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Our own design sprint

Alexandra Grancho

How it started

A couple of months ago we purchased The Sprint book by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz. We wanted to try different processes of thinking a project and this seemed a good way to go with this new process.

To get some context, the Design Sprint is a five-day process for answering of critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing of ideas with customers. You can read more about it in here.

The Design Sprint book stood for quite some time on our shelf waiting for a brand new project to be revolutionised.
As soon as the summer started and we had a set of four new fresh minds we thought: this is it, the opportunity we were looking for!

They were our four summersmiths (that's what we call to our summer interns). They came highly motivated to learn and we appreciated this new breath of fresh minds! You can read more about our summersmith's experience here.

So we were ready to start and the project that we had on the drawer involved some complex UX: orders, payments, checkouts and other main features.

All was left was to found a room with three big white walls, a big window (so we didn't forget that the day has only 24h and that we should sleep at some point), two white boards, filled a box with office material and paid a visit to the candy section in the nearest market - well, I'm pretty sure the right way would be nutritious healthy snacks but.. candy!

Our enthusiasts and really focused summersmith's
Our enthusiasts and really focused summersmith's

There was a catch though... we only had 2 days! I dived into the book and made a smaller plan with the most critical sections we wanted to try.

Fortunately, I felt this wasn't a setback because we had already defined the key ideas of this project... phew, there goes Monday — the first phase of the Sprint!

I tried to remove some steps which I thought could be done later or that wouldn't bring much to this project in specific - as this was a project that was partially developed and some of its features were already set.

Here are some decisions I made based on that:

  • Gain a couple hours of the Sprint on Thursday by removing the built of the animated prototype. This was something that I could do later by myself, led by the board storyboard we were to build.

  • Removed Friday by eliminating interviews and tests, as in this case the client had already validated some of the structure and ideas and he would continue involved in the process. All these decisions were made based on opinions and articles I read and in the book itself.

The core of the sprint was there and by the time I finished the two-day schedule I was sure it would lead us where we wanted to be at the end of the two days!

The Plan

For time reference, here is our mini calendar!
For time reference, here is our mini calendar!

Day #1 — Wednesday Morning — From 9am to 1pm

1- Project context and overview
2- Make a map
3- Organise and discuss the How Might We notes.
4- Lightning Demos

Objective:
The whole team has the core of the project in their heads, great ideas, and inspirations of how to design it. They are now aware of the problems to be solved and begin to have ideas about how to do it.

Day #1 — Wednesday Afternoon — From 2.30pm to 6.30pm

1- The Four-Step Sketch that consists in 1. Notes, 2.Ideas, 3.Crazy 8s, and 4. Solution sketch.
2- Pause for a food/sanity recharge
3- Heat map
4- Speed critique
5- Straw poll
6- Supervote
7- Objective

At the end of the day, all is decided and ready to make a storyboard! The idea is to have a mindset of the way to go from now on, and a team that is conscious of all decisions made.

And the guy who draw this said he couldn't draw at all... one of the key ideas of the sprint: Anyone can sketch
And the guy who draw this said he couldn't draw at all... one of the key ideas of the sprint: Anyone can sketch

Day #2 - Thursday All day — From 9am to 1pm and then 2.30pm to 6pm

1- Separate winners from “maybe-laters.” This allowed us to remember some of the decisions made the day before.
2- Make a storyboard
3- Set all rules to allow me to start the Prototype phase by myself on the next day

Objective:
The goal was to finish the day with an extensive storyboard for the idea. Every decision and user experience must be discussed and decided in the whole of the project. I think the decision of spending all day making this storyboard allowed us to really think the path a user takes from when he enters the web app until he's done.

If you want to learn more about all the activities I mentioned you can find all the information here.

And the conclusion was...

This was fun, let's do it again! :confetti_ball:

Our final result!
Our final result!

The part that surprised me most was that despite being a very extensive process, it was also a very captivating and motivating process that allowed the team to remain focused from start to finish. Small exercises like crazy 8's and heat map allow the team to have a set of different challenges that gets them thinking.

Here we can see the main advantage of using this process: you have several minds focused on this single project, which makes that the problem is five times more discussed and explored - and believe me, this helps to find a better way to solve the challenge!

The flexibility that this process have is what makes it so effective: it has several techniques that allowed us to explore small issues which will make a huge difference later.

We certainly intend to do it again, but the extended version. For this time we would like to involve some clients and customers in the "Interview customers" section to see how our results can be even better!
I believe the remaining question is: how many chocolates do we have to buy next time?!


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Alexandra Grancho
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