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The Remote Design Sprint in 2020

Charlie Davidson
Posted by Charlie Davidson 17 Aug 2020

We understand it's not always possible to get everyone physically together. That's why we've worked hard to make remote working part of our daily life at GrowCreate.

But how can we do this for something that is naturally very collaborative, say a Design or Discovery project? How can you remotely run a Design or Discovery Sprint?

The Design Sprint

The Design Sprint solves big problems by letting you test new ideas in just five days.

Created by Google Ventures, it's become the primary tool to launch and rework products such as Facebook, Slack, and Airbnb.

You take a small team and rapidly progress from a problem to a tested solution, using a proven step-by-step checklist. In a short space of time, we can see how customers react before you invest in building the real thing.

Online whiteboard

The remote part

One of our favourite new tools is Miro.

Miro is a tool to create, collaborate, and centralise project communication online. Groups can share and edit notes in real-time together, and built-in timers keep meetings on track, while canvases give meetings structure and guidance. 

It pairs perfectly with our communication tool Microsoft Teams to run remote and online sessions which explore, design, and discover.

GrowCreate's Remote Design Sprint

So how does this practically all work?

We've taken the best parts of the Design Sprint, Miro, and our own experiences to create the GrowCreate Remote Design Sprint.

Let’s see how it works.

Setting the stage

We need to set the stage to get the most from the Design Sprint.

We start by understanding the big challenge. It could, for example, be a new website, an online portal, or extending an existing system. We need to make sure we have the right people available too, who are free to participate throughout Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

On top of this, we need to ensure:

  • We can interview three Experts from our Client's business for around 20 minutes each. Experts should be from different parts of the company to give the roundest view possible.
  • We have five of our Client's customers to prototype test. Typically, these customers should be highly engaged evangelists for our Client.

Monday

Monday is usually the most intense day as we define the challenge and produce solutions to it. We move fast. However, by the end of the day we'll have:

  • Conducted Expert Interviews which provides "How Might We" notes
  • Created a User Journey Map
  • Set a Long-Term Goal and the questions stopping us reach it
  • Facilitated group sketching on how to achieve the goal

Tuesday

Tuesday morning is about critiquing Monday's solutions and deciding which has the best chance of achieving the long-term goal. We do this through an interactive heat mapping process.

The afternoon is where we take the agreed solutions and storyboard them, ready for the GrowCreate Team to prototype them.

Wednesday

Wednesday is a non-collaborative day where GrowCreate focuses on prototyping the agreed-upon solution. So, it's head down for our Creative team, who will spend the day taking the solution concept to something users can test.

At the end of the day, we’ll have a catch-up call with our Customer, to keep them involved and show them what we’ve been doing throughout the day.

Thursday

Thursday is testing day! By this stage, we've already planned for our Client's customers to help and it's time to put it into action.

We individually interview each customer while demoing the prototype. Our Creative Director and Project Manager will do this while taking notes at the same time which we can reflect upon Friday.

Each interview will take around 30 minutes, and as with the rest of the week, we'll use a combination of Miro and Teams to facilitate the conversations. We get back together with our Client and have a debrief at the end of the day.

Friday

And just like that, we’re on Friday!

Friday is a quieter day to reflect on what we've learnt and then to prepare the next steps in refining the idea into a successful product. We do this by:

  • Creating a Product Backlog of tasks and User Stories required to implement the concept in the coming weeks.
  • Running a Retrospective to reflect on the lessons learned from the last week with our Client.