Design Sprint

Sprint methodology can be summarized in four words: excellent creative collaboration.
The method is created to help teams arrive at concrete concepts in record time. It contains practical tools and exercises to define the problem, develop ideas, validate solutions and make decisions.

Sprint methodology is a flexible working method that any team can use to:

  • get laser focus around an issue
  • work effectively together to create creative solutions
  • agree on a solution and the way forward
The method was created through Design Sprint but is used today to create:

  • concepts (Concept Sprint)
  • Strategies (Strategy Design Sprint)
  • brands (Brand Sprint)
  • marketing campaigns (Lean Marketing Sprint)
  • innovation strategies (Innovation Sprint)
  • Growth Sprint
The content varies in these processes, but the philosophy and principles behind it are the same.

The Philosophy Behind Sprint Methodology

  • brain
    We invest our thinking power in what is essential
    The less you need to think about how the collaboration should occur; the team can use more thinking power for the task itself. Sprinters are concrete step-by-step processes that are carefully thought out, and acid tested. They enable a group to save a lot of time and energy because they do not have to plan how the collaboration will work through the sprint. Then the sprinters can use all their thinking power to understand problems, come up with ideas, and make decisions.
  • structure
    We attach knowledge to a framework.
    If we attach knowledge about how we collaborate effectively and focus on a framework, this knowledge will be more easily accessible. For an expert, a sprint within the expert's core subject area may not be so exciting. Still, for everyone else, a sprint made by an expert will allow them to work almost as efficiently as the expert by following the process. This process makes the expert knowledge available to more people, and it can be more easily spread within organizations.
  • focus
    We stay focused and avoid unnecessary work.
    In a sprint, you start by deciding together a focus for the sprint. The exercises are designed to remember the direction along the way so that unnecessary ideas and discussions do not arise. All the activities are based on each other and are carefully thought out so that the process is streamlined and you do minimal unnecessary work.
  • monitoring
    We learn from the market through iterations.
    In most sprints, we make a hypothesis, do an experiment and learn to decide how forward. Whether it's about creating a user experience, a strategy, or growth, we know best by quickly testing our hypotheses in the market. This concept is well suited in today's uncertain world, primarily when we work with new ideas and creative projects. The key is to sprint through several iterations and adjust the course until you have found a concept that the market has validated.

Five Guiding Principles

The sprint methodology is based on five principles:
  • It is more important to
    get started than to be right
    Instead of waiting until everyone agrees that everything is "perfect" before we can continue, we make decisions, move on and test our ideas quickly.


    When you create something new, no one knows in advance what is right. You get straight through iterations: fast prototyping and testing of solutions with real users and adjusting the course accordingly.
  • We work together, alone
    We sit in the same room, but work mostly alone. Participants have time to think through their own ideas, without being disturbed by others.


    Because it is more effective for people to think at the same time than for one person to think (talk) at a time. Then the ideas become more thoughtful and introverts get more leeway.
  • Everything happens on time
    Instead of letting each task "take the time it takes", we set clear time limits for each task and use a visual timer so that everyone can see how much time is left.


    Because clear time constraints make people drop unnecessary talk and focus on the most important things, so that we use our time better and achieve more in the time we have.
  • Action over discussion
    Instead of discussing and trying to convince others of our own point of view, we let the ideas speak for themselves by writing, sketching, and showing concrete examples.


    To avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary discussions.
  • Structure gives creativity
    Instead of expecting each person to "feel" creative at the right time, we use a structured process to generate ideas.


    Because creativity is unpredictable, person-dependent and depends on the form of the day.
There are no literally boundaries to what you could use the sprint methodology for. We have facilitated sprinters, among other things, to:
  • redesign a festival
  • redesign an internal organizational structure
  • design a learning journey for an online course
  • design internal systems for sales
  • design more than 20 different products and services

Why use sprint methodology?

  • Create and validate solutions faster
    72% of all new products and services fail. The products often fail due to low adoption by users or low willingness to pay. The key to success lies in validating their ideas with real users as quickly as possible.
  • Do not waste time and resources before testing your ideas
    Many teams spend months building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) before validating their solutions with users. The construction always takes longer than expected, which often makes this startup phase expensive and painful. The startup phase is usually considerably faster when using the sprint methodology. Using the sprint methodology, you understand the problem, create many solutions, and build and test a realistic prototype, all in potentially only four days.
  • Ideas are not worth much. And It is an action that counts
    No company in the world has an idea problem. They often have walls full of ideas. What they have is an action problem. The sprint methodology is a system that takes you from concept to action and helps the team work together in their most effective and creative way.

When should one use design sprint?

When you want
  • get fast results
  • align the team in a common direction
  • accelerate progress at the start of a project
  • reduce the risk associated with user needs
But not when
  • one has challenges of lower importance
  • one has strong faith in the proposed solution
  • the concept is already shaped
  • the challenge is too broad
  • you can do it yourself / alone
Design Sprint is good for the following problems:
  • Important - so the resources you spend on the sprint will be worth it
  • user-related - so that the solutions can be validated through user tests
  • limited - so that you can test the resolution of approx. 15 min in total

What is a Design Sprint?

Design Sprint is the core of the framework that makes up the sprint methodology. It's a recipe for how a team can go from a problem to testing solutions with real users in just four days. The method is based on the theory behind Design Thinking and Lean Startup. The difference is that it is faster and more concrete. It is a shortcut that allows you to go from idea to learning without developing anything.

After a sprint, your team will be gathered and focused on the right track for a product or service. In addition, you will have reduced the risk and accelerated the progress of the project, all in just four days.

The Design Sprint process includes over 20 exercises, all of which are hand-picked from Design Thinking, service design, and strategy - put together in an efficient step-by-step recipe that has been tested and improved hundreds of times.

Design Sprint works as a framework that can be used in smaller and larger formats, in shorter and longer projects, with different types of issues. It gives the team a recipe that enables faster and more efficient progress in the startup phase.


Where does Design Sprint come from?

The goal of the sprint process is to convert vague ideas about "what's wrong" and "will function X solve it?", To concrete solutions that you can test with users.
The creator of Design Sprint, Jake Knapp, swore to group brainstorming until a colleague at Google dared to ask the burning question after a group brainstorming session: How do we know it works?

His mission was clear: to design a process that combines the benefits of group work (an interdisciplinary team covers several disciplines) with the services of independent work (go in-depth with each individual and create very detailed solutions to problems).

He took the best exercises he knew from Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and service design and tried to put this together in one working week, which ended with a user test of the concept they had come up with. That way, they could go through an entire iteration cycle in record time. Thus, Design Sprint was born.

Later, the process has been improved hundreds of times, first internally in Google and later with startups in Google Ventures' portfolio.

The Design Sprint method was then a five-day process for testing ideas and solving complex problems. The principle behind it was simple: it's more important to get started than to be correct.

The goal of the sprint process is to convert vague ideas about "what's wrong" and "will function X solve it?", To concrete solutions that you can test with users.

Updates of Design Sprint
In 2017, the German design agency AJ & Smart Design made Sprint 2.0 because they discovered that they could cut a whole day from the process and get the same result. In addition, we optimized the process to work better for larger organizations that may not have the opportunity to set aside an entire week. In this variant, the whole group only needs to participate for two days.

Design Sprint at BlueRoad

Since the Design Sprint book was published in 2016, the process has been improved by several players worldwide, including BlueRoad. BlueRoad Design Sprint contains all these improvements, in addition to our progress. This thing allows you to sprint faster and with better results. Here are the three most important improvements:

  • The mapping exercise used to be complicated. In the improved version, we work alone together and vote the map how most people in the group want it. It's a timesaver!
  • Previously, we used to note insights from the user tests on post-its and hang them on the wall. We now use the Sprint Scorecard - a way to gather user insight using Google Sheets. This approach saves us time when we collect insight after a Sprint.
  • We also improved the workshop templates to make our work even more effective.
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