I’ve seen countless blog posts, videos, and podcasts about Google’s design sprint but until now I haven’t sat down and actually read the full book. Jake Knapp and the GV team take their process and really lay out a full road map, complete with actionable items. Sprint is filled with Countless stories of successful sprints, areas they found that needed improvement and all the tools you need to carry out a design sprint of your own. Including handy dandy checklists in the back.
Design isn't just about pushing pixels
Design is so much more than making sure something looks and feels good. It’s about solving problems through creative thinking and a lot of hard work. A lot of time this can fall on a single designers shoulders. When this happens it doesn’t offer any other perspective besides theirs. They create their mocks, hopefully spent some time talking to users and send it off to engineering. Hoping they put together a great spec and all goes well.
Sprint does away with this by bringing an all star team of people together from different aspects of the business with a single goal. In 5 days, you will have a working prototype and test it in front of a customer to get their feedback. Designers, engineers, customer support, sales and marketing, your goal is to make your version of “Oceans 11”. Just not with 11 people more like 5 to 7. This team will cover all different aspects of the business and will allow different perspectives and ideas to be brought to the table, while solving some of your most challenging problems..
"You shouldn’t limit your sprint team to just those who normally work together. Sprints are most successful with a mix of people…"
This team will be together through the entire process and will fully understand the problem along with the solution and avoiding losing things in translation.
5 Whole days, like the entire days?
A design sprint requires 5 days of time committed from all participants. Ideally Monday to Friday, weekends kill momentum. Certain roles like the decision maker doesn’t have to be there 100% of the time, but everyone else needs to buckle up and settle in for the ride. This is process will require full attention from everyone so a clear schedule is required.
Don’t worry the book has all the key elements laid out including who you should bring and plenty of examples from their over 100 design sprints. Details of the entire process and schedule like what time people should be there, how long items should take and even when and what you should plan on having lunch.
“By Getting the right people together, structuring the activities, and eliminating distraction, we’ve found that it’s possible to make rapid progress while working a reasonable schedule.”
Field guide to a design sprint.
Even though the book is littered with examples of design sprints, this is really a field guide to running your own design sprint. It clearly documents everything from supplies needed, the best spaces to host a design sprint and the tools needed and conversation tips for hosting customer interviews.
If the core sprint doesn’t exactly work for your team it has examples of ways it’s been modified to fit different schedules or products. They discuss on how to quietly vote for ideas to avoid groupthink and how to properly facilitate conversation and keep everyone focused on the goal.
Sprint is filled with tips and tricks that I know our team will be integrating into our compass process.
Sprinting on your own.
This book is super valuable to anyone who is thinking of running a design sprint, has a design process of their own and is looking for some tips on improving it or is working on a product and wants to solve some hard problems. It’s not only for software design and can be adapted to any field. This is really a must read in today’s development world.
Check out the book site!
If you don't have time to read the blog post above, here is an awesome 90 second recap of the Google Ventures Sprint process.
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If you want to join the book club to read and learn together, sign up by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! We meet once every month and discuss concepts in the chosen book, as well as how we can start applying key learnings to our process, startups, and life.