Asking how long a design goes to require a touch like asking how long may be a piece of string. The solution is always: ‘it depends.’ Design is often tweaked and altered forever, and it’s still never getting to be sprint

That’s why we add design sprints — it forces accountability and keeps projects focused and on target. Planning and executing these, however, are often a frightening task. 

Here’s how you are doing it.


What is a design sprint?

A design sprint is an approach where you define a really discrete design problem and develop the answer over a brief “sprint” (usually 5 days). A design sprint is usually comprised of 5 steps:

  1. Understand
  2. Ideate
  3. Decide
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

The idea is that you simply run through this process, take your learnings, and repeat the method to rapidly come to a functional design to scale to a bigger project.


Before you start: planning your sprint

Because a design sprint must happen very quickly, you would like to possess an honest plan of attack for once you engage the whole sprinting team. During this stage, you would like to possess a couple of key pieces.

  • The problem you’re solving. Have you ever defined the matter clearly? Is it well understood, solvable within 1 sprint, and price the many efforts you’re close to put in, both from a customer and organizational perspective?
  • Access to customers. You’re getting to be lectured and testing ahead of actual customers. Does one have these lined up?
  • Assemble your team. Are the proper people within the room who got to be there to make sure your design sprint is successful? Do they know what they’re there to do? Are they committed? The standard suspects are design, marketing, product, and senior leadership to represent business interests.
  • Write your design brief. A design brief is: “a short document (one-pager) that defines the planning challenger, explains the constraints, and sets a timeline for the launch of the merchandise or deliverable.” This must be written, circulated, and confirmed by all participants before you begin .

Once all this is often in situ (and this step can take several weeks) you’re able to start your design sprint. It is often tempting to rush this stage but resist! longer spent here will make the remainder of the spring go an entire lot smoother.


  1. Understand

The objective here is to deeply understand the matter you’re solving. You likely started this sprint with an organizational problem, but the key here is to know the customer pain points, and description where you would like to be in 6/12/24 months.

At this stage, the main target is to compile many different perspectives from your sprint participants and aggregate them to understand the matter you’re solving, and why. There are actually dozens of the way to tackle this, but a couple of common techniques include:

  • User journey mapping
  • How we’d  (HWM), where the team reframes problems as opportunities
  • User Interviews
  • Empathy mapping


  1. Ideate

Now that you simply have an honest team understanding of the matter, you would like to figure on the answer.

The point of this step is to map every possible solution to the matter you’ve identified. Choosing the simplest solution comes next, so at the moment it’s about getting as many viable options on the table. 

Common tactics include: 

  • Lightning demos, once you search for how people are already solving your problem
  • The four-step sketch method
  • Crazy 8s, once you take one solutions and brainstorm 8 variations in 8 minutes


  1. Decide

Decision time. you’ve got the matter , you’ve got dozens of solutions – now you would like to make a decision as a team what one you’re getting to pursue.

This stage is often as simple or as complex as you wish . One option may be a simple electoral system , where everyone gets 3 minutes to present their idea, then everyone gets 3 votes to cast. The thought with the foremost votes is that of the winner. 

An alternative is the silent vote method, where the sketches are presented silently and evaluated essentially privately , to avoid the simplest pitch person winning out instead of the simplest design.

At the top of this stage, the team should have one idea to pursue.


  1. Prototype

Time to place your idea into action. you would like to truly build a prototype that’s getting to be ok to offer users the concept, but quick enough that if it fails dismally you’re not completely sunk. Remember, this also has got to be done within 1 day.

The key’s to form it believable, but no more. This suggests making the story, stitching it together in a comprehensible way, and dropping in any assets or copy that you simply need so users believe what they see. This is often also the stage once you get to write your user interview script, so you’ll guide the users on the prototype. An honest script means you’ll build a more limited prototype, so it’s well worth fixing the work there.


  1. Test

Finally, you would like to check it out.

This once you put your idea ahead of users and see if it actually works and solves their problem, also as a chance for you to urge some feedback.

Remember: this is often a little test. You don’t have to test many people to find out . you would like to check 5-8 people to tug out the themes of what’s working and what isn’t.


What Happens Next?

A design sprint should begin a bigger conversation or project. You’ve hopefully validated a functional solution — now it’s time to show it into reality.

A (less successful) alternative is that the planning sprint failed. Maybe the chosen solution didn’t solve your user problem, during which case you’ll return and repeat your decided / prototype / test sprint. Alternatively, you’ll revisit your sprint from the start .

One important piece to recollect is that no sprint is ideal . It’s worth taking time to post mortem the sprint itself: 

  • Were the proper people involved?
  • Did your conversation get dominated by a couple of noisy people?
  • Was the matter well scoped and well understood? Was the matter worth solving?
  • Did you get full commitment from the people involved?

A design sprint is tough work, but it’s one among the simplest ways to quickly identify and solve key problems. Give it a try, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly design can make an enormous impact on the business.