What is a Design Sprint, how does it work, and what are the benefits

What is a Design Sprint, how does it work, and what are the benefits?

Design Sprint allows you to create digital products in just 5 days. If you are interested, you might someday be familiar with the term or use it in your product development. Explore how this agile methodology works, how it can be applied to product development, and how it can benefit your business.

You're probably familiar with the term "Design" or have encountered it in some product development context. "Sprint" complements it and refers to a methodology that has gained many followers in recent years for being smart and fast: everything happens in just five days — conceptualization, ideation, feature creation, and implementation testing.

Do you want to learn more about this process, what it is used for, how it can be used in your product, and how it can help your business? Let's go!

What exactly is a Design Sprint?

The name "Design Sprint" is a combination of two words that express a lot about how the method works: design (related to design, construction, and drawing) and sprint (related to speed). Google Ventures, Alphabet Inc, and Google's venture capital investment division developed the methodology to streamline and validate projects before more significant investments of time and other resources. It is now one of the most popular methodologies worldwide.

What is the Design Sprint methodology?

The Design Sprint methodology brings together several professionals in a short period and with intense work, focusing for five days on the criticism and development of a project in a practical and user-centered manner.

The Design Sprint's role in product development is to act in the creation, ideation, and construction of the product, as well as the prevention and anticipation of improvement points before the final product's implementation.

There are stages of planning, prototyping, and testing within the methodology, with excellent interaction, usefulness, and collaboration. The methodology is completed in one week.

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A Design Sprint methodology is used in each of the five days we will talk about now, and different activity is carried out each day.

Monday: understanding

The methodology will begin on day 1 with everything that comes into contact with the project, such as definitions, objectives, externals, what team members know and think about the intended product, etc.

At this point, questions and activities that facilitate understanding of the final project should be proposed at all times so that it can be developed successfully.

It is also necessary to raise concerns about issues such as follow-up measurements and what the pains and needs of the product will look like.

2 people applying the initial steps for a design sprint

This is already a manager's interpretation of a large number of exchanges, primarily between the profiles of those involved, that the knowledge and point of contact will most likely differ from a designer, who will, in turn, have different looks and insights from a developer, for example.

Tuesday: divergence

Explore ideas! This is what day 2 is all about. However, it is essential to note that this phase is not the same as brainstorming, in which the entire team gathers and discusses ideas.

Indeed, as part of the Design Sprint methodology proposal, the best ideas and solutions individually differentiate themselves in the type of work that they know how to develop better based on their experiences and expertise, with their experiences and competencies within the part that is incumbent on them. If the chosen part of the project is too long, each person is in charge of one session.

However, this is not a rule; people can draw the same part individually. Following that, the group shares their experiences. As a result, only the ideas that best fit the product are proposed.

Wednesday: decisions

During day three of the Design Sprint, decisions are made, and details such as storyboards and user journey maps are created. This is the day when you start to turn your ideas into a testable project. By the end of the day, you should have a clear idea of what you’re going to build, how it will work, and who will create it. This is an important day, as it’s when the team will start to solve complex problems and build better products. If you’re facing a big challenge, consider using a Design Sprint to help you find a solution.

Thursday: prototyping

The hands-on stage is day four. Early in the day, responsibilities and obligations such as deadlines and commitments should be planned and, in this case, the productivity of professionals on the team must be at its peak for solutions to be created.

A portion of the team is in charge of developing the prototype, while another is creating the scripts and tests for the final phase.

Professionals are required for all aspects of the project in question, with at least one person in each role: designer, writer, asset collector (who ensures that everything produced is ready for the next step), stitcher (in charge of putting all the puzzle pieces together), and interviewer (who prepares tests, interviews, and product demonstrations).

2 guys prototyping a solution

At the start of the day, each professional must work independently and intensely on their responsibility. Then the parts are added to create the complete version, based on the characteristics of each project and team. The testable prototype must be ready and tested by the end of the workday. Let's move on to the next stage!

Friday: validations

The Design Sprint process concludes on day 5 with a testing phase to validate what has been developed throughout the week. The process and test results must also be documented here. The team in charge of developing the prototype presents the product, and the team in charge of developing the tests begins to run them with potential users.

Team validating a solution

In the end, there will be a prototype version of the product that has been tested by users and will provide necessary directions for the project's continuation.

This step ensures that the solution is put into practice and allows the user to interact with the product, generating doubts, feedback, and the possibility of identifying areas for improvement.

The work, of course, does not stop there! The first week is only the beginning of a new project. The critical turn is also crucial. If the team works at full speed during Design Sprint days, the pace should slow down in subsequent development based on everything raised thus far. They are distinct stages that necessitate specific mindsets.

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How does the Design Sprint work in product development?

You now understand how the Design Sprint works and what happens each day specified by the methodology. If you work with product development, you must have already imagined how it can be applied in constructing a system, product, or technological solution, right?

Happy team applying design sprint

The steps can be aligned, ideas raised, and doubts discussed in an agile manner by bringing together professionals such as the product manager, designers, UX writers, and engineers. The involvement of other specialists - as the methodology refers to the professionals - is critical. Assume the product developed is in the field of public transportation.

In this case, it is essential to include the person in charge of the drivers, a specialist in urban planning, and so on. The user has been at the forefront of the system's development since its inception.

Furthermore, it is possible to have a prototype tested and faithful to the product intended to be developed over weeks or months within a week. It is also unnecessary to wait for the MVP to increase hit and improvement points (which does not mean that the MVP will not be developed later or that new insights will not emerge during this other phase).

Here are some Design Sprint methodology points that can be adapted for product development to produce even better results:

Preliminary alignment meetings with the client

⁠These may be required before beginning the Design Sprint week.

Receive as much information about the project

⁠It is also crucial that all parties involved get the info they need in advance so that the team understanding and definition phase can be completed by day one.

Get together and know the team you are working with

⁠Suppose this is the team's first time working on a project guided by the Design Sprint. In that case, it may be helpful to take a preliminary step so that everyone is familiar with the methodology, scope, and deadlines for the first week.

This isn't a brainstorming session

⁠It is important to remember that the methodology is not designed for that. If this is a common practice for your team, they may resist or struggle with the new model.

Develop documentation for all phases

⁠It is critical for the team to do this during the first Design Sprint projects, as it will be transformed into models that can be used and improved with each project, making the phases within the new experiences even more agile and accurate.

Team finding the right strategy with design sprint

What are the benefits of employing this methodology?

The Design Sprint methodology is used in product development and is notable for producing positive results in a short period while aligning form and function. Here are the key points to consider when implementing the Design Sprint methodology in your next project:

Gain in time

The agile methodology proposed for product development, as well as the division of steps by day of the week, creates a sense of urgency, and the rapid growth of the prototype has a deadline to meet. One of the main reasons why so many companies have adopted the Design Sprint is the agility of the project's starting point.

Low level of complexity

Despite having well-defined rules, stages, and deadlines, the Design Sprint is a simple methodology that any team can perform for various types of projects. Low complexity is very effective because the learning curve in the early days is more of an adaptation curve to a different way of dealing with the project.

Failure avoidance

The project prototyping and testing performed in this first phase reduce the likelihood of errors in subsequent development. Furthermore, if the project goes through this initial Design Sprint methodology, the questions and alignment of the entire team are better resolved.

Anticipation of improvements

Similarly, because the project's issues are thoroughly explored in the first week, anticipating what type of improvement can be made is another exciting benefit of the methodology. Something that contributes even more, is testing the prototype by potential users, which provides many answers to the team in charge of completing the project until its completion.


Applying the principles of Design Sprint to your company can help you create a product that users will love. But good design is more than just considering how people think; it's also about understanding your customer's needs and wants. We specialize in creating unique, user-friendly products that look great and meet our client's specific needs and desires. If you want to learn more or need help getting started, contact us today and let's create a product your customers will love!

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