Product Discovery Playbook

Validate ideas quickly with

Design Sprint

Design Sprint

What is a

Design Sprint

?

A Design Sprint is a time constrained, five phase process that uses design thinking to reduce the risk when bringing a new product, service or feature to the market. 

  • A Design Sprint 2.0 takes product teams from hypothesis to usability tested prototype in just four days
  • During a Design Sprint, the team works to improve the experience for a specific user group performing a specific task with the goal of reaching a desired, measurable outcome
  • Design Sprints have shown to save up to 7x time spent and
2x budget spent compared to the normal way of working
  • Success stories include companies winning tenders without writing a single line of code, drastically improving their customer satisfaction metrics and increasing their UX and innovation maturity as a result of sprints

Design Sprint

process

Bringing together a cross-functional team for an intense week of ideation, prototyping, and validation of potential solutions to a specific challenge.

Design Sprint
1. Understand
On the first we stay in the problem space, challenging our understanding of the problem.
Design Sprint
2. Ideate
On the second day we gather inspiration, ideate and sketch solutions together.
Design Sprint
3. Prototype
On the third day we turn the most voted sketches into a prototype and prepare to meet the users.
Design Sprint
4. Test
On the fourth and final day we test the prototype with users and round off the sprint together.

Design Sprint achievements

Highlighting some of our most significant outcomes from Design Sprints to date.

400 kEUR ARR

Deal for at least 8 years without writing a single line of code.
Product
Idella
Problem to solve
The Dutch government invited Idella to join a tender for an Unemployment Benefits Portal.
Process
8 people and 4 days of brainstorming, sketching, prototyping and then presenting to the government.

+20 pNPS

pNPS increase from -21 to +20
Product
Recruit
Problem to solve
The team saw that their pNPS kept falling and new they needed to break the trend.
Process
7 people and 4 days of brainstorming, sketching, prototyping and finally usability testing with recruiters.

+3 customers

gained new customers the week after the sprint
Product
Visma Real Estate
Problem to solve
The teams needed to merge two products into one, helping settlement workers prioritise tasks and save time.
Process
7 people and 4 days of brainstorming, sketching, prototyping and finally usability testing with settlement workers.

What makes a good North Star?

It expresses value
We can see why it matters to customers
It’s actionable
We can take action to influence it
It’s not a vanity metric
We can be confident that the change is meaningful and valuable
It’s a leading indicator of success
It predicts future results, rather than reflecting past results
It’s understandable
Language that non-technical partners can understand
It represents vision and strategy
Our company’s product and business strategy are reflected in it
It’s measurable
We can instrument our product to track it

Run a Design Sprint

A Design Sprint is a time constrained, five phase process that uses design thinking to reduce the risk when bringing a new product, service or feature to the market.

Research shows that Design Sprints enables teams to save 7x the time and 2x the budget compared to their normal way of working. Success stories include companies winning tenders without writing a single line of code, drastically improving their customer satisfaction metrics and increasing their UX and innovation maturity as a result of sprints.

Infinity symbol icon
Understand, Define, Prototype, Validate
Clock icon
4 days
Users icon
Product Manager and/or Product Owner (Decider), Business Analyst, UX Designer, Developer, Quality assurer, Support, Marketing, Sales, Integration consultant
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 
Before

1. Plan the Design Sprint. Before going into a Design Sprint, we encourage you to use our Design Sprint planning template (make a copy) to settle on the Sprint Challenge, Sprint participants, when the Sprint should take place and which experts and users to book.

2. Settle on a Sprint Challenge. A Sprint Challenge should clearly state which user group you are targeting, which main task you are looking to enable them to do or improve for them and what the desired outcome is. The desired outcome should be measurable. Examples include saving the users time, improving the customer effort score and similar.

3. Book experts and users. Once you have settled on the Sprint Challenge and the intended target group, it is time to book experts and users. Experts can be e.g. internal domain experts, experts within regulations or processes, members of the support team or, if you need to understand the customers and end-users better, they can also be customers and/or end-users. It depends on what you need to learn. As for the users, they should be a diverse group focused on the people that will perform the new and/or improved task. The Design Sprint planning template includes a day-by-day schedule where you will find recommended time slots. 

During

4. Follow the day-by-day schedule for Design Sprint 2.0, for instance using our Mural template which contains all the recommended exercises in chronological order. 

  • Day 1: Understand. The first day is mainly spent interviewing experts, ensuring we have framed our Sprint Challenge correctly and mapping out the optimal user journey. 
  • Day 2: Sketching. The second day is mainly spent sketching ideas and voting for the best foundation based on the optimal user journey. The sketches are then used to create a storyboard to make sure all steps of the user journey are covered. 
  • Day 3: Prototyping and test preparations. The third day is spent in two groups. One group prepares for usability testing by creating a test script (make a copy) and setting up a scorecard (make a copy). The second group creates the prototype based on the most voted sketches from day two. All team members also make sure to go through some tips and tricks for user interviews and usability testing. The two groups have prototype check-ins throughout the day to make sure that details in the test script and prototype match.
  • Day 4: Usability testing. The fourth day is spent usability testing the prototype with five users. One team member facilitates each test, while the other team members take notes and answer the sprint and prototype questions in the scorecard. The team finishes the day with a short retrospective, going through their key findings and what they should focus on next week. 

After

5. Follow up on the outcome. On top of the short retrospective, we encourage teams to meet up and have a more thorough discussion around the sprint outcome and next steps. 

6. Iterate the prototype if needed. One of the first things many teams do after a design sprint is to update the prototype based on the feedback. If changes are big, we encourage teams to run a few more usability tests. If changes are minor, that might not be needed. 

7. Create tasks in Jira. Once the prototype is ready, teams can move on to development as they would with other features. 

Tips
  • It can be challenging to run a Design Sprint for the first time. Teams are welcome to request help from Product Discovery Hub. It can be a great way to learn and become self-sufficient. 
  • It can be challenging to analyse feedback. We encourage teams to try methods like Thematic analysis (link) and Prioritisation canvas (link) to do it. 

Templates

Ultimately, the choice of design tool depends on the specific needs of the designer and the project at hand. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses, and designers must consider factors such as cost, ease of use, and collaboration features when selecting the best tool for their needs.

Design Sprint 2.0 board

Follow this day-by-day exercise schedule for a meaningful and efficient Design Sprint.

Tool recommendations

Ultimately, the choice of design tool depends on the specific needs of the designer and the project at hand. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses, and designers must consider factors such as cost, ease of use, and collaboration features when selecting the best tool for their needs.

Mural

Mural

Mural offers both a shared workspace and training, a practical way to collaborate that anyone can learn and apply.
Figma

Figma

Figma connects everyone in the design process so teams can deliver better products, faster.
Google Docs

Google Docs

Create, and collaborate on online documents. Edit together with secure sharing in real-time and from any device.
Google Sheets

Google Sheets

Create and edit online spreadsheets. Get insights together with secure sharing in real-time and from any device.
Google Meet

Google Meet

Real-time meetings using your browser, share your video, desktop, and presentations with teammates and customers.
Design Sprint

Is your success story next?

Success stories

Knowledge is meant to be shared. Explore the cards below to learn more about how companies around Visma have leveraged their teams to work better with turning data into insights.

Design Sprint

How to win a €3.2 million deal without writing a single line of code

Design Sprint

From Mockup to pNPS UP in Visma Recruit

Design Sprint

How to drive innovation and transform a team in 4 days

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