But much like the hype about Agile and Scrum years ago it’s riddled with misconceptions and misunderstandings. We love Scrum and we love Design Sprints and we are help to help make sense of it all. So here are the top 5 misunderstandings that we keep running into.
#1 Design Sprints are only for small companies and startups
It’s true it was invented around the startup scene. But it was pioneered at Google Ventures as a way to help any company to make sense of their ideas and problems. And one thing is for sure, Google is a far cry from a small company. Today companies of all sizes are reaping the benefits of Design Sprint including massive brands like Netflix, eBay and LEGO.
#2 Design Sprints are only for Digital Products
It’s easy to get hung up on mobile apps and websites and there are plenty of examples out there. In reality it doesn’t matter if your challenge is about digital services, retail stores, or about how to launch a new coffee brand. As long as you have a big idea or challenge you can use Design Sprints to explore, create and test possible solutions – what you end up with could be anything from clickable prototypes, marketing material to rebranded physical goods.
#3 Only designers should be in Design Sprints
This is a stubborn myth. The word “design” sets the expectations, but the fact is that you’ll benefit immensely from having a diverse sprint team with different perspectives. Yes, you’ll be wise to include a Designer (or two) but to really set yourself up for success make sure to include business, marketing, people who will build it later on and folks who know your customers intimately. Many times the solution comes from recombining ideas from different industries.
#4 Design Sprints are about building MVPs faster
Tread carefully now! If you or stakeholder reach for Design Sprints in order to get your MVP out faster. It’s true that you can speed things up considerably, but you won’t have a shippable product in a week or two. The name Design Sprint often gets mixed up with Sprints or iterations in Scrum. We know, we were early adopters of Scrum ourselves, and when Design Sprints came around we got confused too. Design Sprints are geared towards ideas and concepts, testing them and getting insights – not about shipping products.
However, running Design Sprints will give you a lot of insights into what your customers value, what they prefer, sometimes even what they want to they wish for a first version. This in itself can help you to ship early, and avoid spending valuable time and money on building unnecessary features. In the end, you might just build the right thing faster.
#5 When you close the Design Sprint you are DONE
We’ve seen it far too many times. Some people tend to see Design Sprints as a quick way to tick off the design phase in a traditional project. The Design Sprint is not a “fire and forget” exercise. We think of it as a great way to get started, try ideas, learn fast and get everyone on the same page. At the end you’ll have plenty of insights and indications of a promising way going forward.
Here’s a short list of expectations you might run into that you probably can’t deliver on
- Production ready design
- A complete user experience, with all the corner cases covered
- Specifications done and locked, now we build it
But yes, you’ll have plenty to go on, and in many cases you can start building. Just make sure to keep experimenting and validating as you go along.
Need help setting yourself up for success? Give us a shout, we’re always happy to help