How to prepare for a design sprint

Design Sprints are a form of sprint marketing defined as being a fast-paced method of digitally prototyping a new product without fully committing to it’s launch. They can be extremely helpful when testing against a target market for any flaws or required improvements without the huge financial investment.

However, due to the process being so refined and fast-moving, preparation could not be more important. In this blog we will discuss how to prepare for a design sprint, as well as what makes a good design sprint.

How to prepare for a design sprint

If completed by an experienced  design sprint agency, a design sprint can save vital time and capital for a client, and can provide clarity as to whether launching the product is a good idea or not.

Below is a list of steps that we advise you follow when preparing for your design sprint:

1.   Research the problem:

The first step in preparing for your design sprint is to research the target market, investigating whether the problem actually even has a demand to be resolved. This is important research because if the problem is niche or small, the target market may not even be interested in the product, therefore making it not financially viable.

Additionally, if the problem is very small, or not that relevant to the market, finding team members who are willing to dedicate such an intense period of time to the project will also be difficult.

Examples of information you should gather includes:

  • User research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Market share
  • Company data from your client

This information will help you develop a clear understanding of your client’s goals and whether their goals are worth completing a design sprint. This step can also take some time so planning some time into your schedule to even complete this initial research is important in terms of preparing for your design sprint.

2.   Create a design sprint brief:

To prepare for the design sprint process, you need to write an in-depth design brief which specifies exactly what the problem is, and what goal you are aiming to achieve. This document is important for keeping the design sprint on track, and ensuring that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the problem you are aiming to resolve.

This design brief needs to be written and agreed upon with the company who are hiring you to complete your sprint marketing, therefore it is important to schedule in time for this when preparing for your design sprint process too.

3.    Choosing your design sprint team:

Selecting the correct candidates for your design sprint team is a key part of the preparation process because it sets you up to have all the tools you need in order to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.

Your design sprint team should include people with all of the expertise that you require to fulfil the design sprint brief. A typical team has between 4 and 7 members as this ensures that there are enough people to meet the technical requirements, but not too many to overcrowd the team and cause friction.

Choosing the correct candidates for your team is even more important in a remote design sprint because the team members need to be able to collaborate and communicate via video calls without it negatively affecting the outcome of the sprint marketing process.

Examples of the ideal candidates for your design brief team include:

  • UX Designer
  • Product Manager
  • Engineer/ Developer
  • Marketer
  • User Expert
  • Finance expert (if finance is involved)

4.   Schedule testing and recruit testers:

The final stage of preparing for a design sprint is to organise and schedule the testing stage. The testing stage of the process is normally on the final day of the design sprint, but organising it and recruiting the testers beforehand can save vital time for the team.

Furthermore, you need to give your prospective testers a good amount of notice beforehand to ensure that you end up with a large enough sample size to inform your final report.

The last thing you want is to have prepared everything for the design sprint process, started problem solving and designing with your team, and then the momentum comes to a halt because you don’t have enough testers.

4 Stages of a design sprint and how it works:

Despite being a fast-paced and intense process, the stages to a design sprint are very clear. Below are the four main stages of the design sprint process put into a daily schedule.

  • Day 1 – Define problems, identify barriers, brainstorm solutions
  • Day 2 – Decide on a solution & create a storyboard on how to achieve it
  • Day 3 – Design and build a prototype to solve the problem(s)
  • Day 4 – Users test the prototype and analyse the data

These four stages encompass months of designing, research and testing into a four day period to help find a solution to the initial problem. By the end of the process the client should have a clear understanding of the solution and how it performed with the target market.

For more information on the four stages of the design sprint process click here.


What makes a good design sprint?

A good design sprint is one that always focuses on solving the initial problem. Ensuring that your team understands the brief from the very beginning and doesn’t go off tangent is what makes a good design sprint.

Due to the design sprint being such an intense four day process, there is no room for wasting time veering off track, so having the correct team members who are focused on the initial problem is important too.

A good design sprint is also one which provides detailed data at the end for the client. Having multiple potential solutions for the problem is great but not if they haven’t been tested properly under the right circumstances to collate a sufficient amount of data.

The purpose of the design sprint process is to test whether the prototype would work if properly launched, so ensuring you can provide data that has evidence to back up your findings is imperative to the success of a design sprint.

PixelTree Design Sprints: 

PixelTree is a team of digital experts who support businesses to create exceptional digital experiences through thorough research, testing and analysis. We provide a highly efficient and results driven Design Sprint Process which is aimed at helping you solve any digital problem.

For more information about our design sprint process get in touch.