Over many years of experience and numerous projects delivered to our clients, we have learned that a good product idea and execution aren’t enough in today’s world. To succeed, you’ll need to answer critical business questions through research, design, prototyping and testing – all this with a user-centered approach in mind. So we introduced Product Design Sprints, a series of workshops based on Google Design Sprints. Read more and learn how a product design sprint can help you launch a better product.
At Netguru, we run over 60 concurrent projects every year, the vast majority of which involve design services. We wanted to be sure we use a battle-tested process that worked for many teams around the world but tweaked it so that it can also answer more high-level problems that lots of startup founders don’t think of when starting their journey.
Who can benefit from a Product Design Sprint?
A Product Design Sprint is a perfect idea not only for clients who have already had some experience with various kinds of design services for their products. Our workshops differ from each other depending on the problem our clients are facing at the moment. We always meet in advance to get a better understanding whether they:
- have a rough idea for a product or a problem to solve - have a product and want to identify pain points to enhance it - have a product and want to invest in new, more complex features
After that, we prepare our workshops individually for each project and adjust the exercises so that our ‘sprint’ can give as much value as possible to our clients. Sometimes, it means putting more emphasis on the product's Value Proposition, because the client wants so many features that we think they lost focus on the core purpose of the product. In other cases, we focus on specific features or analyse current user journeys to spot any pain points and work together on finding solutions.
What does the process look like?
A Design Sprint consists of 5 days, and each day corresponds to another stage of solving the problem. In a nutshell, the stages are as follows:
Understand: What are the user needs, business needs and technology capacities? What is the key strategy? What is the focus?
Diverge: How can we explore as many ideas as possible?
Converge: Select the best ideas so far.
Prototype: Create an artifact that allows testing the ideas with users.
Test: Test the ideas with users, business stakeholders and technical experts
We adjust the workshops to our clients’ needs. Sometimes, we even make them shorter to focus mainly on the first three phases.
Usually, in such sprints, we provide a Project Manager and a Product Designer, who heads the workshop and acts as a mentor. We also ask our developers to attend if we feel like we need a reality check on our ideas. You wouldn’t believe how eager developers can be to attend those workshops!
Depending on the purpose of the workshops and the initial problem to solve the client will: - identify and choose stakeholders that have the most influence on the project and its success, - get a better understanding of users’ problems, needs, motivations and expectations, - generate as many solutions for users’ problems as possible, - analyze the user paths of current solutions, spot weak points and use it as a competitive advantage, - get a better understanding of the costs of the business and all the key partners they have have to team up with when building their product, - sketch and prototype solutions and validate them during the test phase.
What does the client get after the workshop?
At the end of the sprint, the client gets a better understanding of users’ problems and multiple ideas on how to solve them. We prepare a detailed report of the workshops with all materials and canvases digitized. The report also contains suggestions in which way the product should go. Additionally, the clients usually get a working lo-fi prototype for some of our user stories, which they can test later.
If a client decides to build a product with us they'll also get:
- a project roadmap, broken down into phases - pre-defined tasks for each phase ready for developers to start their work.