How to run a design sprint in 5 days
Looking to run a design sprint? With the help of the right people and tools, creating human-centered products in 5 days is easy.
This guide explains how you can successfully set up a design sprint and communicate your findings so you can launch the best possible products. Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right tools at your disposal.
Design sprints at a glance
- Lots of coffee
- Design skills
Preparing for your design sprint
The way you run your design sprint will depend on the specific question you want to answer or problem you want to solve. Here are a few questions you might want to start with and the tools to help you answer them:
Once you’ve defined your question, use the right method to learn more about the problem. You’ll also want to think about the person you’re solving the problem for. If you’ve got a persona in mind, great! If not, think about rough demographics and develop personas later.
Use this to inform who you actually recruit for your pre-sprint study and your testing phase later on. Starting with your own customers is often a good way to quickly find participants. Offer incentives and see if anyone is available to participate in person or remotely.
Finally, you’ll need to consider who you bring in to help you during your design sprint. Your team will vary depending on what problem you’re trying to solve, but it's a good idea to involve developers, designers, researchers, marketers, product managers or other stakeholders.
Running your design sprint
Now that you’ve got your tools, team and prep sorted, it’s time to start your design sprint. We’ve put together a sprint plan that you can run over the course of a week.
A good way to pull insights from your data is to group findings into general observations and user pain points.
A good HMW question will help you frame how you think about possible solutions. A well-balanced question might be “how might we redesign online shopping to feel more personable?”
Once your sprint team has developed a shared understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, you can begin the next phase: co-design. This is when your sprint team works together to create a design (or multiple designs), instead of a single designer working alone. Co-design sessions have 2 steps:
- Divergent design - everyone creates as many solutions as possible.
- Convergent design - everyone chooses one solution and iterates on it.
Each HMW question will go through its own diverge and converge process. Again, you’ll want to repeat both of the above processes for each HMW question. Start with the riskiest questions you identified in the previous section.
Nielsen Norman Group has some excellent tips on how to facilitate a successful co-design workshop.
If time only allows for rough sketches or paper prototypes, keep it simple and make sure they're clear enough for your participants to understand.
Validate your designs
Feedback and complete
Today is the last day of your sprint — hooray! Take some time to finalize your design and pull out the most useful recommendations to improve your product.
This is also an ideal time to share insights from your sprint with stakeholders. Here are a few tips to help you effectively share what you learned:
- When sharing, start with a high-level overview of what a design sprint is and how they work.
- Use visualizations from our tools to impress stakeholders with the data you’ve collected.
- Run through initial research results and explain how you used them to inform the problem you needed to solve.
- Present snippets from your user testing sessions to show real feedback from participants.
- Talk through your recommendations and explain how they will affect your product and your business’s goals.
More useful resources
This isn’t the only method to sprint, feel free to iterate to suit your own needs. Here are some other great examples to get you going.
An article from Kelly, one of our designers, who explains how she ran a design sprint.
A book by Jeff Knapp that explains how to run a design sprint in-depth.
Designing great products with agile teams. A book by Jeff Gothelf that shares how teams can incorporate rapid design and experimentation into their processes.
A free gated ebook from UX Pin that provides step-by-step guidance for running a sprint in an Agile workplace.