Are you ready for a design sprint? Chris How & Jerlyn Jareunpoon-Phillips Introduce ourselves It doesn’t matter how you answer this question as we are going to get you ready for a design sprint.
(Chris) I’m going to start with a confession we are big fans of Design Sprints - the technique popularised by Jake Knapp when he was at Google Ventures. This structured 5 days design format, when done right, really helps organisations accelerate design, unblock problems and investigate new ideas. We’re also a big fans of Jake Knapp (the tallest man in UX) who has run training workshops for us as part of the Clearleft presents series. Today we want to help you get you ready for your next design sprint, but first an overview of the design sprint method as a reminder to anyone less familiar with them.
BASIC STRUCTURE (Chris) In the classic 5-day structure each day has a purpose. We’ll go through each day in a few minutes time. It is also surrounded by two parts that are often forgotten about. Knowing your challenge and sharing what you learn. In the spirit of Blue Peter lets take a look at a few we made earlier …
(Chris) We did a series of design sprints for Virgin Atlantic including creating VIC the - Virgin Interactive Concierge - to look at ways to deliver information in a personalised way?’ The team looked at what we might know about a passenger and how we could use this information to offer tailored experiences. These included: - virtual reality tours of a city as you come into land based on your seat - offering to get groceries delivered to your home on your return leg - to suggesting gigs and tours in your destination based on your media consumption. Now the ideas don’t have to be based in what is currently possible but more focussed on investigating what is desirable for passengers.
(Chris) We also worked with a mixed team of designers, technologists, content writers and airline staff to create Ruby Chat The concept was a closed and temporary social network where customers pre-flight and during travel could ask and answer questions from other passengers. The expertise of the passengers would then both help those on the flight and be used to gather user generated content to use in destination guides. As a reminder all these examples went from a blank sheet of paper to tested prototype in five days
(Chris) Suffolk Libraries Wanted to explore alternatives to their existing self-service checkout Through the project we found our challenges included: Making it easier for the customer to perform tasks
Overdue items more visible The ability to ‘Renew all’ Signaling important information to them in a clearer way.
Fees notification Personalisation Receipt printing options And Enable more to be done via self-service, freeing up staff to complete their other tasks
(Jerlyn) We’ve run a few design sprints for Virgin Holidays. For this sprint, Virgin had an idea, that they wanted to inspire customers with idea of experiences. Internally, many people were excited, but they didn’t know where to start.This kind of problem is ideal for a design sprint. Because of the challenge’s complexity, we planned a 3 week sprint. What they got in the end was some momentum and a way to move forward with their new strategy.
This was a sprint we ran for Attraction Tickets Direct. They had been in their data that a large number of their customers were leaving but they didn’t know why this was happening. So we front loaded a design sprint with some research and usability testing. Then the insights were fed to the core team. By the end of the week they a design solution that they could confidently take forward.
The BBC wanted to know that a best-in class on-line survey would look like for them. They wanted to know how they could employ the latest developments in web technology. We had to understand their unique context and the technical requirements that would be involved.
Test (Chris) Having seen the output lets carry on rewinding back through the process day by day. Day five the team test the usability and more importantly the desirability of their solution with real users. Five research sessions in the morning, observed by the team who analyse the results after lunch. Top tip - let your design sprint team know at the start of the week that people have been booked to come on day five to see their design solutions - it definitely puts a focus on the work.
Build (Chris) Day Four - production day with the team designing, writing, finding images, sticking them together. It goes by in the blink of an eye. Top tip - build as little as you can to learn as much as you can. Aim for prototype ready not production ready. Its okay if its held together with sticky tape and string.
Decide (Chris) Middle of the week - day three when you start with a gallery of everyone’s individual ideas and you decide which one to take forward - and any neat features to borrow from the other concept sketches. The afternoon is used to refine and redesign the concept in more detail. Top tip - Bring in a decider to make the decision of which idea to pursue, getting an important person in the organisation lets the design team know the work they are doing has real business value
Explore (Chris) The shock of Day Two - everybody works ‘together, alone’ on individual concept sketches to meet the shared design challenge you’ve set yourselves. Definitely a day for background music and snacks. For many people we’ve worked with this is the first sketching they’ve done - so we break them in with some warm up exercises and plenty of design tips. You might be surprised with good facilitation who in your organisation excels at creative problem solving.
Understand (Chris) Start of the week - a day to understand the problem to solve and as a group to write, and vote of the design challenge statement everyone will tackle the next day. In understanding we invite experts across the organisation to come in to be interviewed We get the teams to present lightning demos of other organisations tackling similar design challenges We write a lot of problem framing statements
(Chris) And then there’s the silence before the madness. The timer, the post-it notes, the sharpies silently waiting to create your organisations next competitive advantage.
The design sprint canvas https://clearleft.com/services/design-sprints This is an resource we have on-line. You can get those n our website. It’s a great at-a-glance tool to help guide you through Design Sprint if you’re new to them. It outlines the 5-day structure, some of the key the activities you’ll be doing on those days.
Myths of design sprints true or false? (Chris) Who’s up for a quiz? Let’s test 5 myths … for each I want to know if you think they are true or false. We did this recently in a workshop at UX London (getting people to run around the room) and there was little consensus in the answers. So first question …
1/5 Design sprints only work for digital products Hands up if you think this statement is true. Answer = False • Omni-channel services (Health England) / Physical products (Chocolate bars) / Mixed-channel (Virgin Holidays connecting experts) / Ethics sprint (Cennydd Bowles) •
2/5 Design sprints are a cheap way to do quality design work Hands up if you think this statement is true. Answer = False • Can be incredibly wasteful if you don’t focus on the right problem • Cost-effective but involve a lot of concentrated time • Value is in accelerating innovation and/or learning quickly •
3/5 You can test your prototypes with whoever you can find Stand up if you think this statement is true. Answer is true but … • Recruit people who belong in the space you are researching • Shortcuts in recruiting lead to a shortfall in insight • When testing for usability you get away with a less strict recruit but when testing desirability and validating user needs then make sure you use existing or potential customers • Always evaluate your ideas with the people who’ll use your product or service •
4/5 Design sprints are a great way to show your organisation the value and benefit of design Stand up if you think this statement is true. Answer = True but … • Don’t get them addicted and/or blinkered to one form of design • Shows that design can add value and introduces people to the process • But there are other ways to do design • Design sprints are best as a kickstarter but lack the rigour to deliver fully considered products or services
5/5 A design sprint is a five-day long process Hands up if you think this statement is true. Answer = False … • Design sprint 2.0 = 4 days. We have run them for 1 to 3 weeks • Search medium for ’The 3 hour design sprint’ and ’The 2 hour design sprint’ • But be careful of speed design as sprints are best for accelerate design, unblock problems and investigate new ideas and these challenges need time to figure out
Now. Next. Future. (Chris) So when do design sprints provide most value? At Clearleft we often view initiatives in digital portfolios over three horizons. The Now - the business as usual, the features that are ready for production build, the optimisers to the existing product or service. The Next - a bit further out the ideas that sit between the two diamonds of the design double diamond - something with a validated user need, backed by a business outcome but where you are still exploring the specifics of the design Then we have the future - the horizon where you want design to explore possible futures to reshape your business. The now, next and future aren’t areas to tackle sequentially but …
Now. Next. Future. We believe success comes from looking at all of these horizons simultaneously. The pace of change in customer expectations, the capabilities of technology, your competition all move quickly. Therefore making the time to explore the future (and not just to optimise what you have) is critical to ongoing business success. One key indicator of successful digital organisations is they place more bets more frequently to be able to uncover the game changing ideas And design sprints are one of the most useful tools to help with this exploration of possible futures.
Are you ready for a Design Sprint? (Jerlyn)
(Jerlyn) This is super exciting. I’ll finally be able to get some good design from my teams quickly.. (Chris) Not so fast: Design Sprints are not about producing design quicker. They are about learning quicker. Testing ideas and knowing which to pursue and which to bin. So before you sprint know what you are trying to learn.
(Jerlyn) I’m busy but it seems pretty straightforward. I’ll just have to book 5 days out in my calendar, Monday to Friday. (Chris) Woah not so fast!: Make sure you have time to prepare - getting rooms booked, the team briefed, and experts and research participants booked. And at the end of a sprint have a plan for how you’ll communicate what you learn - show and tells, internal comms (Workplace), videos and posters - make the idea live on.
Jake Knapp proves a lot of handy checklists in his book.
There’s lots of checklists in the book and we have our own (learned from our experiences). In a 5 day process you are battling with time so get prepared.
(Jerlyn) There’s a project we have going up on the horizon. Maybe we should just use it to experiment with running a design sprint? (Chris) Not so fast:
WE introduced a simple exercise that you could use to make sure you’re sprinting on the right thing.
A thought experiment (Jerlyn) Now it’s something we’d like you to try in your seats. It’s something you can do in your heads.
A thought experiment This is the frame and re-frame technique.
1 Think of a short statement that expresses the problem you’re trying to solve.
2 Rephrase your statement into a question starting with ‘How might we…?’
3 Think about the impact you’re trying to have by solving the problem.
4 The gut test: Can you think of five solutions in a few minutes?
5 Think of some of the constraints that you would be facing with your challenge.
6 Does your original question need a tweak? Iterate.
(Chris) I started by confessing we are big fans of the design sprint. Our website has many useful articles on design sprints (with more coming soon) …
… and we are more than happy to keep the conversation going over a drink later.