Smashing Magazine today talks in their piece, Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints about Iterative Design, or rather, Design Sprints. This hypothesis follows in the footsteps of industrial development best practices, which has for a long time now had monopoly in working in an agile sprint environment. Why not give Design it's own Sprint board? So let's get started on How to Get Started With Design Sprints... Benefits of allowing your designers into the Sprint-party ensures that initial product development is not dependent and tightly-coupled to the design direction, whilst allowing the design team to pivot design based on iterative user feedback, making amendments and adjusting in an agile-way according to market changes and other market needs.
Setting up a Design sprint, rather than fully defined up-front, breaking tasks into 1–3 week sprints with an emphasis of solving specific design problems. The author proposes 6 steps in the sprint:
- Research : Capture insights using empathy maps to capture findings, recording what users said and did, and figure out what users think and feel.
- Analysis : Analyse what was found, with each person presenting his or her findings, along with discussions and brainstorming.
- Ideation : Having created a priorised list of problem statements, the team can focus on generating solution ideas (this is an iterative process in itself), allowing the team to come up with clear design directions, in either low or high fidelity wireframes/sketches.
- Prototyping : The final few days of the sprint is spent detailing the design in a fidelity level allowing for validation of design direction. The author prompts people to think of prototypes as as "visual way to ask questions".
- Validation : The last step is of course to validate, and just as research was done by the team, in parallel, team members can also do the testing with several users.
Finally, the author presents a concise list of benefits to implementing Design Sprints:
- Momentum : Allowing for rapid shift from one problem to the next.
- Waste minimisation : Reduced documentation and increased collaboration, an optimised flow that reduces activities that do not contribute to development
- Enchanced Design conception : Comparmentalising proiblems into smaller ones, designers can explore many different ideas with more focus and thoughtfulness.
- Innovation encourager : Sprints encourage exploration and risk-taking, a hotbed for innovations to be conceptualised in the product development space. I am a bit advocate of this method, and would encourage teams to look into a more holistic agile approach, beyond the confines of just development.