My First Product Design Sprint

Last week, I had the opportunity to be part of my first product design sprint. It was an exciting, exhausting, and intense learning experience that I want to share some tidbits of.

Sprint materials

We did the sprint together with Andreas from Promoter: A Stockholm-based startup that helps game developers and publishers track press mentions and to distribute keys and promo codes to journalists.

Andreas and I were joined by Teo and Reda. Both Teo and I are developers in our Stockholm office and Reda, who facilitated the sprint, is our design director.

The goal of the sprint was to increase the number of people trying out the service after visiting the site.

Story boarding

Over the week we went through many of the exercises outlined in our Product Design Sprint guide. Here are some of my favorites:

Five Whys

The Five Whys exercise is used to dig deep into the reasons of a problem to get to the very root of it. It’s done simply by writing down a problem and then asking “Why?” five times, each time writing down a new problem based on the answers.

I found it fascinating that with some added structure, asking the same question five times can provide new insights.

Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is a short exercise to generate lots of ideas really quickly. It’s done by folding a paper in half four times to produce eight panels and then spending a maximum of five minutes filling them with really rough sketches of eight different user interaction ideas.

We did this exercise a couple of times throughout the sprint and it really helped to jump-start my creative thinking.

Silent and Group Critique

After some rounds of crazy eights we dove deeper into the details of our best deas with the Story Boarding exercise, sketching out flows through the UI.

We followed up on this with both silent and group critique. During the silent critique everyone posted their ideas on the wall. We then individually looked at all of them, putting dot stickers on parts we found interesting or had questions about; this made some of the ideas really stand out.

Silent critique

We went through all the parts with dot stickers as a group, asking everyone what they liked about them.

This way all voices were heard.

Summing Up

As a developer, taking part in a product design sprint was enlightening; it taught me new things about design thinking, introduced me to exercises to help channel my creativity, and showed me new ways of approaching problems.

After the first days, I also had a solid understanding of the product and the problem it was solving. I would have no trouble jumping onto the project, making informed decisions about implementation and prioritization while building out features and squashing bugs.

Having developers take part in product design sprints is also beneficial to the sprints since it diversifies the perspectives and allows for valuable feedback that can avoid wasting time testing out technically unfeasible solutions.

Scribbling on a board

We think product design sprints are an effective and efficient way to learn and to validate ideas and concepts. Therefore, we’d like to do more of them in Stockholm. If you think it sounds interesting, get in touch!