Wojciech Miśta - Content Writer

What is Design Sprint and why does your company need it?

by  Wojciech Miśta

What is Design Sprint and why does your company need it?

What is Design Sprint and why does your company need it?

It is very common for clients to not know what kind of product they want to build exactly, especially when it comes to start-ups. At Naturaily, clients often contact us, but can’t really rewrite the idea that is stuck in their mind onto a piece of paper.

Although this may seem like an easy task, in fact, it can be very difficult for a complex project, especially from a non-technical person’s point of view. This is one of the reasons why we’ve started doing workshops based on Design Sprint methodology.

Sometimes clients contacting us have a general idea of a product or issue they’ve been facing but don’t know how to find the best solution. For instance, one of our clients wanted to help people in Africa, but couldn’t really say how. Through the Design Sprint process, he came to the conclusion that creating an online platform dedicated to collective work projects is the best option.

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.

During the workshops, you need to focus on your company and its future. Usually, we ask questions that are supposed to make you think from different perspectives about the problem. Here are some samples:

“What will make this project a success?” “What’s our unique advantage or opportunity?” “What’s the biggest risk?” “How do you see your product in 5 years?”

At first glance, they seem a bit silly, but take a moment to deeply contemplate them and try to think of an answer. It’s difficult, isn’t it? This is why Design Sprint workshops exist, they will help you give realistic answers to these key business questions and many others.

How did it all start?

Design sprints have been refined by Google Ventures. The idea behind five-phase sprints is based on design thinking and it was created to reduce the risk of bringing a new product to the market. The history behind the whole concept of Sprints is presented very nicely in a book written by Design Partner at GV Jake Knapp, titled Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days.

It’s a must-have for every entrepreneur and start-uper. Jake describes first attempts at creating the whole five-day process - from chatting during a coffee break, through making a plan of the project, to creating a final working prototype.

How will my company benefit from using Design Sprint?

Sprint can get you out of a challenging situation in just five days. After this process, you’ll end up with useful knowledge and hopefully a solution to your problem. You don’t lose lots of time by taking a part in Design Sprint workshops and it can make an excellent kickoff to your challenge.

Working with a team full of experienced people will let you get different perspectives on the problem you are facing. They will work with you to understand the challenge and pick which parts to focus on. The team can take a fresh look at the topic and after extensive five-day analysis point you in the right direction. In fact, they will be ones critiquing ideas, sketching possible solutions, building the prototype, and getting and analyzing feedback from customers. This leads us to the next point.

In exchange for the short amount of your time, you’re going to get a lot - a realistic prototype - possibly a solution to your challenge. It allows you to quickly verify your idea with users in real life scenarios. You can see if it’s the kind of solution you want to achieve and if not, you’ll know what to avoid in the future. Remember that people in corporations with decisive roles tend not to enjoy customer tests, but they all love quick results ;).

Using Design Sprint can get you out of a challenging situation.

A big problem requires a lot of money and time. Before using all available resources, it is a good idea to test your idea in microscale. This will prevent you from making a huge and costly mistake.

Not enough time - Deadlines are the worst, right? The best thing about Design Sprint is that the whole process takes only five days. It is a perfect method if you need solutions as soon as possible.

Stuck - Some projects and challenges are very difficult to start. Sometimes all you need is a fresh idea that would just kickstart the problem-solving. Workshops let you work with a team of experts and other people experienced in various fields. They will give you their feedback about your project which can be very helpful in boosting its momentum.

Resources: Jake Knapp | Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days