The Design Sprint idea has it’s roots firmly in the technology venture world, but I’ve seen traditional enterprise companies swoon over the idea. For good reason. It addresses several barriers that often plague the relationships between in-house design teams and their business partners.
Why do businesses love the idea of a Design Sprint?
It Sounds Fast
In-House design teams often have a reputation for being slow and adding cost. You and I know that design should be adding value to the business, but the perception often remains. A design sprint though, has sprint right in the name, so it even sounds fast.
To often a creative process seems exclusive. That not a problem with a design sprint, you get to include everyone in the initial creation and even testing. It encourages ownership of the problem by the whole team.
A great business partner will always be concerned about customer value. “Do our customers actually want this?”. While we often test our work thoroughly, nothing replaces the thrill of actually being in the room to listen to real customers. The more we can get our business partners to contribute to test plans and hear feedback live from customers the more backing effective design work will get.
Setting It Up
So you’re sold on setting up a Design Sprint at your company? Great! There are just a couple things that make setting a sprint up In-House different from inside a product company.
Do a Test Run or Three
It takes a lot of preparation to enable spontaneous collaboration. A lot of enterprises tend to be a lot less tolerant of creative experiments than startups, so they’re likely to show up skeptical. If you’re running the sprint right you’ve convinced a lot of important people to participate, so it’s incumbent on you to run a smooth operation. Take time before scheduling your first design sprint to do a few dry runs with just the design team. Get it down, then bring in stakeholders and be a hero.
Pick Low Pressure Tactics
Getting a room full of business people to do rapid fire sketch exercises like Crazy 8’s sounds like a hoot right? It’s not. I firmly believe everyone can draw enough to communicate an idea, but not everyone has the confidence to do it quickly. Never underestimate the defensiveness that “important people” can exhibit under pressure.
Be Sure About Delivery
It ruins credibility in the entire process if you build enthusiasm for ideas that won’t see the light of day for a year. So make sure you’re working on a project that can get funding or engineering resources. Nobody wants to be running a sprint to nowhere.