We are expert design sprint facilitators.
Applied regularly at Google, Airbnb, McKinsey and LEGO, the design sprint allows you to solve any design problem.
During the sprint, you take a small team, clear their schedules for a week, and rapidly progress from problem to tested solution. In only 5 days, it accelerates and simplifies the design process of a digital product.
Browse through this page to understand better:
What the design sprint methodology is
Why it makes sense for your business to apply this methodology
What happens during a design sprint
In what situations design sprints work best
What you cannot use design sprints for
Read a specific case study on how we run design sprints
How to prepare for design sprints and what can go wrong
What happens if you hire UX studio to run a design sprint for you
What is a design sprint?
Most companies are stuck within old-fashioned office behaviors: endless arguing at meetings, decision churn, extroverts dominating brainstorming sessions, bad roadmaps. It all results in wasted months or years.
The design sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, rapid design prototyping, and testing ideas.
What are the goals/outcome of a design sprint?
By running a design sprint, you get a concrete and measurable outcome in just 5 days, thanks to user validation built into the process.
By getting from problem to solution without running errands, and time spent with unuseful development, you’ll be able to convince investors faster, reduce risks, avoid developing unnecessary features, and maximize your ROI. This will:
Minimize time wasted.
Align cross-functional team collaboration through co-creation in a very compressed time-frame.
Give structure to a collaborative design process.
Act as fuel for the product design process by giving it an initial direction.
What are the advantages of a design sprint?
It shortcuts months of debate and development, saving you money and time.
It sets clear boundaries and a sense of urgency that really focuses the team on the goals.
You can apply its flexible framework to experiment with on many different types of problems.
It requires your cross-functional team to work together in a structured way – this builds bridges and sets a foundation for better and more synced future collaboration.
It allows for creativity without requiring it – bringing it out in people naturally.
It builds upon spatial memory (everyone will remember the “sprint war room”).
What does a sprint look like?
The 5-day design sprint process
On Monday, we map the problem based on expert input from the client. On Tuesday, we sketch possible solutions together. On Wednesday, we decide on the strongest solution. On Thursday, we build a realistic prototype.
The client gets actively involved in the first days. We devote Day 4 to prototyping, which we can do remotely. On Day 5, we test the prototype – inviting users to test it, then taking advantage of their feedback to assess the potential of your product. We seek to answer all strategic questions through design prototyping.
Who should participate in the design sprint?
In short: the more diverse team the better, but not more than 7-8 people. The point is that all stakeholders are represented so that they can give input and be part of the decision-making process.
We bring design sprint facilitators who guide the participants through the whole process.
A typical assortment of participants include: CEO, Head of Finance, Marketing, Customer Support, Tech, Design, plus any additional experts.
Some guiding questions:
Who is responsible for the project?
Who sponsors changes, new initiatives and has decision-making power?
Who knows about the history of the project and previous efforts?
Who represents the voice of the customer/user?
Who is building it? Who maintains it?
Why do you need a design sprint facilitator?
Among other things, the sprint facilitator (sprint master):
Knows the process inside and out
Manages group dynamics
Empowers each team member to bring their contribution
Manages time and facilitates the process
Documents the progress and outcomes.
Let’s look at a concrete example!
Redesigning a JIRA e-mail handler during a design sprint (case study)
We recently ran a design sprint for Meta Inf, an IT company specializing in the Atlassian ecosystem.
They were working on an automatized email-handler solution that synchronizes and sorts incoming support request emails with Jira.
User feedback indicated that the rules page of the mail-handler was hard to use. Users had difficulties programming the rules that set email automatization in motion, which resulted in high support need. The team felt that they needed a quick UX boost to kickstart the redesign process .
The sprint team included product, development and marketing professionals from Meta Inf's side. Here at UX studio, we work in pairs, so we had one UX designer and one UX researcher facilitating the sprint together.
Day 1 – Understand:
The first day was about sharing prior technical and user knowledge about the product, discussing business goals, assumptions, and fears. Then, we created a user journey together.
The objective for the week: to rethink the user flows and interface of the mail-handler add-on. The team was hoping that by the end of the sprint, they would have a high-fidelity prototype that can be sent to development.
Day 2 – Diverge:
Based on Monday's inputs and a quick competitor analysis, we ideated together about the possible solutions for the rule-setting tool. Then, at the end of the day, during some structured workshops, we already picked the winning sketches.
Day 3 - Decision:
Based on the winning ideas, we drew a storyboard to have a clear overview of the user flow and different scenarios. This day, we already started prototyping in Marvel.
Day 4 – Prototype:
With the help of the UX team, this day was all about prototyping and preparing for Thursday's tests. By the end of the day, the interview script was ready, and a trial user test was run.
Day 5 – Validate:
The first part of the day was about testing the prototype during several user interviews run by our UX researcher. Then, in the afternoon, we analyzed the findings together, modified the prototype accordingly, and after defining the next steps together, the project was handed over to Meta Inf.
Why not simply do a group brainstorm?
The four big fixes of the design sprint
1. Eliminating shallow brainstorm outcomes
A group brainstorm aims for quantity. A sprint delivers fewer solutions but each one opinionated, detailed and highly suited to the problem.
Charismatic extroverts tend to dominate brainstorms, outshining others' input. During a sprint, ideas remain anonymous until after everyone else has given their opinions in a structured way.
3. Opinionated decisions
Instead of the team talking itself into halfway solutions, during the sprint, one person, the Decider makes each decision, giving the process structure and direction.
4. Prototype and data, each time
Instead of a pile of sticky notes, the sprint requires your team to build an actual prototype and test it. This helps the team clarify what to do next, and see how their ideas perform in action.
When a design sprint is the right answer
We often field the question whether we can get results quicker running a design sprint. Why spend months on a long product design process when five days suffice?
The GV design sprint serves as a tool for a very specific situation; if:
You have a big project or big problem to solve;
You’re just starting out;
You don’t have the answer; and
It will cost a lot of time or money.
Typically good design sprint objectives:
Assessing the viability of an idea or business model
Discovering the right features for a product
Redesigning a specific area/feature of a product
Jumpstarting a project
Creating a roadmap for an MVP
Finding ways to engage new audiences
A design sprint is not the answer if:
All aspects of a complex service need covering.
You can’t articulate the problem to solve.
The project requires significant prior research.
You already know the solution or what to build.
You are looking for just small improvements to your product or service.
The team does not want to invest personally in the creative process.
Sprints do not replace standard UX processes. Use sprints to answer big questions and set/validate a direction. Design sprints do not suffice on their own, only when integrated with other processes in the organization.
Let’s kickstart your project with a design sprint!
We are a design sprint agency: A team of UX professionals working on UX projects with clients all over the world. Let us run a sprint for you.Reach out
Design sprints facilitated by UX studio
We have worked with brands like HBO, T-Mobile, and KBC.
We are a team of enthusiastic product design professionals.
We believe firmly that design and user research go hand in hand. So, we work in teams of two: Designer and Researcher.
How we run design sprints
UX experts at Google Ventures (described in detail in the book Design Sprint) developed the design sprint methodology. We based our methodology on theirs. We run every sprint differently and completely tailored to your needs.
- Our experts assess whether the design sprint methodology suits your challenge.
- We appoint two UX-ers (a designer and a researcher) to facilitate the sprint for you.
- We have a pre-kickoff where you describe the challenge and the stakeholders involved.
- You already know the solution or what to build.
- We run the sprint, spending five days together, during which we get from problem to solution, backed by customer research insights.
- We summarize the results and define the next steps.