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Design sprints to innovate faster

Whether you are working at a startup or a large organization, developing the right product or service for your customer is key to your success. Given the first mover advantage in business, one cannot afford to wait until the product or service is perfected before its launch. This is why the concept of minimum viable product or MVP is crucial.

MVP is a stage in the development process of a new product or service where it is introduced in the market with just the basic features. Hopefully, these are enough to get the attention of the consumers and test the waters. The objective is to solicit feedback from consumers and incorporate these valuable insights in creating the final product. MVPs are conceived, nourished and birthed using a design sprint.

What is a design sprint? 

A design sprint is a detailed 5-day process to validate ideas and formulate solutions by prototyping and testing ideas with customer. It is called a sprint because the goal is for teams to run at full speed at a short distance or within a certain time-frame. During this period, teams are tasked to answer critical business questions and get customer feedback in a compressed amount of time leading to breakthroughs that might otherwise take months. A well-planned design sprint is full of innovation, design, testing, and iterating.

At the end of 5 days, the design sprint will enable you to gain further clarity and achieve your desired results faster.

Monday – Begin with the end in mind.

Monday paves the way and sets the direction for the sprint week. A goal is set and targeted by everyone in the team. There is clear visibility and alignment from everyone on day 1. The team’s early buy-in and involvement build trust and respect between all parties.

Tuesday – Ideate solutions.

When the Why is clear, the How is easy.  Once the objectives have been mapped out and priorities set in place, teams brainstorm and are forced to create solutions. Research from competitors and examples of existing products are welcomed and serve as spring-board for new solutions. This process facilitates collaboration among team members that improve accountability.

Wednesday – Choose an idea.

Amongst all the solutions presented, the next step is to reach a consensus on what to be carried out.

To build on the momentum, it is important to take a step forward and make a decision which of the solutions have the best chance of achieving the long-term goal.

Thursday – Create a prototype.

Once the storyboard has been drawn out, the entire day is devoted to building the prototype. The mindset on this stage is to gain a lot of progress than perfection. The prototype is repeatedly tested to enable rapid adoption of change and align all key teams and people. It is better to change a design than a finished product.

Friday – Test the prototype.

By this time, the team has created promising solutions, chosen the best, and already built a realistic prototype on an impressively productive week. However, it does not stop there. It is time to let the customers use the prototype. The team has to interview customers and learn by watching them react to your prototype. This test makes the entire sprint worthwhile. At the end of the day, you’ll know how far you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.

Conclusion

  • The entire design sprint process revolves around the customer. Products and services are built on a solid understanding of the customer’s wants and needs and continuously improved from their feedback and validation at the end of the sprint.
  • It is efficient and effective. A 5- day sprint forces the team to focus and work towards an output by the end of the week. Moreover, teams learn fast and fail fast because the design sprint provides real time feedback that forces the team to make critical decisions and solve complex problems fast.

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