There are a lot of moving parts to a Design Sprint. In one week, a symphony of key players collaborate to align on a problem to tackle, interview experts, ideate, storyboard, prototype, and test a solution with real users. Each hour of the day is structured with critical steps that make the well-crafted week so successful. But with 40 hours of work and up to 7 participants, there’s a lot that can go wrong. While there’s no shortage of information on how to run a Design Sprint, we needed an hour-by-hour tool to help guide us through the day. Something we could quickly refer to throughout the week without frantically flipping pages of a book or scrolling up and down blog posts.

Enter my favorite tool in all of the interwebs: Trello. There are some fun tools out there, but none were as visual, granular, and actionable as we needed. So we took notes from our friends at Google Ventures, broke down their awesome checklist, built it back up in Trello, and packed it with additional tools, links, samples, insights, custom documents, and even productivity music resources – all gathered over time as we’ve honed in on our sprinting process.

And we are giving it away for free! Yes, freeeeeeee!

 

Is this the Design Sprint everyone is talking about?

Yes. And here now is our elevator pitch: A Design Sprint is an intensive design-thinking workshop that guides your team from an initial concept to a user-validated prototype in just five days. This unique, structured approach to problem-solving forces alignment between stakeholders, creates space for ideation, and validates the potential success or failure of new initiatives.

By “building a facade”, or a working prototype, a Design Sprint team can quickly gather insights from their users, validate the approach, and later pursue the product build with the collective confidence that it’s the right direction before investing time, energy, and capital into a polished final product. With a user-centered design thinking approach to problem-solving, a Design Sprint can help you tackle problems you thought would take months or years to solve in the design process.

What makes the Design Sprints Playbook so special?

Get the board here

What is so special about this board? It’s a complete breakdown of the week, day by day, hour by hour. Highly scannable, packed with links, visuals, and actionable checklists. In addition, we’ve layered our own personal experiences on top of the Design Sprint model. Peppered through the board you’ll find bites of information that we’ve found useful throughout our sprinting journey. Some highlights include:

Vision and Discovery

We created this out of a need to gain more insight into the direction of the businesses we work with. Through a series of questions, we can build a lens to look through to better understand the business objectives and the challenges to solve for. This helps frame the Design Sprint.

Overviews

Quick summaries to help anchor your team at the beginning of each day.

Reading Material

Wonderful resources from our friends at Google Ventures, InVision, and elsewhere.

Interviewing Setup

Specific recommendations on how to setup up your technical software and hardware for a seamless interviewing process.

Post-Sprint Iteration Strategies

After the Design Sprint, the real work begins! We have recommendations on next steps and Mini-Sprint techniques to build off the insights gained from the original sprint week.

Music & Room Preparation

What’s creative collaboration without some focus music?!

How to use the Design Sprints Playbook

  1. Start by viewing the board HERE.
  2. Make a copy of the board for your team.
  3. Read through each card and digest some of the additional reading material.
  4. Use this board as a guide throughout the week as well as a tool to capture and document the artifacts during a Design Sprint.

 

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” ~ Seneca

 

If you’ve run a Design Sprint before, the Design Sprints Playbook should help you run it a bit smoother next time. If you’re just getting into Design Sprints, let this tool be your sherpa to guide you through the unknowns. But remember that the most exciting part of a Design Sprint is the creative outpouring of rapidly generated ideas, many of which will be unexpected. So use the board as your anchor, and then embrace uncertainty and see what happens!

 

Now go! Get that board now and make something awesome!

 


 

Need an extra boost to hit the ground running (er, Sprinting)?

At Digital Telepathy, we have a variety of Design Sprint services that can help. We can run a Design Sprint with you and your team. We can train you on how to run a Design Sprint through our workshop series. And we even rent our pimped out Design Sprint Studio for a productive and sun-soaked week in San Diego. Give us a shout and let’s Sprint!

Comments
  • Marcos Menéndez Martín

    Thanks Brad, this is going to be very useful 😉

    • You are welcome, Marcos. BTW we’ll be updating this occasionally with new and better examples so check back on it every once in a while. Cheers!

  • Thanks for sharing Brad, i am trying to get our company to run Design Sprints. Are there any tricks you learned and recommend to get people started without reading the complete book?

    • Robin, I would recommend trying three things.

      #1: Start implementing the design sprint exercises on a routine basis. Doesn’t have to be confined to a week, just introduce these exercises in small chunks throughout projects to get people comfortable with the benefits of the tools.

      #2: Try a shorter design sprint, maybe just a three day Ideate, Decide, Prototype. Do the research ahead of time and test later. #

      3: Sneak it in there. Don’t call it a design sprints people may get scared of a big official thing. Consider doing a sprint under the guise of a normal project and don’t make it sound so official. That’s actually how we got our first design sprint under our belt. While we didn’t use the Time Timer or get super strict by the hour, we ran it all the way through. Then, the ones that followed we tightened up to follow the real process.

      I hope this helps!

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