It’s been a pleasure participating in a week-long Design Sprint workshop for Zalando and one of their major retailer brands.
Every workshop is different. Each enterprise pursues different goals and faces problems of different scales. For me, it was fascinating to observe two conglomerates attempting to find a middle ground for future collaboration.
At this level, paying meticulous attention to each detail of the experience is of the utmost importance. Also, the sky is the limit when it comes to experimenting with different ideas.
Defining the sprint question directs our attention towards an examination of how to reach the long term goal.
Here’s what I learned from this Design Sprint workshop, without delving into details (NDA signed).
1. The facilitator works on keeping the team morale high and steady throughout the week.
2. At times when discussions take longer than usual, it’s often because the members of the team are confused. An intentional break is necessary here.
3. The facilitator can manage the confusion level by meddling in and interrupting the flow of the workshop. Another approach would consist of the facilitator letting go of the control he/she has over the course of action for a while. In doing so, the participants feel a sense of autonomy in challenging the course of the workshop.
4. One of the necessary actions a facilitator must accomplish early on is to establish trust with the participants.
5. During the Design Sprint workshop, especially early on, everyone may be tense and anxious. A facilitator can offset the anxiety in the room by smiling and exuding confidence.
6. It’s necessary to have an alignment session with the team leaders before the workshop to reiterate on the expectations and desired outcomes.
7. Coming up with many ideas is not difficult. Addressing the right problem is a critical challenge. The problem with falling in love with ideas is that you may design them for the sake of having more of them. Sometimes the most straightforward solutions solve the grandest challenges.
8. Always double check by asking the audience whether they understood the purpose of the exercise. Don’t start the exercise before making sure everyone understood its purpose – what we are trying to achieve.
9. Don’t be bogged down so much in the details of prototypes. What you’re after at this stage is to validate the biggest ideas. Perfecting the usability side of the design comes after when you know which idea is the right one to tackle.
10. When prototyping, you only seek the reaction of the testers. How do they respond to this unique selling point? If they say “WOW! THIS IS GREAT!”, you’re onto something.
If they didn’t even notice there was a section including a unique value offering, then that’s where your alarm should go off. Why didn’t they notice the section? It is the job of the interviewer to interrupt and verify the inaction of the testers towards the offer.
11. You want to test 3 unique selling points maximum. To test those 3 selling points, you’ll need 3 prototypes which is pretty much doable with one designer in the room. More than that and it’s too much.
Personally, I’m more comfortable with 2. Having 2 ideas on the table means you can delve deeper in the prototypes and elaborate on your value offerings sufficiently.
12. Make sure through your prototypes that you don’t BS. Everyone in this age of fast internet has honed a sophisticated BS detector to navigate through the everyday BS they bump onto on the internet.
We run Design Sprint workshops on a weekly basis for clients ranging from 5 to >1000 employees and work on a variety of challenges, from B2C to B2B to B2B2C. We are using Design Sprint to solve business, product, and marketing problems.
If your team has been arguing about a challenge for quite a while and no MEASURABLE action has been taken already, then that’s the alarming signal. Let’s talk, we’ll help you out.