In an IT-project, collecting a list of requirements and directly diving into development often results in poor adoption. Before starting to build, it is important to know the user and understand the business to ensure you will be building the right thing. That’s why Quatronic starts every project with a Design Sprint.
1. By dedicating time to dive into the context and understand the to-be process, we make sure the application to be developed supports the process perfectly.
2. In the Design Sprint the whole team is working closely together, which helps to get all different perspectives and ideas already on the table at the start of a project.
3. During the Design Sprint a prototype is created to give the team and stakeholders a sense of direction.
In 2016 the Google Ventures Sprint book came out (1), since then Design Sprints have become widely adopted by companies as a tool for innovation and problem-solving. In the original book the Design Sprint takes 5 days, in an updated proposal it requires 4 full days (2).
Within Quatronic we developed a 3-day Design Sprint, without compromising on the core value of the concept. So now you might be interested in how we do it?
Before we start, we spend time framing the problem together with the client. This means, having an idea of the situation, complications and target for the Design Sprint.
In each of the 3 days we first diverge (broadening the scope and coming up with multiple alternatives, often individually) and next converge (prioritizing and deciding on a focus as a group). The divergence and convergence cycles are typical for taking a Design Thinking approach.
During the first day the Sprint Team takes time to understand the problem, context and goal. To understand the process a user map is created, use cases are stated and business objects mapped. Based on those maps a target for the sprint is chosen.
The second day starts with individual work to find inspiring solutions and present them to one another to boost more ideas. After several cycles of sketching and voting for ideas the best solution is chosen that will be (paper) prototyped the next day. At the end of the day a storyboard is created in order to understand the different steps of interaction.
On the last day we turn the paper prototypes into a digital prototype and present it to test users and stakeholders. We gather feedback on the prototype. On this third day we also take time to set up the project for the next weeks, this means setting up a backlog, roadmap and defining main risks.
Overall, we make it possible to schedule all activities in 3 days which are both fun and functional.
As a beginner in running Design Sprints, you start with the basic recipe. As we have become more experienced, we added some ingredients to the original recipe. During the first day we also define business objects and use cases, this was not in the original Design Sprint proposal. Business objects help to agree on definitions and have a starting point for solid data architecture. Use cases support the process thinking and defining the scope. Those two activities will take less than an hour but save more time later in the project.
Furthermore, we take more time than the original setup for translating the sprint results into a project setup. You can read more about this in our previous blog: “8 ingredients to prepare your Design Sprint for the Marathon”.
We keep learning and adapting our way of working to new insights. Last year the pandemic brought us new lessons on how to run a Design Sprint Online. Stay tuned to read more about this topic soon!
Business Technology Consultant