Digital Marketing

Design Sprint – A prototype with customer feed-backs in 5 days made possible

In a world where customer needs raise continuously and change so fast, a lot of methodologies have been created to push for more customer intimacy including early customer feed-backs. Among these methodologies we have design thinking, lean start-up, scrum… and one recently created by Google Venture is the Design Sprint. The Design Sprint is a methodology that allows teams to move from a problem to a prototype of the solution with customer feed-backs in only 5 days.

You can expect 3 types of outcome for a design sprint:

  • The value proposition is validated and the product is good to implement with minor changes based on customer feed-backs.
  • Customer feed-backs show that the team has come with some good ideas but major adaptions need to be done to answer real customer needs. In this case, a second iteration with customers is recommended.
  • No value found, the idea should be dropped.

But even if the final decision is to drop the idea this is never a loss of time. First, this was an opportunity to learn. Second, the design sprint allowed in this case to spare the significant amount of time and money that would have been required to implement the idea.

A simple equation: 5 days for 5 steps

Map: Share with the team the scope and goal of the sprint. Share customer insights – it doesn’t have to be exhaustive but enough so the team can build empathy with the customer.

Sketch: This is the divergence phase – each team member is sketching on his side looking for the proper solution for the customer.

Decide: All the proposal from the team are put together and the team is converging to one solution – it can be more than one sometimes when the team cannot fully converge but don’t forget that there is only one day to prototype.

Prototype: Makers prototype the selected solution with the support of the customer experts. Selecting the « just-enough » level of fidelity in this phase is key to have valuable customer feed-backs. For that the team needs to focus on the value proposition to make sure the prototype will be achievable in one day but representative enough of the solution proposed.

Test: To have the most relevant feed-backs you need to let the customer express himself means very few questions. At the end ask wrap up questions that will help you to understand if you should push your idea further or drop it.

The sprint is an intensive and exciting team work but this is not enough to get a successful product

BEFORE the sprint:

You need to solve the good problem and for this you need to have the customer experts elaborate the problem to solve. A good way to do this is to run Customer research and when it makes sense look at what is done also on the market to see if some successful pattern can be found.

On top of this the sprint needs to be prepared carefully – you will have only 5 days so there is no room for lack of organization:

  • Make sure all participants will be available
  • Book the proper facilities and prepare all supplies (sharpies, paperboard, post-it….)
  • Identify customers to be interviewed and schedule the interviews

AFTER the sprint:

Secure the proper resources are allocated quickly to implement the solution and have a leader identified.

Keep the momentum – why not continuing to work in sprints, either on design sprints to validate all the parts of the product before implementing them or agile sprints to test regularly the product.

When to do a design sprint

To launch a brand-new producton the market but in this case, you need to test a limited part of the product means focus on the value proposition – so design sprint in this case is more for experimented sprinters because beginners will not be able to narrow the scope enough.


To convince some key stake-holdersto invest resources and money in your project. Design sprint is a good way to convince them because you have something tangible to show and supported by customer feed-backs – this is much more powerful than a PowerPoint!


You already have a product on the market but you want to improvepart of it and more traditional way of doing it doesn’t work because the organization cannot come to a decision –  Design sprint will allow you to get something tangible on which people can align.

Are you ready to start?

Design Sprint is a very powerful method to get a successful product on the market and it is worth trying. Of course, you will probably not get it perfect the first time but don’t lose trust! Practice several times and you will see that you will shortly get it right. And of course, over the time, you will make this method yours and adapt it to your context and organization.


Le Design sprint, ou comment passer de l’idée aux utilisateurs en 5 jours– Author: Paul Dépré

Google I/O 2014 – The design sprint: from google Venture to Google[x]

Maximizing The Design Sprint– Author: Claire Mason


About the author



Fresh student of GEM eager to learn about all topics related to digital and happy to interact on this topic
2 jobs on top of this:
Digital Customer Experience Software Vice President
Mother of 2 teenager boys