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Validating your business ideas with a Design Sprint

Krisztina Kanizsai

We all have good ideas, in many cases we also fall in love with them. But as well known, not all ideas are good ones and according to existing literature, only 6 percent of all "official" ideas and 14 percent of promising ideas that reach a development phase become commercial successes.

To minimise pitfalls, many companies (big ones and startups as well) are using Design Sprints to validate their product concepts. It provides innovation and insight on the business challenge, through the eyes of the customer. It helps you assess the viability of a new product or feature, or find new ways to tackle the flaws of an existing product in a short period of time.

What is a design sprint?

A design sprint is a design thinking method used to solve complex problems throughout co-creation, rapid prototyping, and qualitative testing with targeted users.

Jake Knapp created the Design Sprint process at Google in 2010. He took inspiration from many places, including Google's product development culture, IDEO's design thinking workshops, ideas like Basecamp's Getting Real and Atul Gawande's Checklist Manifesto, and his own experience building products like Gmail and Hangouts.

From 2010-12 at Google, Jake refined the Design Sprint with teams like Chrome, Search and Google X. In 2012, he brought Design Sprints to Google Ventures, where the rest of the team chipped in their expertise to perfect the process.

A Design Sprint is like fast-forwarding into the future, so you can see how customers react before you invest all the time and expense of creating your new product or connected service.

design sprint process

Benefits of having a design sprint in software development

Validates the needs for the product

The stage of the design sprint process is about finding out where there is demand for the proposed product, which will provide the validation and motivation necessary to complete the project.

Accelerates the decision-making process

Another benefit of design thinking in software development is that it can speed up decision-making in digital product development. Design sprints are designed to be done within a set amount of time, so it waives some of the issues that often trigger months of research. Decisions can be made referencing the result of the testing process. For example, when deciding which processing software to use, designers will look at which one can finish the job in the most efficient time.

Aligns a team around the product

When designing a new piece of software, there are bound to be disagreements. They can often cost a product time as each side argues back and forth about the pros before a decision is made. However, design sprints help align the team as each sprint stage should be completed in a set amount of time, creating focus - therefore, opportunities for indecision is reduced. A team aligns itself around the product making them better equipped to deal with any idea and product validation issues that might surface down the road, getting the whole thing ready in time is the more pressing issue.

The best thing in the design sprint is that you can not lose. It is an opportunity to validate whether you are on the right track regarding your idea in just five days. Failure might be a good result as well. Fail fast, cheap and forward! Testing with customers brings us closer to understanding their needs and wants, which is the ultimate key to success.

For more information on the benefits of having a design sprint in custom software development, or if you would like to find out more about our design sprint services, feel free to contact a member of our team at Zoosh today.

Watch our on-demand webinar: 'Design Thinking: User Experience Design' to see why design should be at the heart of software development.