Design Sprint for Any Team
Inspired by Google’s design sprint process, this workshop provides a structure that teams can use to rapidly prototype and test new ideas. Use this workshop to rapidly ideate, prototype and try out a new concept and practice working creatively and quickly with your team.
Make sure you start this tool with a clear understanding of what challenge or problem you want to solve.
This rapid prototyping process has been adapted from Google’s superb Sprint book. Credit goes to Jake Knapp and the team at Google Ventures for designing this excellent process. If you want more detail on any of the sections, we recommend buying the book.
We’ve written this tool to provide a little more flexibility, as the full Sprint process calls for 5 full days.
There are 7 sections to the sprint process. Each one has a time percentage assigned to it. However much time you have to run this prototyping sprint (4 hours or 4 days), try to divide it according to those percentages:
Map – 10%
Target – 10%
Sketch – 20%
Decide – 10%
Storyboard – 10%
Prototype – 20%
Test – 20%
We recommend carving out at least half a day for a condensed version of this process.
Make sure you have a quiet and flexible space to work from, and that the team is committed to the prototyping process.
We suggest you read through the whole process before planning it with your team. There are quite a few steps and it pays to be prepared.
Section 1 is a Map where you will create a visual representation of the challenge you’re tackling, or the thing that you want to change. It might be a specific user experience, a product, or a service. Find a wall or large whiteboard and write all this up clear and large.
First, write yourselves a brief and set yourselves a goal.
- What is the challenge you’re addressing with this sprint?
- What do you want to get out of the sprint?
- What is it you think you’d like to prototype?
Next write a series of sprint questions. These add some detail to the brief and the goal.
- What are the elements that you’re trying to explore within the main challenge?
- What are you curious to find out?
- What would you love to know more about?
Finally make a map of how the challenge you’re tackling is currently tackled in your team. Start with the challenge at the left, and move across to the goal on the right. Use post-its and boxes and arrows to bring it to life.
Section 2 is Targeting. You’ll talk to up to 5 experts about your challenge and note down insights that they have. Make sure that you get a range of people who can bring different perspectives.
Spend about 30 minutes with each expert, ask them to give their take on your brief for 10-15 minutes. Then spend 10-15 minutes asking them questions.
When noting down their insights, phrase your notes as “How might we…?” questions, writing one per post-it. Like:
- How might we engage people better on social media?
- How might we use new tech to improve the service?
- How might we stay true to our purpose?
After you’ve spoken to all of your experts post all of the questions on a wall. Cluster them into groups.
Through an open discussion you now need to decide on a focus area for your prototype. Use the clustered questions and your work so far to decide.
You might end up choosing to prototype the whole of your challenge area, or just a section of it. Make sure, at the end of this step that you know exactly what you’re going to make.
If you don’t have time to talk to 5 experts in person, you could bring in opinions and insights through text, videos, or expert articles.
Section 3 is Sketching. You’ll work individually to come up with solutions to your challenge.
Start by sharing 2-3 examples each of other products and services that already solve this challenge well. Share them on a screen or your phones and write the examples up on the wall.
Now it’s time to sketch some solutions individually. Everyone should take some paper and a pen and walk around the room looking at everything you’ve captured so far, writing notes on whatever comes to mind.
Next, start to draw solutions, try to come up with at least 8 different ones, per person. Put as much detail into them as you can.
Finally pick one of your solutions and sketch an even more detailed version of it. Make it as clear as possible, so somebody could understand it if you weren’t there to explain it.
Put all of the detailed sketches up on a wall for the next section.
Now it’s time to Decide on a way forward. Look at all of the solutions up on the wall. Walk around them and make any comments and ask any questions that you think are necessary by sticking post-its below them.
Give each person on the team a few minutes to explain their solution, and the rest of the team a few minutes to ask questions and clarifications.
Use the Dotmocracy tool to decide on one or two solutions to take forward.
Now gather around the solutions that you picked as a group and translate them into a Storyboard. Stick 10-15 letter/A4 sheets of paper up onto the wall. These are your storyboard slides.
Take as much time as you need to map out the solution in more detail on the storyboard. Use this as an opportunity to get everyone on the same page with the idea and to made it far more richly detailed.
Time to Prototype!
You now need to make a version of the solution that you’ve storyboarded. Use whatever prototyping tools you think are useful and relevant to bringing the solution to life. Consider using tools like PopApp and Marvel.
You can spend 1 hour or 1 day doing this. Make sure you split your team up appropriately. Use everyone’s skills as much as possible.
By the end of this step you should have something that you could show to people that would at least roughly approximate the experience of whatever your solution is.
If it’s a web application then you might create a clickable prototype. If it’s an in-person service then you might design the space layout. If it’s an education experience then you might draft one of the sessions.
Make sure you pre-test your prototype before the final stage.
The final step is to Test what you’ve made. Get some people from inside or outside your company to act as willing test subjects.
Set up a testing room where you can spend around 20 minutes with each test subject, asking them questions, taking notes, and demonstrating the prototype.
Make sure you ask open and relevant questions that will help you to get the most out of the tests. You can design these with your team, and assign the role of the interviewer to whoever is most suited amongst that team.
After you’ve conducted all of the interviews, collate the notes with the rest of the team. Look for patterns and insights that will help you to make the prototype better in subsequent iterations, and to improve the solution.
Wrap up this prototyping sprint by reflecting on the whole process with the team. Ask yourselves these questions and discuss the answers:
- How did that go?
- How well did the solution solve our brief?
- What might we do next with this work?
- How did we work together as a team?