Setting up and running your first design sprint
Getting your feet wet and bringing together a group of people for a design sprint might be the best and scariest thing you’ve ever done. It just so happens that design sprints are one of the best ways (as far as I know) to get input and feedback from all the right people on the team.
There are a lot of questions that need to be asked in order for you to have the proper knowledge in order to be effective in your quest to provide value by conducting research. Make sure this is nice and tidy prior to holding a design sprint.
It’s important to make sure you’ve completed a few initial executive interviews to align thoughts and direction and make sure the research aligns to business goals and objectives. The reason this is important is that it removes some bias from the situation and allows the researcher and or researcher/designer the right setting to make guiding decisions about the research and design approach.
Another critical task is to ensure you have all the right supplies and are in a great space with whiteboards, plenty of stickies, post-it-notes, markers, magazines and visual aids needed for making collages or visual boards.
Get as much done prior to the first day of the sprint as you can. Make sure you’ve gotten some sort of understanding of what the business is hoping to accomplish and have 2 or 3 interviews in place going into the actual design sprint week. Use this set up to prepare questions for the week of the sprint.
Make sure you have all of your logistics set up prior to the design workshop and run a mock workshop to test electrical outlets, wi-fi connectivity, phone system and any other equipment you need for the sprint. You want to always do this step, actually. Whether you are doing a design sprint or setting up a user study and testing some new designs, you want to make sure you’ve tested all of the physical equipment and have allowed for enough needs like extra power cords or markers, 8.5 x 11 cheap printer paper. It’s always helpful to have an extra few supplies than not enough.
When you get to the room make sure you evaluate the space. How can it best be used? It’s not enough to think about it as physical, static objects, but also think about how people should move between and around objects. Make the physical space work with the conversation and games you are preparing as a part of your research.
Make the day and week fun. Include some fun activities to break up the day and week. Give enough breaks or you may burn the team out. It’s important to keep a framework in mind for the research and should follow the framework in both books, Sprint Book and Gamestorming. I’ll follow up with another article to deep dive into each sprint day, next time!