What is a Design Sprint?

In the current volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world we inhabit, time-to-market differentiates between an engaging product that consumers did not know they wanted and one that goes unnoticed.

Our team at Obvious understands this reality. To solve this we run a five-day Sprint process which starts with a deep dive into the problem for which we create promising solutions, and then moving on to high-fidelity prototyping, identifying a representative set of actual users and getting in-depth, real-world feedback.

Why run a design sprint?

Investing months into design and engineering is only worth it if you are sure your customers will love your product. But how do you know if that will happen? Simple! You run a Design Sprint where we help you with the following:

  • An in-depth assessment: Before exploring any solutions, we thoroughly discuss the problem that we are addressing. Once we have that knowledge, we come up with many solutions. After exploring each one, we democratically choose the solution that the team thinks will be the most successful.
  • A fast turn-around: Once you identify a problem, you do not want to wait months before creating a solution. By spending only 5 days in a Design Sprint, you reduce product development time and provide well-designed, complete solutions. Customers appreciate fast-reacting companies when they address their concerns.
  • A reduced budget and timeline: The IBM-commissioned Forrester’s research shows a 75% reduction in design and development time simply by activating design-thinking practices. Allocating 5 days up front creating a compelling solution eliminates unwanted redesigns that cost time and money and create a less-than-ideal user experience.

What does a Design Sprint involve?

Day
1

Problem

Identifying the critical business problem is 20% of the total effort. You articulate your biggest doubts and strongest convictions.

Day
2

Ideas

We diverge and hunt for a diverse, and often crazy, set of initial ideas. Through brainstorming and exploration of these distinctive possible solutions, we create a powerful storyboard.

Day
3

Solution

To build a realist prototype, we first start with a detailed Solution Sketch on paper. The best ideas from the storyboard of the previous day are brought together and stitched into a coherent and powerful narrative that solves the business problem.

Day
4

Prototype

We build a fully functional, high-fidelity prototype that users will test the next day. It looks and feels like an actual product that seamlessly flows from one screen to the other, providing users with a realistic experience.

Day
5

Test

Actual users test a version of your newly designed solution, engage with it for a significant period of time and answer detailed, well-structured questions regarding their experience. They provide feedback so that you can assess product viability.

What is the outcome of a Design Sprint?

The outcome of a Design Sprint is a stream of user interviews and screen recordings of users’ interactions with a prototype that looks and feels real. These videos clearly indicate which ideas worked great and are worth carrying forward, and which ideas didn’t do so well and need to be re-thought or discarded.

What might happen after the sprint?

The sprint serves as a window into the minds of your users, which makes decision making on the next steps really easy. Depending on the outcome of the user tests, you might choose to run with the ideas that worked well, flesh them out completely and start building. We recommend running 2-3 cycles of Relays if you decide to go down this path. Relays are similar to Design Sprints but focus more on fleshing out the entire solution using very detailed prototypes.

Or, you might choose to go back to the drawing board, come up with better solutions for the ideas that did not work so well and test them with users again.

No matter what you decide to do, you deserve a pat on the back for saving yourself a lot of money and months of painstaking work by testing your ideas before you build them.

Wondering how each sprint day looks?