Design Sprints: What are they and How Can They Help Your Business?

Table of Contents
Philip Wallage
Creative Director at

Design Sprints are design-oriented, time-limited workshops used by companies like Google and Amazon. The design process is broken down into five steps: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. Design Sprints can be a handy tool for businesses looking to innovate or improve their design. This article will give you an overview of what design sprints are and how they can help your business!

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Does your Business Strategy require improving existing services, products or creating new ones? If you answered yes to any of these, Design Sprints can help.

What is the goal of a Design Sprint?

A Design Sprint aims to design and prototype a solution within five days that delivers meaningful value for the user. Design Sprints are not just about finding an idea but also validating it before investing time in development.

Why does a Design Sprint align with your Business Strategy?

Does your Business Strategy require improving existing services and products or creating new ones? If you answered yes to any of these, Design Sprints could help. Conducting user research, creating a realistic prototype and facilitating user testing are ingredients for the recipe we call "success." When the Design Sprint Begins, we have a design idea and an objective for the design. We know what critical business questions need to be answered but don't necessarily have the solution.

Who should be part of your Design Sprint Team?

The team you bring into Design Sprint Week is always a small team. We always prefer having an entire team with a good mix of people. Depending on your company's structure, this might be an excellent opportunity to introduce some sweet Silo-breaking setup. Combine Sales, Marketing and Support with Management, for example.

How do you plan for a Design Sprint?

Even though the Design Sprint is a four-day process, we schedule four weeks' time.

Week 1: Preflight

Preparation is key for a successful design sprint. The preflight phase is about getting the right people on board, preparing the materials and setting the stage for an intense but fun week.

Map: Customer Journey Map

Together with the customer, you'll discover their idea of their current customer experience. This will help you design a customer journey map, which is one of the essential tools in your design sprint toolbox.

Business Goals

Make sure you understand your client's goals for the design sprint. What are they hoping to achieve? This will help keep everyone focused on the right things during the Design Sprint week.

Target Demographic

Who are you Design Sprinting for? This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's essential to be clear about your target demographic. It might also allow you to start recruiting test-users a bit earlier.

Insight Interviews

What are some of the critical insights your client has? What initiated this project? This is valuable information that will help you design a better solution.

Week 2: Design Sprint

This is it! This is when the design sprint happens—five days of design, prototyping and testing with users.

Design Sprint Day 1: Understand

On the first day of a Design Sprint, you start by making sure you understand the challenge. On this day, you go through the design process and identify what’s in need of design.

Design Sprint Day 2: Sketch & Decide

On the second day, a design team sketches out ideas to solve the problem identified on the first day. A design sprint focuses on generating many quick designs rather than going deep into one specific idea. Each team member gets the chance to design their own idea and then share it with the team.

On this day, you decide which design to prototype Day Three. The design should provide a Minimal Viable Solution that solves what is identified as the problem from Day One but also has legs for further improvement if needed in later stages of design or development.

Design Sprint Day 3: Prototype

On the third day of a Design Sprint, BTNG Designers work closely with your colleagues to design a realistic prototype that solves your identified problem. We collaborate on content but also on missing information and drafting interview questions.

Design Sprint Day 4: Test

True to our Design Thinking approach, validation is an essential part of our core values & beliefs. We test our prototypes with real users to see if our idea is actually the solution we need. How do they use it? Is the design understandable? What are some potential roadblocks?

Week 3: Iteration Sprint

Review & Sketch

You’ll start by reviewing the feedback from the original Design Sprint user testing. You can digest this in a Sailboat Retrospective. A short round in which everyone will take some time to write what they thought went well and what didn’t.

Prototype & Re-Test

Now you won’t need to redo the storyboard because this shouldn’t influence the flow of the prototype. You’ll be more focused on improving the existing pages.

Once you’re ready, you can improve the prototype and do another testing day.

Week 4: Handover

Making sure your client gets everything you promised.

Sprint Outcome Report

The Sprint Outcome Report is, by far, the most valuable deliverable of the Design Sprint. It contains all the information you need to make design decisions going forward.

Test Recordings & Highlights

Since you've already recorded the test sessions, it's nice to hand them over.

Interactive Prototype

You also hand over the interactive prototype. This is so your client can show it to other stakeholders and get feedback.

When should you schedule a Design Sprint?

Is there a perfect time to schedule a Design Sprint? Absolutely!

The design sprint is an excellent opportunity to clarify your vision for the following product iteration. This could be done in anticipation of a big release or if you're feeling like it's time for some innovation in order to stay competitive, as other companies are catching up with features and design aesthetics that have traditionally eluded them.

So if you're considering running a Design Sprint, schedule a call with the BTNG Facilitation Team to discover how we can be of assistance! Or check out our FREE Community to learn more about Design Sprints and more!

Want more?

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