Design sprint

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With a design sprint, a product doesn't need to go full cycle to learn about the opportunities and gather feedback.

A design sprint is a time-constrained, five-phase process that uses design thinking with the aim of reducing the risk when bringing a new product, service or a feature to the market. The process aims to help teams to clearly define goals, validate assumptions and decide on a product roadmap before starting development.[1] It seeks to address strategic issues using interdisciplinary expertise, rapid prototyping, and usability testing. This design process is similar to Sprints in an Agile development cycle.[2]

How it started[edit]

There are multiple origins to the concept of mixing Agile and Design Thinking. The most popular was developed by a multi-disciplinary team working out of Google Ventures. The initial iterations of the approach were created by Jake Knapp, and popularised by a series of blog articles outlining the approach and reporting on its successes within Google. As it gained industry recognition, the approach was further refined and added to by other Google staff including Braden Kowitz, Michael Margolis, John Zeratsky and Daniel Burka.[3][4]

It was later published in a book published by Google Ventures called "Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days"..

Possible uses[edit]

Claimed uses of the approach include

  • Launching a new product or a service.
  • Extending an existing experience to a new platform.
  • Existing MVP needing revised User experience design and/or UI Design.
  • Adding new features and functionality to a digital product.
  • Opportunities for improvement of a product (e.g. a high rate of cart abandonment[5])
  • Opportunities for improvement of a service.[6]
  • Supporting organizations in their transformation towards new technologies (e.g., AI).[7]
A facilitator delivering a remote design sprint workshop with participants on screen.
A facilitator delivering an remote design sprint workshop with participants on screen.


The 'understand' phase of a design sprint workshop

The creators of the design sprint approach, recommend preparation by picking the proper team, environment, materials and tools working with six key 'ingredients'.[8]

  1. Understand: Discover the business opportunity, the audience, the competition, the value proposition, and define metrics of success.
  2. Diverge: Explore, develop and iterate creative ways of solving the problem, regardless of feasibility.
  3. Converge: Identify ideas that fit the next product cycle and explore them in further detail through storyboarding.
  4. Prototype: Design and prepare prototype(s) that can be tested with people.
  5. Test: Conduct 1:1 usability testing with 5-6 people from the product's primary target audience. Ask good questions.[9]


The main deliverables after the Design sprint:

  • Answers to a set of vital questions
  • Findings from the sprint (notes, user journey maps, storyboards, information architecture diagrams, etc.)
  • Prototypes
  • Report from the usability testing with the findings (backed by testing videos)
  • A plan for next steps
  • Validate or invalidate hypotheses before committing resources to build the solution


The suggested ideal number of people involved in the sprint is 4-7 people and they include the facilitator, designer, a decision maker (often a CEO if the company is a startup), product manager, engineer and someone from companies core business departments (Marketing, Content, Operations, etc.).


The concept sprint is a fast five-day process for cross-functional teams to brainstorm, define, and model new approaches to business issue.[10][11] Another common variant is the Service Design Sprint, an approach to Design Sprints created in 2014 that uses Service Design tools and mechanics to tackle service innovation.


  1. ^ Nimmegeers, Stef. "What Is a Design Sprint: Process and Examples".
  2. ^ "Off To The Races: Getting Started With Design Sprints – Smashing Magazine". Smashing Magazine. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. ^ "The Design Sprint - GV". Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  4. ^ "The product design sprint: A five-day recipe for startups". 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2022-03-18.
  5. ^ "Why Online Retailers Are Losing 67.45% of Sales and What to Do About It – Shopify". Shopify's Ecommerce Blog - Ecommerce News, Online Store Tips & More. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  6. ^ "Service design sprints deliver speedy solutions". reminetwork. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  7. ^ "About AI Design Sprints". 33A. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  8. ^ "From Google Ventures, The 6 Ingredients You Need To Run A Design Sprint". Co.Design. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  9. ^ Matveeva, Maria (March 10, 2015). "Ask good questions". Dockyard.
  10. ^ Knapp, Jake (2016). Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days. ISBN 9781501121746.
  11. ^ Banfield, Richard (2015). Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products. ISBN 9781491923146.