Business as unusual is the phrase we use to define the dynamic and demanding world we live in. Whether it’s technological advancement, a growing and fierce competitive landscape or the demanding customer voice we hear roaring ever so highly up in the food chain.
So we’re all asking the same question: in a business context, what can we do in practice to accelerate innovation? How might we create products and services that are effortless and seamless for users in a short time? How might we ultimately improve the customer experience with our product or service without that taking months or years?
What can work on any business need, on any challenge and in any organisation or industry? Apart from an agile mindset, is there a tested set of steps or a proven process which we can follow when creating or launching a new product or feature? And can all this be done remotely?
Not only does it exist, this process is validated and tested by companies like Facebook, Google or Uber and many other industries and startups all over the world. The process is a product design sprint. And the best part is that we have designed and successfully tested it for remote work.
What is a product design sprint?
In a nutshell, a Product Design Sprint is a series of workshops that allows businesses to reduce the risk of bringing a new product or feature to market, and to answer complex business questions within a very short time. Throughout the sprint, you will gain a deeper understanding of your goals and user’s needs, and identify and prevalidate viable solutions.
When should we run a product design sprint?
The sprint is used to validate products or services before moving towards development and launch. A product design sprint’s objective is to improve the most fragile and important part of our business - the user experience with our product or service.
Creating new products
The product design sprint is the go-to tool when you have an idea for a new product. Whether you want to validate a concept, understand which features to integrate, create the perfect UX for an app, web platform or any other digital product.
The design sprint structure helps you go through all the most important phases of product development and, most importantly helps you:
/ Align on a common vision for the product with all stakeholders
/ Validate your concept and it’s features
/ Get real-time user feedback on the prototype
Redesigning existing products
When you already have a product, you can use a design sprint for multiple purposes — for example, if you want to:
/ add new features,
/ improve user experience,
/ redesign the product,
/ solve a big, complex problem your product is facing.
What does it look like, how long will it take?
If we follow the original Google Design Sprint methodology, the sprint is usually held over five days. In reality, the sprint phases are spread out over several weeks or months depending on the team’s availability because we understand it is difficult for a whole team to spare an entire week for this. We have iterated on the classic recipe and the phases of the sprint are as follows: research, concept, test & implementation.
How do we customize a design sprint for our product?
As business redesigners, we know that each industry has its unique challenges and needs and a one-size-fits-all approach is hardly ever the answer. That’s why when starting a sprint, we always co-create. In other words, we go through a sprint planning phase together with our clients, to define and pre-design the sprint so it works to solve the specific task at hand considering the company’s DNA, processes and workflow.
When you’re planning to add just a small change, for example, in navigation, or redesign a small part of the product , running a design sprint isn’t the best option. Try running a shorter format like a concept or a test sprint.
Examples of product design sprints we’ve done?
Apart from the global companies using product design sprints like Slack, Headspace, Google and Facebook, we’re sharing some examples of work we’ve done on our local market:
How to do a sprint for new products remotely?
By using interactive and efficient digital collaboration tools like interactive whiteboards and break-out sessions for work in multiple groups, shifting to remote sprinting is easy.
We’ve tested more than 20 different online platforms, and combinations thereof, in order to create the closest possible scenario to an effective and meaningful live interaction. We’ve run internal tests, and tests with clients willing to be a step ahead and redesigned our portfolio for remote work and facilitation. Our selected credentials include Accenture Global, Deutsche Telecom, Telenor, Roche, Raiffeisen Bank and many others.
Not sure if the product design sprint will be the right choice for you? You can start by trying the Pre-design Workshop first. It’s a 1-hour workshop that reflects the workflow, mechanics, and, most importantly, the speed of the design sprint process.