When (and When Not) to Do a Design Sprint

In this section, we explore why design sprints make sense for product design work. As risk is an inherent part of any project, we’ll discuss why design sprints can improve your chances for success and reduce your risk of failure. This management of project risk also extends to how you align your team and the outcomes. This chapter describes ways to get everyone on the same page, even when you have a team made up of several diverse representatives. We’ll also discuss when a design sprint isn’t your best option. As we’ve said before, there is no magic wand in the design process, so it’s important to know when not to use these techniques and approaches. When projects lack a purpose or a raison d’être, they can be doomed to failure, even when you have a solid framework like the design sprint.

Why Do a Design Sprint?

To be successful in creating digital products, you must reduce your risk of failure, but it’s nearly impossible to eliminate risk completely. Traditionally, design leads have tried planning their way out of that conundrum, only to find that no amount of planning can guarantee an outcome. Our gray hairs stand testimony to the failure of Waterfall and even Agile project management. To maximize the chances of building something people want, we need to create the most minimal way to test that without expending too many resources.

At Constant Contact, C. Todd facilitated a four-day design sprint for the mobile team with a premise to include ...

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