Why run a design sprint.

Why run a design sprint? The short answer is simple.

Design sprints help teams validate or invalidate ideas, fast and early on in the design process. Sprints saves businesses the hustle of time, managing decision making and risk.

Design sprints are a great shortcut to gather qualitative feedback from customers fast using real prototypes. This approach works for any type of product, physical and digital products even business models and strategy.

The 5-day Google design print process from Google ventures has proved a better way of working as teams and to collaborate effectively. This allows teams that adopt the design sprint in their product design process, to take out better products faster than the competition.

In most waterfall environments (non-agile teams) the idea of getting new ideas signed off is an agonizing process. This can take months with a lot of back and forth meetings, talking about the product and not moving forward.

Why run a design sprint

Got to market with better products faster.

Taking more than 6-8 months to launch an MVP kills the momentum of the project, and promotes an environment of uninformed business decisions and requirements. This unnecessarily prolongs the launch of products and it is difficult to align teams on what they are trying to solve. In the long run, teams change and people move to different positions and other opportunities.

The design sprint focusses on solving one big problem within the course of the week, it is a highly collaborative and time boxed process that pushes the sprint team to answer the key questions with actionable and tangible results. The outcomes of the design sprint allow teams to make a case for their solution to help get stakeholder buy-in faster, before committing to huge design and development budget.

Other than the 5-day design sprint from the book SPRINT, the design sprint can be done in four days as well as 3 days. This allows managing stakeholder schedules and time spent in the room, as well as the budget and scope of the problem. I have experience running all 3 types of the design sprint, even though the 3-day design sprint is not so familiar in the global market let alone in South Africa. I still found it effective and fitting in agile cases.

In today’s market getting a working minimum viable product (MVP) helps businesses beat the competition to get to the market. The design sprint is a great recipe to cut the BS and keep moving fast and take out test products. If integrated into the product development process, sprints can help teams take out better products and new features faster and use this as part of an iteration process to improve products.

In the competitive digital market today, businesses do not have the privilege to work on o product for a whole year without realizing anything, a lot of things can change in tech.

Align teams and move faster with decision making.

All major companies in the world are running design sprints. Google, Uber, Amazon, Apple… simply because it works. The process uses methodologies from design thinking and lean startup methodology. However, sprints are designed to get teams to make better decisions and come up with a prototype tested by real users in just one week.

In much traditional product or innovation design processes, there is a lot of misalignment of teams and stakeholders working on a product or project. Because of people working in silos and only sharing when they have something they think is solid to show, causes a lot of back and forth to get approvals.  After some time teams may even start to forget who and what they are solving for. Running design sprints help teams align by placing all the key stakeholders in one room and focus on solving one big problem together in just a week.

Are you a South African company running design sprints or a digital agency offering design sprints as a service or are you interested in running design sprints?

Author avatar
Varima Henry

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