Top 5 Tips To Establishing Design Sprints

Jasper Wu, Chief Experience Officer at U-Next, will deliver a talk at UXDX APAC on March 4th titled 'Creating A CX Culture Through Sprints'. Find out more on Jasper's UXDX Profile or buy tickets now at: https://uxdx.com/apac/2021/tickets

When working in the USA, I learned the practice of Design Sprints and found it to be a hugely useful tool to validate the concept with fast and decisive speed. When coming to work in U-Next as a CXO in Japan, I wanted to bring this new practice I learned to help develop our processes. One of my favourite parts of my job is exploring suitable development flows and creating a customer-centered product design culture in organisations. Something I found out quickly, was that the mindset of Japanese teams from designers, PMs to researchers, is quite different to what I came from in the USA, so I had to make some major adjustments to the process to integrate it into my department. These changes were so big that I even wrote a book about it! So today, I want to share my top five tips with you:

When Do I Need To Do A Design Sprint?
A design sprint is the process that helps the team validate a concept in the early phase. It allows for teams to learn without building and launching, and to learn from customers. The best way to know if you need to do a design sprint is if you need to share insights with stakeholders or you need quick validation which requires getting feedback from customers. As the process looks to answer critical business questions, you will need the decision makers present in order to make sure the process progresses.

Decision Makers Must Be Present
In order to get value out of your design sprint and value out of the result, you must have the stakeholders present who are involved in the project. These decision makers are usually top managers in the business who are quite busy. For this reason, the stakeholder does not necessarily have to be in the room for the whole process. I have found from past experiences that they must be in the room during the information sharing, goal setting and voting sessions at the very minimum. If changes are made without the decision- maker present, it could easily be reversed later on.

Work With the Mindset of Your Team
After coming to work in Japan, I found that there was a lot of cultural shifts in comparison to the US. I had to make adjustments to the typical design sprint process, which in turn I found did not hamper with the intrinsic value that we were getting out of design sprints. One of these changes was ideation. In Japan, the essence of working on your own is highly popular. This is how I found the "work together alone and silent voting", which allows us to accelerate the process and solve a lot of culture and context issues.

How to Adapt Design Sprints to Remote Working?
Remote sprints are not the ideal way of conducting design sprints, but due to the pandemic, we are forced to move online. My team found that there are some online tools that help boost our ability to work online, such as Zoom and Google Meet which is easy to use and helps build that in-person feeling, Miro and Mural also provide a lot of templates to do remote sprints. But my main advice is to keep the momentum going during remote sprints by way of ice breakers.

How To Know If Your Design Sprints Are Working?
A big indicator that your design sprints are having an affect on the stakeholders is the request to run more. If the CEO, or decision maker in your scenario, doesn’t feel like they’re getting value they will not seek to do another sprint. No one changes their behavior for a neutral outcome.

If you are interested in learning more about Design Sprints, I will deliver at talk at UXDX APAC on March 4th-5th titled 'Creating A CX Culture Through Sprints'. Find out more on my UXDX Profile.

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