• CTodd LombardoCTodd Lombardo, over 4 years ago

    Hey —

    I co-authored the first Design Sprint book ( the "other less-popular" one ).

    I was at a B2B SaaS company (Constant Contact, now part of Endurance) when I wrote it, we started it because in late 2012 there was maybe one or two blog posts from Jake and the GV team about sprints. We were doing them inside a larger organization and most of the posts at the time were about design sprint in startups so we started codifying our knowledge initially to train teams internally, and that ultimately lead to converting it into a book, cookbook how-to style. (more on that journey some other time).

    I've personally led over 120 design sprints, mostly in large organizations and for a variety of topics, not just design or product, but service, technology, finance, HR, etc. We experimented with a zillion flavors of them: 1-day (too shallow), 3-day (maybe?), spread out over multiple weeks (don't bother), half-sprint (for ideation), etc in order to account for the enterprise culture of "I have no time" or "that's too much of my day." Some worked. Some didn't.

    A few things I've learned: 1) There's no magic bullet. So many people look to mechanisms like this to solve much larger problems that may be around org structure, incentives, team makeup, product/technology performance, etc.

    2) Timing: My colleague Jill Starret suggested a 10a-4p session, which worked wonders for many teams as it did take enough of the day to ensure focus, yet it allowed for individuals to still do their "day job" before and afterwards

    3) Plan, plan, plan beforehand but improvise during. Get information up front and if you don't have enough research that first day will be a mess. Do a "research sprint" ahead if you need to.

    4) Have a strong facilitator who is not a participant. Being a "Player-coach" is incredibly hard unless you have years of meeting facilitation experience.

    5) A full design sprint is rarely followed by another full design sprint, usually iterations of adjusting the prototype according to what you learned from the test, updating any assumptions you have and then testing again for what you need to learn.

    6) It's not about the outPUT of the sprint, rather it's about what you learned along the way.


    Good luck!!

    11 points
    • Jennifer Nguyen, over 4 years ago

      Thank you for the response! That definitely added clarity on how there are certain factors that have to be in place in order to breed the right environment for sprints. I definitely understand the "I have no time" enterprise mentality and it's related to your first bullet in that it points to larger organizational problems. It's definitely the spirit of design sprints that is the take-away.

      0 points