Design sprint

A design sprint is a time-constrained process that aims to rapidly discover issues through user testing and interviews, concept prototyping and idea validation in order to reduce the risk of bringing to market.

A design sprint is typically a five-day workshop process to discover challenges and brainstorm opportunities for a product or service.

The number of participants for the sprint should be around seven and involve decision-makers from each business area or people with a technical focus. Ideally, a typical user or customer expert is included in the process, from the start, to give their perspective on the ideas that will be uncovered. 

At the end of day one, we invite these experts from across the business for half-hour interviews. Participants are asked not to bring phones or laptops into the sprint. There is time allowed to check emails at set intervals during the session, but it is important that focus is maintained at all other times.

We recommend that sprints are conducted at an off-site location to help avoid distractions. MiC can provide costs for sourcing workshop and interview locations if required. One member of MiC facilitates the activity, with an additional member in attendance to support the setup.

A design sprint project

Step 1: Preparation (completed remotely)

  • Define objectives for the activity
  • Define the principles to be transcribed onto posters
  • Calls with project stakeholders to review business considerations
  • Identify sprint participants, this should ideally include a typical user
  • Gather experts for day one and subjects for lighting demos on day two
  • Define customer profile(s) for day five testing

Step 2: The sprint 

Day one: Definition (off site 10am – 4pm)

  • Set a long-term goal
  • List out questions and concerns
  • Map the process of achieving the goal
  • Create ‘How we might’ statements, organise and vote
  • Ask experts: 30 minutes per expert to broaden the knowledge without bloating the sprint team

Day two: Conceptualisation (off site 10am – 4pm)

  • Review of ideas
  • Lightning demonstrations: 15 minutes per identified concept
  • Solution sketches: rapid sketching in groups

Day three: Prioritisation and user journey mapping (off site 10am – 4pm)

  • Prioritise sketches
  • Vote and decide on prototypes to work up
  • Expand on idea/ideas into user journey: this will be visualised as a storyboard

Day four: Prototype development (prepared remotely)

  • Make it Clear to work up defined user journey into a testable format
  • Interview script to be defined

Day five: Validation (off site 10am – 4pm)

Ideally, the location for this is an observed lab. A member conducts the interview/test with the other sprint members overseeing and documenting results.

  • Gather user feedback via testing session
  • Identify patterns

Step 3: Reporting 

  • Report on the design sprint
  • Outline the next steps after the design sprint has identified them


May 4, 2020

How to run a remote design sprint

This guide outlines all of the steps involved in setting up and running a remote design sprint, detailing what is involved or required for each step.

April 28, 2020

Can a remote design sprint work?

With COVID-19 still affecting the way businesses can operate, can you run a design sprint remotely? The answer is yes.