People often ask me how exactly a Google Design Sprint can benefit them and what tangible outcomes it produces. I will now explain the benefits of locking you and your team up in a meeting room for four days to solve financially important challenges.
A common goal and team spirit
The Google Design Sprint, in its nature, is a tool for problem solving. The process of the Sprint is as important to me as the outcome. Bringing your team together for four days to find solutions to a strategic challenge, create new ideas and implement one or several of them, followed by testing: all of this revives the team spirit and helps focus on the common goal. I have received feedback about my Sprints saying that they help strengthen team cohesion, make unified decisions on products and developments, and raise a team’s energy levels to allow them to better tackle projects.
But aside from having a good time as a team, what is the tangible outcome of a Sprint? In addition to answers to the most urgent of strategical challenges, I propose the following as a Sprint’s outcome.
A realistic prototype
On the third day of a four-day Design Sprint, the team will have created a prototype that will then be tested on real end-users on the following day. Depending on your business, this prototype can be the concept for a new webpage, an app or a product. This product can be made in Figma, inVision, Axure, XD or any other prototype software. If your product is not physical, the outcome could be a value offer and a marketing slogan for it – a presentation or an introduction to your product. It all depends on what aspect of your product you wish to test and the hypothesis you wish to validate with your customers. One of my latest Sprints created a new prototype for joining X-tee. Or a web-service concept for a new startup.
Sometimes people mistake prototypes for MVPs or Minimal Viable Products. While a prototype is a good starting point, it usually doesn’t have a very long life expectancy and a proper MVP requires more time in programming than a four-day Sprint allows for. In addition, a Sprint most likely won’t deliver a final prototype that is immediately development-ready. My experience has shown that teams tend to work on user feedback after the Sprint, organise mini-Sprints and do more testing before the final prototype hits development.
Outcomes of prototype testing.
On the fourth day of the Design Sprint, the prototype will be tested, earning your team the knowledge of whether it works, as well as an overview of how your customer utilises the product, what they think and how they behave. Customer interviews conducted during testing also present the opportunity to better understand end-user hopes and problems. Testing is usually concluded by a video of the product being tested in real-time, as well as a conclusion by me as the organiser of the Sprint, which can also be found in the Sprint documents in written format.
A concept of thoughts and ideas
Many post-it notes are used during the four days of the Sprint. In order to preserve all the ideas thrown around during the Sprint, you will receive pictures of all completed tasks and brainstorms. Some companies request a more detailed overview of the notes and ideas that were thrown around during brainstorming. Usually, this is agreed on before the Sprint. These notes provide good inspiration in the case that your team continues working on the project, and also helps onboard new members that may be added to the team.
Summary report of the Design Sprint.
In addition to gathering the ideas born during the Sprint, we compile a summary report of the four days, which can be useful reading for people who didn’t participate in the Sprint. The format and information contained in the report is up to the needs of the Sprinting company. Most often, I am asked to compile a short overview of the four days: what was done and achieved on each day, in addition to the prototype and results of its testing, as well as the steps that the team plans to take after the Sprint. These reports are useful for sharing information inside the company and between leaders, decision makers and colleagues.
The Sprint demands time and energy from its participants, which is why it’s important that they feel that their work has had a tangible result, meaning that the project will be continued and that their contribution has had an impact on the company. This is why planning the steps to take after the Sprint is an important part of the process. The Sprint is only the beginning.
You can read more Design Sprint case studies by clicking here.