The sprint method: Tested and approved

The sprint method: Tested and approved

Published May 04, 2018
Category: Strategy
Published May 04, 2018
Category: Strategy

Our “product” approach is transforming our relationship with our clients.

It allows us to include them in idea development and reflect with them. It’s an engaging process that leads to better results and a lot of learning. Its agile nature opens us up to different possibilities. But before heading to the race track, it’s important to remember that, with these approaches, we have to not only be “technologically agnostic,” but also “methodologically agnostic”: following trends is good, but being relevant is better!

This is the approach that led us to the design sprint method created by Google Ventures a few years ago. Developed out of design thinking, this method is already being used by many in the industry. For our part, we’ve used it for a few different issues and clients. That said, you have to be careful not to view design sprint as a universal tool that would suit every type of project or problem.

There are three scenarios where it’s a good idea to use design sprint:

  1. When the client has very little time to validate an idea.
  2. When the client needs to launch a large-scale platform or product and doesn’t have any—or has little—room for future adjustments.
  3. When the client has an idea, but doesn’t know where to start (the most common scenario, in our experience).

So, where do you start? To apply this method, you need:

  • Seven people with sharp minds (on both the client and agency side)
  • Five days
  • Five users
  • Lots of sticky notes!

Day 1: Map out the problem and pick a key segment

In a room that can accommodate seven minds ready to “run” a 100-metre mental sprint, we try to define, in a single sentence, the goal of the project we’re working on. Once we come up with this sentence, we extract the potential successes and shortcomings that we formulate as questions and map out, keeping in mind our target audience. Then, after running our ideas by a series of guest experts, we wrap up Day 1 by answering the ultimate question: “What aspect of this map will allow us to achieve our goal?” The answer will be the target of our quick prototype.

“No going back.”

Day 2: Sketch ideas

Our seven sprinters highlight the projects or ideas that inspire them and that reach, by near or far, our target. After sharing ideas, each person votes for the ideas they like the best. It’s a starting point for, in the second half, each of our sprinters to quickly sketch three promising ideas on those indispensable Post-it Notes.

“Trust the process, really.”

Day 3: Make a difficult decision

Halfway to the finish line, our sprinters come up against a stack of yesterday’s draft ideas. We sift through them until settling on one winning idea. The afternoon is spent developing a storyboard using the prototype of the idea.

“A sprint is not about achieving consensus. It’s about deciding and testing.”

Day 4: Hammer out!

The sprint turns into a relay race. While some team members focus on the prototype of the chosen idea, others work on recruiting a group of test users.

“If we’re not going forward, we’re going backward.”

Day 5: Test it with users

Last step. We ask five target users to test the prototype. This test period with users is crucial. Every facial expression, raised eyebrow or comment is analyzed by the team in another room using cameras that capture both the test users and the prototype in question.

Photo finish: The suspense is killing us! Have we answered our question? Are our targets adequate? Has it taught us anything useful?

After the five steps of this methodology, we understand that the process is not an end in itself. Beyond the many relevant things we’ve learned, the design sprint allows us to extract information that holds the key to developing a product and quickly marketing that which has value for consumers. It also allows us to work on an idea quickly. Lastly, it delivers concrete results, on a small scale, so that the idea isn’t crushed under the weight of administrative processes or lost in our client’s day-to-day hustle and bustle.

Are you ready? 3, 2, 1—go!

Ready?Lets Build.

Lets Build.

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