Design Sprints With AJ&Smart

Defined as a “Step by step framework for solving big problems and validating ideas in 5 days”. This way you  can present a working prototype to your users, at a fraction of the time and cost, and get feedback fast!

I don’t recall when I heard about it but caught my attention. “5 days to solve big problems? OK tell me more…”

Has I googled it and found more about it, the more interested I was. The process was first developed at google as a mean to build and document step by step what became the framework. You can simple map a problem and start deconstructing it step by step to come up with an idea, and to test it with real users. Jake Knapp, known as the creator of the framework has a book on it named “SPRINT - How to solve big problems and test new ideas in five days”

To know more about design Sprints I’ve bought it and read it. There you find the entire process explained and by reading the book you can actually start doing your own design sprints. The process is well described and all exercises explained in detail.

Design Sprint, a 5 days process

You will need a multi disciplinary team of persons that are familiar to the problem in question. Make sure that everyone has a clear schedule for the 5 days so they focus on the process.

  • Day one, Map! This is the day to look at the problem and make a map of it!
  • Day two, Sketch! Each of the participants of the design sprint create possible solutions to the problem by doing sketches and wireframes.
  • Day three, Decide! Display the solutions or sketches created in the day before as in an art gallery. Then the participants vote on the solutions to find which is the best one.
  • Day Four, Prototype! Based on the sketches you create a hi fidelity mockup and prototype so you can test it with real users.
  • Day Five, Test! You will have to recruit 5 real target users to test your prototype in order for you to get feedback on your solution. Based on those tests you validate if the solution is a good fit for the problem or if you need to refine it.

By the end of the week you have made a lot of exercises to test if the solution you prototyped to your problem is a good one. And everyone that participated contributed with their know how on the problem.

Learn from the best!

There is also this company AJ&Smart, a Berlin based design sprint agency, that has a good relation with Jake Knapp. They can teach you a lot about design sprints. To know more about it, follow them in instagram and youtube where they are active and share a lot of knowledge. It’s like Jake knapp is God and AJ&Smart the preacher, spreading the word of design sprints to the world! But in a good wayThey have this idea that the more people know how to do design sprints the more the companies will be aware of the system and will be more receptive to implement it. That’s a good idea!

It’s like Jake knapp is God and AJ&Smart the preacher, spreading the word of design sprints to the world! But in a good way!

AJ&Smart also have a Masterclass and Bootcamps where they teach you in detail step by step, exercise by exercise, problem by problem! They are the best in their area and the close relation they have with Jake Knapp is a good credibility stamp! They even optimised the process from the book a cut one entire day off, making it a 4 day process. One day less can mean a lot for a company!

On their optimised process they put day one and two of the original process in to a single day. It goes like this:

  • Day one: Define the problem and set a goal, this is the time to ideate and find massive amount of solutions!
  • Day two: Vote on the best solutions. Based on the ideas or solutions created on the day before, vote on the one that is going to advance for testing.
  • Day three: Design and prototype. Well, pick your idea and all materials you have to support it, Mood boards, wireframes, storyboards… and Design your solution. After that create your prototype to test it on day four.
  • Day four: Test the prototype with 5 users. Take notes and iterate on your solution based on the information you gathered.

AJ&Smart Masterclass

I’ve done the Masterclass and don’t regret a bit, this was such a well spent money. The process is easy to learn and you can break it down to your needs and use only a few exercises and create your own sprint to solve your problems! You keep the lessons to yourself and they keep the masterclass updated .

Tip: If you register for a free webinar the usually give you a BIG discount on the price!

In a near future I'll create a few posts describing each of the exercises performed on each of the days of the design sprint.

I’ve also read a different book named "Design Sprint: A Practical Guidebook for Building Great Digital Products", by Richard Banfield, C. Tod Lombardo and Trace Wax, on the subject and found that they add some more tips & tricks that can be mixed with the Jake Knapp book. There is a lot of information on Design Sprints online, the more I read about it, the more I believe is a winning solution. These are just some notes on the subject. For more information visit the Sprint Book Website and AJ&Smart, follow them online or just google "design sprint"!

May 9, 2019
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