Why I love the Design Sprint
Last year, when we began the work of re-designing the Blue Bottle Coffee website, we went out to San Francisco for a five-day Design Sprint being run by the team at Google Ventures. We didn’t know it at the time, but this session would have a profound impact on our work going forward. Since then, we have hosted a Design Sprint for four other clients, and have found the exercise to be invaluable. Here are the basics about the Design Sprint process, and the reasons we love it.
More and more of our projects arrive in the studio without concrete definition — which we’re really happy about. This allows us to work alongside a client to better define the vision, and to test assumptions we all hold about how people will ultimately interact with it. The challenge of defining the work — and even on a simpler level, choosing what to build first — is usually handled with some combination of Kickoff meeting, User Story session, and Thinking Really Hard about the Strategy. In some cases, we’d even pitch an initial “Discovery” phase that was purpose-built to better scope out the final deliverable. Though all of these tasks can be fruitful, they often left us feeling like the choices made were obvious, the same people spoke the whole time, and the deliverable we ended up “defining” still remained vague. There wasn’t enough good meat — we often had a lot more to discover after the Discovery.
The Design Sprint, and its purpose, is different. We now have an end goal that is clear and a process that is consistent (and fun, to boot).
The goal of a Design Sprint is to validate assumptions and provide a clear path forward. To accomplish this, we run through the steps of a Sprint over five consecutive days.
The steps look like this: