It’s an exciting time for design, there are many design process frameworks introduced in recent times such as Stanford D.School’s design thinking framework, IBM design thinking process, ZURB, and Double Diamond. Google design sprint is the latest to blend design thinking and agile methodology for validating ideas. Recently, Inkoniq was selected among the lucky few who got to learn running a design sprint from the torchbearers of this concept – the GOOGLE.
We had a fair good understanding of design sprints thanks to our founder and CEO, Rajesh, who had been leading the design thinking workshops for many global giants. For someone new to this practice, design sprint is a way to quickly ideate, prototype, and validate a product idea in a week instead of waiting for months to launch a full-fledged product. The process has 5 stages – understand, sketch, decide, prototype, and validate.
“The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.” – GV
It’s a five-day practice and attended by a team size of around 4-7 people. Unlike the five-day sprint, our workshop was an intense one-day affair structured around explaining the concepts of design sprints and applying them to a live example. Sprint master is the one who plays a facilitator during the event, identifying the challenge and educating the team. Let’s learn a bit in detail on how we spent a productive and fun day at Google’s Bangalore office.
Know it all Understand Phase
The starting point was an icebreaker to understand the team members better. Each individual was tasked to draw a sketch of their superhero version. In the end, we had a Re-framer, a Toe-man, the BABA and a Voice in our team. After that, we were presented with the design sprint brief and deliverable. This was followed by lightning talks, reviewing use cases, discussing different user research findings, and competitor benchmarking in a pitch prepared by our sprint masters.
Our goal was to design an app for professionals to connect with a mentor.
How Might We Sketch Phase
During the understand phase, individuals had been asked to start writing down the How Might We’s. This HMW exercise helped us in defining the right opportunities, which will enable us to reach the innovative solutions. Then we had been asked to apply the different practices of UX processes such as user interviews, customer journey mapping, to unearth the user personas, their needs, and motivations. These insights helped us in framing the better HMW. Again we converged as a team to discuss our individual HMWs and created an affinity map by grouping them into different categories. Each team member then voted for their top three favorites using the dot method to trim down the opportunities.
The Crazy 8’s Sketch Phase
At this point, we were pretty clear on our challenge and our mind was full of ideas that could potentially result in solutions. But our sprint master was not looking for a single solution, she posed us with another great technique called Crazy 8’s. Finally, each individual had to sketch 8 potential UI solutions in a specific time limit. This was the time most of us got embarrassed of our poor sketching abilities (especially me ;)). However, this activity helped us in generating various interesting ways to solve the opportunities we identified.
Dot Voting Decide Phase
In this phase, we shared our crazy 8 screens with each other on the whiteboard for next 10 minutes. We explained why our screens were the perfect solution for different HMWs. This was followed by silent voting for our favorite solutions screens using the dot stickers. It gave us a clear picture of what are the most popular solutions. Together as a team, we decided what would be most useful to our users and should be prototyped.
Prototyping and Validating
As we were not working on an actual product, we were given only a quick walkthrough of the prototyping and validating phase and how crucial it is in predicting the success and failure of the solution. This is where our one-day design sprint workshop ended.
Oh with a few pics with our beautiful sprint masters.
– No WASTAGE – Usually designers have been asked to prototype solutions for challenges that are unbaked. A quick sprint, therefore, ensures that users get what they are looking for and not a product with unwanted features.
– Different IDEAS – The cross-functional team brings a wealth of different ideas on the table. This contributes to a better chemistry within the team.
– ENGAGEMENT – The democracy approach gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions and a feeling that each vote counts.
– USER-centered – Putting users needs first is especially relevant in framing a better solution and solving a real human problem.
– TIME – Tight deadlines or time crunch sometime helps you in coming up with the quick possible solutions.
– REVISIT – Recording everything is also crucial. You can always revisit something that got missed in between or stumble upon something completely new.
– No CODING – Finally with design sprint, you are testing the viability of your idea without spending a minute into coding.
– Last but not the least, everyone can SKETCH 😉
It was a busy and face paced afternoon with a really good mixture of people, including designers, developers, project managers, CEOs, marketers, and researchers. The facilitators, Dylin and Yasmine were a cool bunch of people and kept us going with a healthy dose of breaks, caffeine, and lip smacking snacks. Although it was hard to understand the complete essence of design sprint methodology in a condensed timeframe, it made all of us want to learn more the processes and educate the fellows back in office. We are particularly excited to try out the co-creation processes with our clients.
It will be a little difficult to recreate the vibe of Google. However, we would love to give you the same DESIGN SPRINT WORKSHOP experience. Give us a shout.