#08 Design Sprint: Is it worth the time and money?
The answer is almost always YES.
Read time: under 4 minutes
A design sprint is without a doubt, the fastest and cheapest way to validate business strategies or test product ideas with real users. It relies on a consecutive row of workshops that supports co-creation and empowerment.
How many times have you heard someone from management say, "Let's be more efficient!" or "Let's innovate!" without knowing how to go about doing so? Well, a design sprint encourages a 'start doing' attitude.
Here are a few scenarios where a design sprint approach might be the most effective framework to choose:
Setting direction on a new project
Establishing an initial process
Aligning your team around a product or vision
Gaining speed, efficiency, and focus
Reducing the risk of failures
Why do a design sprint?
Design sprints will help you understand essential areas to focus on, ideate solutions, turn your ideas into a testable hypothesis, make a prototype and get feedback from real users.
I’ve run 20+ sprints at work and as a consultant. The number one thing I hear is “Wow! We got a lot done”. It’s rare that stakeholders can really focus on a specific problem/solution without distractions. Getting people into the same room for hours or days can really move the ball forward.
Inexperience teams especially love this because it gives them a step-by-step formula that brings them from a problem to a solution with real-user feedback. They get a taste of design thinking methodologies with meeting principles that focus on moving forward.
You can squeeze months of work into weeks (or less).
Here’s a statistic to back up my claim. According to IBM, design thinking research can lead to a 75% reduction in design & delivery time, often reducing an 8-month project to 3-4 months.
A few not-so-pleasant scenarios can happen if you decide to ignore the importance of design sprints.
Investing too much time and money in ideas and products without validating user needs
Making decisions without understanding user preferences and behaviours
Wasting resources on features that don’t get used
Missing opportunities to gain competitive advantage
Developing products with poor user experience
Having an ineffective team collaboration
Taking longer to get to market
Siloed teams and gaps in collaboration knowledge
Unsuccessful product launches due to lack of user testing
All you need to know
The amount of work that can be accomplished during a design sprint is incredible. You’ll be amazed at how productive your team can be when they have a good sprint structure to guide them.
Focus on the big 3. Ask questions, jot things down and mind the clock
Trust the process
Get people to commit to the sprint in advance or don’t do the sprint at all
Consent is key
Write names on the board
Know that it’s natural to be nervous but try your best to project confidence
Give positive feedback
Being a good facilitator requires a balance of patience and impatience, confidence and humility
Take regular breaks
You don’t have to be perfect. Learn from the process and make the next sprint better
Here are some best practices for designing your Design Sprint slides:
Avoid slides with a lot of text
Create title pages before diving into each exercise
Include concise bullet points as instructions
Be explicit about the timing for each exercise
Show examples of a desired output for each exercise
Use large font sizes
Include plenty of white space
Use color to highlight key points
Keep design elements to a minimum
Use visual aids only when appropriate
Limit transitions and animations in presentation, if needed use subtle animations
If you’re interested in trying out a design sprint for the first time, I recommend you do your homework by reading our Design Sprint freebie.
Whether for research, marketing, growth design, branding, strategy, or any other disciplines related to building a product or exploring new markets, the design sprint method is acknowledged as a viable, efficient, and cost-saving research option.
Considering that design sprints help you reduce risk, offer a more efficient process to validate ideas, remove traditional convictions and accelerate innovation, you can’t afford to try this method.
Want to learn more?
If you're interested in running this play to have better Design Sprints, join designers from 40+ countries using UX Playbook. Get detailed step-by-step guides and templates to supercharge your UX process.
I hope you found this helpful.
See ya next week