your great idea is as good as it can get, especially if you're under pressure to move on to the next project. This can end up with no progress, or even frustrated clients and team members who aren't impressed with your lackluster work.

This is where the use of design sprints becomes necessary and beneficial. A design sprint, simply put, is a five-day process where you will rapidly address your customer's needs by ideating a viable solution and building a prototype for testing. There are five steps in an efficient design sprint, and each phase of the process has a focus and function. They should be followed in order, such that the final product is something you, the stakeholders, and your team can be proud of.

1. Take the time, space, and people to do it.

Before jumping into the actual process, you should first give space and time so that all participants are fully focused on the problem at hand. Design sprints can only happen if you're able to shut out the noise of your regular routines, and it also takes a lot of coordination. You need everyone to be on board and committed to making the time for it. Simply put, you have to have the right people involved gathered in one room solely to focus on solving the problem at hand.

2. Understand the problem.

Proceeding to the actual process, the first step is to know and understand a problem that you or a person, group of people, or organization want to solve. It might be a project that a team has been trying to work on for months, or it could be a brand-new idea that's just popped into someone's head. Consider the situation carefully, ask questions, and unpack your assumptions before you begin the sprint.

Regardless of the origin, it's important to make sure everyone involved understands why this project is important and what problem they are trying to solve. What do you want to know if it's solved? What impact do you want your solution to have on the people who use it? These are some of the questions to ponder when discussing your goals.

3. Draw up and assess initial solutions.

The next step in using the design sprint is to generate initial solutions. It is highly recommended to get input from many different viewpoints throughout this stage. This way, you can develop ideas that are well supported by multiple people who will be responsible for implementing the solution later on. To do this, you should rapidly sketch out as many ideas as possible (without judgement) so a wide range of possibilities can be generated. At this stage, there are no bad ideas. Keep your sketchbooks open and bring them everywhere.

Then, you may want to break into small groups and discuss your solutions with each other or go around in a circle, so everyone has a chance to voice their opinion. When you've come up with a few solid solutions, it's time to evaluate them and pick the best one out of all of them. From then on, you will now be ready to make the storyboard.

4. Make the storyboard.

It's not always easy for people to think about the product in the abstract. By creating a storyboard, you're making it more concrete and easier to understand. The storyboard is a visual representation of how you want your final product to look and function. With it, you can show people in your internal stakeholder group what the general flow of your product is and get feedback on it.

To create a storyboard, you'll need sketches, drawings, and possibly wireframes to begin with. You might also want to add the necessary details for your product or service, such as the objectives, the recipients, and the constraints and assumptions of this project.

5. Design and build the prototype.

When your group has completed the storyboard for your design challenge, it's time to brainstorm what elements you're going to need for prototyping and testing.

The first thing we do is map out all of the information that will be needed throughout the prototype and test phases of the sprint. This is where you'll need to decide how much detail you want in your prototype and whether it will be more hands-on or remote. Typically, you can create something fairly simple that can be used for testing without too much setup time by the user but also have a few options for making it look more visually appealing if necessary. Don't forget to divide up responsibilities among team members according to their expertise.

Finally, with these initial pieces of the design sprint process put together, you can start building out an actual prototype and test it for its validity and efficiency.

6. Test for validity and efficiency.

The last step before putting your product or service out there in the public, you need to test your prototype for validity and efficiency. In fact, you should keep testing your prototype until you find something that you can use in your final design. If it's not working, you need to go back to the drawing board and work on a new idea. If it is working, then you can move forward with confidence that your idea is sound and that your plan will work. Don't rush through this step—you'll thank yourself later on, because doing a test run of the prototype early on will save you time and money down the road.

As a final note, make sure to use light sourcing and user testing before meeting again to discuss improvements and add them into your final product. After all, it is important to get immediate feedback on whether your prototype meets your user’s needs—and make any necessary changes accordingly.

Design sprints can be a useful tool for any team, especially for those teams that need to work fast but still want to try new concepts or build completely new products. Use design sprints when you want to work on a whole new product or idea, or to quickly come up with solutions to problems. This tool will help create a sense of urgency while also using all the resources available to you.

Remember, it will be more efficient to use them before implementing a new system, because it will determine the viability of the solution before you spend time and money implementing it.