This article is about the design sprint methodology. It explains what a design sprint is, how it works, and why it is essential for businesses in 2022.
The design sprint methodology is a five-phase plan. It aims at fixing long-term goals and solving big problems by setting up a design sprint process. The process helps in launching the product, service, or software in the market with minimal risks. Most of the time, a design sprint is used one of the 9 stages of mobile app development.
Through a streamlined sprint design, addressing strategic issues through rapid prototyping and usability testing can be resolved.
Jake Knapp of Google Ventures is the creator of Sprint. His most recent collaboration was with the renowned John Zeratsky. They authored Make Time, a manifesto that guides in redesigning an individual’s day & making it even more productive.
The study injected in the manifesto was not just information collected from the internet but was Zeratsky and Knapp’s experience.
What is a Design Sprint?
As per Jake Knapp’s book “How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”, a design sprint is defined as the ‘greatest hits’ of business strategy, innovation, behavioral science, and more — packaged into a step-by-step process that any team can use.
A design sprint helps an organization roll out the product or service for its consumers as soon as possible. It is often used in app development. Ultimately, it is regarded as the greatest tool for creating hypotheses in a real environment by investing the minutest resources.
With the help of a design sprint, long-term debates are cut short & months are compressed into weeks.
The Sprint Team
Teamwork helps in crossing obstacles readily. It becomes easier to get multiple considerations in generating a notion, prototyping scenario, user testing phase, and a lot more. Before you run a sprint, mustering a small team becomes vital.
A sprint team, usually, comprises project heads/managers, UX design experts, researchers, and engineers. Everyone has a role to play in building the product. Here’s the interesting cut- you can involve anyone outside your team. It means outsourcing a resource on a part-time or full-time basis.
For example, if you need a UX designer and you cannot find one, outsourcing a UX designer isn’t a bad idea. Many part-time resources provide worthy notions that simplify reaching the goal.
Also, there are some objectives of a good sprint team. When these objectives are combined together, accomplishing the benchmark becomes easy.
- Analyzing the workability of a prospective idea
- Identifying the accurate features of a product
- Redesigning a particular feature of a product
- Crafting an effective MVP roadmap
- Kickstarting the project
- Figuring out accurate ways to engage the audience
The 6 Gates
Design sprint, as we discussed previously, is a multi-staged process. The procedure goes through 6 stages described below:
UNDERSTAND: This phase is all about understanding the goals of the business, possible hurdles & how to counter them, technical feasibility, user needs, and the target market.
DEFINE: The stage of defining elaborates the prominent features of the product. In this stage, the team discussions are usually about the positioning, customer journey plan, and metrics related to the product.
DIVERGE: The stage of separation is fun. All team players brainstorm the prospective loopholes that distort the smooth functionality and come up with a solution. Considering the relevant lightning demos, even from competitors, streamlining the project and fixing potential risks become simplified.
DECIDE: Soon after analyzing prospective loopholes & suitable solution(s), the sprint team must upvote the best notion. Every participant must proactively share all insights while running a design sprint.
PROTOTYPE: Prototyping is part of design sprinting where the team creates wireframes and mockups. These are deliverables for further testing.
VALIDATION: The target audience uses the product/software and based on their feedback, improvizations are integrated to offer a seamless user experience.
Case Study of Oak
Let’s take a look at the case study of Oak. It is a meditation app that was created in 2017. The design sprint process of Oak involved a small team for solving big problems collectively.
The core functionality of Oak included meditation sessions for users. They can meditate as per the instructions stated in the app & track their progress.
But how everything was chalked out related to the creation of Oak? Down below is the list of step processes that were followed:
Video Call Remote Expert Interview
The sprint team & client connected via video call where the client ‘interviewed’ the team. Gaining an understanding of the team’s expertise in technical skills, project knowledge, etc., was essential for the client.
Prepping up Questions for the Sprint
Preparing questions for setting up the weekly goal is vital before creating a sprint for a product or service. Weekly target(s), demos, and others were some categories listed for setting up questions. The sprint team created a questionnaire, as per the discussion with the client, about a rough wireframe of the Oak mobile app.
The demo for the application was created based on the theme of the application. Since the client desired a not-so-Japanese theme touch in the app’s UI, the designer integrated the UI with a Japanese theme. Hence, the demo was created as you are seeing in the image below.
It was the client who presented a couple of preferences that he was willing the sprint team to inject into the design. Soon after creating the lightning demos, initial concepts were created for UX designing.
Time to Vote
Once the concepts were finalized, they were forwarded to the client for approval for the appearance of the app on the mobile screen. A lot of images and videos of the app were shared with the client.
The client added that drawing the concept screen on illustrator would breathe life into the mobile app. Without a delay, the team executed the task smoothly.
Advancing towards the 1st part of the final phase, the team proceeded with the prototyping of the Oak app. Everything was mustered, right from the client’s inputs to team creativity, for pushing the design in the right direction.
Figma was the choice of designers for conceiving designs and converting them into realistic graphics.
Feedback & Add-Ons
The feedback was awaited by the entire sprint team. The hard work put in collectively brought appreciation to the team. The client suggested some add-ons for the mobile app that included some health-related factors. The design team integrated those templates accordingly.
In a design sprint, there’s nothing to lose. The team either wins or learns something new because of so many think tanks collaborating & sharing their skillset.
In a short timeframe, sprinting accelerates all meaningful insights around a product that are compiled for future planning. Hence, it gives you a chance to fail early, get the gist, and release a flawless final product in the market.