Design Sprints: a quicker and easier way to solve your problem
In March, Febiac did a Design Sprint with the help of AUSY. The term Design Sprints is getting more and more traction in the business world, and there’s a good reason for that. What is a Design Sprint, why is it often better than the traditional way of working, and what were Febiac’s experiences?
What is a Design Sprint?
Our business consultant Joni is happy to explain: “A Design Sprint is an efficient way to validate a certain solution in a short period of time. It’s an alternative to the traditional, problem solving way of thinking. Think of it as solving a puzzle: using the traditional approach, most companies take weeks to make all the pieces fit. With the help of a Design Sprint, you already get to see the entire solution on day 2.”
“Even though it’s a relatively short process, there’s no reason to be stressed or frustrated,” Joni tells us. “Think of it as a team building in which you work towards a common goal.”
Solving the puzzle
“The Design Sprint is interesting because it differs so much from your regular working environment. You put aside your daily job and routine for a while and you focus on the Design Sprint without any distractions.” - Pascal (Febiac)
The goal is to solve a problem in 4 days. What will you do in those 4 days?
- Define a goal in agreement with the stakeholders
- Define a solution in group
- Decide on the solution you will be testing
- Outline this solution
- Real users will evaluate your solution
Joni: “By applying your entire team to the process during those 4 days, you will get the best results possible.”
“On the first day, everyone has a different idea and a different vision. But while working together, all the pieces of the puzzle fit and you’ll see the bigger picture.”
“I mainly use techniques such as Challenge mapping or the How might we…-method,” Joni tells us. “I apply these techniques while listing or refining opportunities as a team. For this to work, we first have to transform those aspects described by the group as barring into opportunities. We do this by talking about these aspects and by looking at the different perspectives.”
“Afterwards, everyone in the group writes down different opportunities on a post-it. These post-its are put together and clarified. Everyone gets to vote. In this way, we define the group’s priorities,” Joni explains.
Joni: “We end day 1 with a few remaining top solutions. On day 2, we start by choosing on which solution we want to build our project. The group has a clear image of their goal by now. The rest of the day, they will sketch designs interactively.”
Day 3 and 4
Joni: “Day 3 and 4 are a bit more relaxed than the first 2 days. On day 3, the different sketches are poured into a tangible prototype, and on day 4 this prototype is tested by a group of users.”
The entire process is time sensitive. Joni explains: “One of my most important tasks is keeping track of the time. The timing is strict, but not binding. If I notice that the group needs an extra 5 minutes on a specific exercise, I will definitely let them have it. Throughout the process, I give the group tips. I help them where needed.”
Febiac’s Design Sprint
How did Febiac’s team experience the Design Sprint? We were curious to hear their opinion.
Have you ever done a Design Sprint before?
Pascal: “We were already familiar with the concept. We’ve done something similar before, but the Design Sprint guided by Joni was better structured. It’s important to go through the process step by step.”
Was your Design Sprint successful?
Dieter: “Definitely. The Design Sprint saved us a lot of time, and helped us to get a clear and practical solution.”
“The guidance is very important in this process,” says Dieter. “To make your Design Sprint successful, you need Joni’s knowledge and supervision. It’s crucial to know how to plan, think and lead.”
Pascal: “The mock-up also proved very useful. You develop a clear sight of what you want to create as a company, in a time saving and cost effective way. I definitely think the Design Sprint was a success.”
Why would you recommend Design Sprints to other companies?
“It’s the perfect mix of ingredients,” explains Dieter. “You move from idea to prototype in just 4 days, and you do it in a cost effective manner. We used the Design Sprint for a digital product, but it can also be used for IT products, or even tangible products.”
What advice would you give to other companies that are planning a Design Sprint?
Dieter: “Everyone should stick to the plan. You’ll get an agenda and you’ll get rules, make sure everyone follows them. If you follow the planning, the Design Sprint will definitely be successful.”
“Team spirit is also very important,” Pascal adds. “Make sure everyone in your team voices their opinion. It’s important to encourage your teammates to speak up. It’s the different visions that help you succeed.”
Would you do another Design Sprint with AUSY?
Pieter: “Definitely. Joni’s guidance, along with the experts AUSY provided us with, helps you tackle your challenge in the best way possible.”
That’s some great feedback for Joni!
Joni: “I think it’s great that Febiac’s really understood the essence of a Design Sprint: let a third party help you with your problem.”
“My tip for the readers of this article? Sometimes, your team will get stuck. You stop moving forward and you don’t know what to do next. At this point, you should involve other, external experts. They will help you get your clear view back.”