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Facilitators should be given appropriate amount of time, typically about a day, to accomplish all the tasks in this document.

Establish roles for the sprint

Facilitator(s) Leads the exercises and discussion during the design sprint. Since this is a demanding role, it can be two people rotating in and out.

Recorder In charge of the documentation for the sprint.

Product Owner The person that has final say for the product. Typically our client.

Review design sprint documentation and schedule

Typically done by the Facilitator(s).

Review design sprint documentation to plan a schedule that is specific to the project or feature set.

Gather existing research and information

Typically done by the Product Owner.

Gather learning from research or previous product design sprints and put it into a format that can be shown to the whole team.

Capture existing competition

Typically done by the Product Owner.

Capture competition that solves the same or similar problem that the sprint is trying to solve. This should include lowest common denominator competitors such as email and offline tools.

Set up room

Owned by Facilitator(s) with the support of Operations.

Make sure you have a room big enough to fit all of the people in the sprint. The room would have a whiteboard and a place to pin or tape up sketches. Reserve the rooms needed for the sprint, including any rooms needed for testing.

Buy supplies needed for sprint

Owned by Facilitator(s) with the support of Operations.

  • Sharpies
  • Post-its
  • Blank sheets of Printer paper
  • Whiteboard markers
  • Circle vote stickers
  • Easel Pad


Owned by Facilitator(s) with the support of Operations.

We believe it's important to not have working lunches. Instead get out of the room that the sprint is taking place and break from work. This allows us to rest the brain, maybe get some fresh air, and interact with teammates and clients.

We typically order lunch delivery for each day of in-person sprints:

  • Sprints are demanding and it takes weight off of the team.
  • It saves us time during busy days navigating lunch rush.
  • Having lunch together with the client builds trust and helps establish stronger relationships.

Set expectations for the outcome for the sprint

Make sure everyone understands that the outcome of the sprint is highly variable – the only failure is not learning. Some examples of potential outcomes:

  • Validated prototype

Hurray! Gather everyone together to get on the same page about the fixes and tweaks you need to make. Make any small changes to the prototype to reflect the learning that did happen. Create a backlog for designers and developers to start diving into the most important features.

  • Some big questions

A common outcome after testing; a few hits, a few tweaks, and a couple of real head-scratchers. You can move fast on the tweaks, but you'll want to come up with new solutions for the pieces that were invalidated. For those solutions, it might be best to jump into another partial design sprint.

  • Invalidated solution

We've seen a lot of designs go up in flames, and that's OK. You learned that something didn't work, and it only took you a few hours to build it. This is great progress, and very cheap relative to building and launching a full product. Think what would have happened if you'd spent weeks or months implementing this solution! Start your next sprint back at the drawing board, building off of the learning that happened during the last sprint.

Schedule 4–6 people for interviews / usability tests

Typically done by Product Owner.

During Test phase, we'll be running user interviews and showing the prototype to 4–6 people. If users are already identified, we should set up the interviews as early as possible. If users aren't identified yet, we should hold off till after Understand phase.

Send out Pre-Sprint Setup Email

Typically done by the Advisor.

Notify all members of the sprint to set up the expectation of anything that they need to complete before the sprint and what to expect during the sprint.

Talk to one of our product experts about building success into your process.