Depending on the size of a project, it is practically possible or impossible to start and finish a project within 5 working days — from idea generation to getting a project ready and introducing it to the target market for feedback. But that’s what Design Sprints tries to achieve. Maybe the time duration is quite small, but you will be marveled at how fast you can actually prototype an idea and get it out for feedbacks.

At Plant, we are designers ourselves. While our systems aren’t built in 5 days because of the technicalities and other stringent requirements, we do carry out Design Sprints for smaller tasks, so our designers learn the art of quick prototyping. If you have not taken part in a Design Sprint before, you won’t know how effective it can be.

What is a Design Sprint?

Design Sprints was introduced by Google Venture to solve big problems and test new ideas in 5 days. A Design Sprint is an all-encompassing exercise that brings a lot of professionals ranging from a business executive to a tech expert, design expert, customer service reps, marketing experts, and financial experts. Each and every one of these professionals has a role to play in ensuring that the project becomes successful.

Instead of waiting for weeks and sometimes months or even years to get a product to the market, by following the Design Sprints principles, a development team can quickly build a prototype, launch it and get feedback from end-users. With this, you do not need to wait for so long and do not need to spend a fortune before you know the acceptability of your product. It saves time and resources.

However, you need to understand that Design Sprints is energy draining. This is because all forms of distractions are taken away, and you are forced to be focused between the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM for the whole 5 days. Not even your mobile phone will be with you. This makes it feels like a marathon. It then means that after each working day, you’ll have to start replying to emails and calls, and probably carrying out some office-related tasks at home — to avoid lagging behind because of the Sprint.

Design Sprint in Action

If you are interested in carrying out a Design Sprint for product designers, this section of the article has been written for you. Design Sprint is action intensive. Make no mistake about it; every professional involved will have to work. Some will even get drained in the process, but in the end, a prototype that could become the next big thing will be born. What makes it interesting is that you’ll learn a lot from it.

It is an event that you’ll learn skills that will help you for a lifetime — the skill of rapid prototyping and problem-solving. Below are what should be done each of the days involved.

Monday — Understanding Problem

There’s no better way of honing the importance of understanding a problem than saying “without understanding a problem, providing a solution can only be by accident.” In understanding the problem, you need to know the problem you’re trying to solve, and what better way can you do that than understanding your user pain point? With the right understanding of your users’ pain point, when you proffer a solution, users of your product will find that it goes with their intent of using the product.

How do you transform the problem into an opportunity? Take, for example, our software, Plant we saw that designers were having a problem using generic methods for version control— and some were even using the old methods of versioning. The question we asked ourselves was how do we turn this need into an opportunity and boom, the idea of Plant was born.

Tuesday — Solution Exploration

Do no more than understanding the problem on Monday. On Tuesday, you need to come up with solutions. Usually, if a team was able to come up with a perfect problem definition and they were able to put a long-term goal in place, finding a solution won’t be much of a problem. When it comes to providing a solution, you need ideas — and that’s why it is solution exploration. You don’t just get an idea for a solution and close for the day. Likewise, you just have to make sure you agree on a solution before the day ends. Put heads together and come up with a number of solutions.

Wednesday — Pick a Solution

By the end of the day on Tuesday, it is expected that a good number of solutions are in place. What you do on Wednesday is picking the most efficient one that will save you time and money. In some instances, you will have to compromise one for another — that’s time for money or money for time. Go with the one that best suits your long-term goals.

Most likely, you will need to fine-tune the one you pick. If you are done fine-tuning, and you are satisfied with what you get, you can then convert the solution into a storyboard. With this, it is ready to be implemented.

Thursday — Prototype Development

Thursday is all about development. You have already understood the problem, came up with a long-term goal and a solution. Your final product must mimic the storyboard fully. At this point, no more alterations as this might lead to the extension of deadline — and thus, no longer a 5-days program. It is expected that since you already have a well spelled out plan, the prototype should be ready by the end of the day.

Friday — Getting End Users Feedback

Friday is the end of the Design Sprint. On this day, the product is introduced to the end-users, and feedback is gotten. It is on this day that the team knows the viability of the idea and if their product was actually tailored to solve the problem the user faces. While Friday is the end of the program, it is not the end of the project. As stated earlier, the whole process is for developing a prototype, something like a Minimum Viable Product. More work still need to be done to make the product a successful one.

With the right strategies and plans, you can quickly conceptualize an idea and develop a prototype product to test it within 5 days — thanks to Design Sprints. These 5 days of development intensive exercises will make everyone on the team more grounded in proffering solutions rapid when a swift response is required. The product designed is, however, a prototype and needs to be worked on more after the exercise.