The Design Sprint
The sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. Developed at GV, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you’ll get clear data from a realistic prototype. The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.
This page is a DIY guide for running your own sprint. On Monday, you’ll map out the problem and pick an important place to focus. On Tuesday, you’ll sketch competing solutions on paper. On Wednesday, you’ll make difficult decisions and turn your ideas into a testable hypothesis. On Thursday, you’ll hammer out a high-fidelity prototype. And on Friday, you’ll test it with real live humans
Sprints are Versatile
At GV, we’ve run sprints with companies like Nest, Flatiron Health, and Medium—to help them enter new markets, design new products, develop new features for millions of users, define marketing strategies, and much more. Teams around the world have adopted sprints, and we‘re collecting their stories at SprintStories.com.
Former GV design partner Jake Knapp began running design sprints at Google in 2010. He worked with teams like Chrome, Google Search and Google X. In 2012, Jake brought sprints to GV, and the rest of the team chipped in their expertise to perfect the process.
Braden Kowitz added story-centered design, an unconventional approach that focuses on the customer journey instead of individual features or technologies. Michael Margolis took customer research—which can typically take weeks to plan and often delivers confusing results—and figured out a way to get crystal clear results in just one day. John Zeratsky helped us start at the end, and focus on measuring results with the key metrics from each business. And Daniel Burkabrought firsthand expertise as an entrepreneur to ensure every step made sense in the real world.