Running and facilitating smooth Remote Design Sprints

When we put together quality Design Sprint workshops, effective facilitation, advanced technology and the right amount of creativity, what we get as a result is a successful Remote Design Sprint.

Design Sprint is essentially done in-person, but it is imperative for all of us to progress according to the prevailing outside circumstances.

Our team has curated a four-week Remote Design Sprint in a manner that it pulls in the quality of an in-person Design Sprint while focusing on the effectiveness of its results.

Ruby

Ruby Kaur

Words

Dilasha

Dilasha Jain

Design

With the plethora of tools and softwares we have at our disposal, the idea of a Remote Design Sprint brings along ample benefits that surely cannot be overlooked.

A major difference between Remote Design Sprint and in-person sprint in terms of content is that in-person is centred around one or max upto two weeks while Remote Design Sprint having more accessibility across countries and time-zones can be extended across 4 weeks allowing you a full-fledged experience of the sprint.

As with every other thing under the sun, Remote Design Sprint too comes with challenges.

If we look at it, we always prefer meeting or working with someone in-person because it makes communication easier and clearer as it creates a certain atmosphere around the room, and you are always aware how the other person receives your ideas. However, we cannot ignore the advancement of technology and how life-like the virtual world has turned into.

Benefits of Remote Design Sprint

  • Logistical Complications

    It removes all the logistical complications. No matter where you are, you can participate in the sprint.

  • Remote Workshopping

    A major highlight of the remote workshopping is you get to work with varied teams and not just the one present in the local office. This brings great value to the sprint process.

  • More Accessible

    Remote Design Sprint is much more accessible as you don’t have to push away your daily tasks/work or keep your days blocked for workshops. It is much easier to fit it into your schedules.

  • More Accessible

    It cuts out a lot of effort, time and cost involved in movement between workshops and entire logistics struggle which otherwise is integral to an in-person sprint.

Scoping Workshop

Steer in the right direction before going full steam

A workshop which is not essentially a part of the sprint but we consider it an integral component of Remote Design Sprint as it allows you to understand the process and quality of work. The idea behind is to provide you an experience of remote workshops to acquaint you with the working process.

Arranging a Scoping Workshop

Scoping Workshop is a trailer for remote workshopping. This mini workshop is only an hour long but replete with rich experience. An online meeting for questions is arranged where you meet with us remotely. It creates an atmosphere of a live Google doc, where your every question is immediately answered.

It begins with the overview of business, understanding value of the product, challenges involved and finally creative ideas are collected by voting exercise.

At the end, outputs are shared with you in the form of pdf for your future reference.

Benefits of Scoping Workshop

  • Aids in your decision-making. Gives a clear picture for you to decide whether or not you want to continue the sprint.
  • You get to clearly structure your thoughts and build a plan.
  • Defines the project for you even if you don’t choose to continue.
  • Increases the efficiency of Design Sprint.
  • Is very engaging. Each party actually participates in the meeting all through the time.
  • Unlike regular conference calls, here you watch everything happening on the screen along with the call.
  • Optimum use of your time as it avoids unnecessary talking and only focuses on the practical workshop.
  • It is not an extended meetup but a short one hour experience.
  • Interestingly built, you are allowed to capture your thoughts on the live screen by the end of the call.

The warm-up

The first ten minutes concentrate on the challenges faced by your business . We’ll be taking down notes live and categorizing as you talk. It pulls you into the process and makes you comfortable with the whole workshopping idea.

Getting into Action

Getting into action

We run an exercise to comprehend the value that you offer to your customers. It s divided into three sections, each being 5 minutes long. This time you are the one writing and answering our questions. Almost like a rapid fire it requires an unhindered flow of your thoughts.

Voting exercise

An essential part of a group discussion, it showcases and brings forth ideas that are most liked and agreed upon. It narrows down the entire discussion in fewer points. This seven-minute session is creatively built. Voting is conducted with almost a treasure hunt-like engaging experience where you vote for the best-selling ideas according to you.

Voting Exercise
Our Work Begins

Our work begins

Your work ends here. Our team starts to map a journey based on the information gathered in the scoping workshop. We highlight points where major investment is likely to go and the most valuable features on the journey.

Test before you Invest

Scoping Workshop gives you a taste of the Design Sprint and shows you what to expect from the entire sprint process.

It encapsulates the experience of remote workshopping, thereby, providing a clear picture to the client.

With this you get a better grip on the remote workshop concept, helping you prepare yourself for the sprint.

Different weeks in the sprint are a complete package worth your time and investment.

WEEK 1
Onboarding, research and setting-up.

WEEK 2
Dedicated to focusing on solutions.

WEEK 3
We iterate on the results.

WEEK 4
Handing over the project to you with further journey mapped for you.

With the end of Scoping Workshop, we head into the first week of Sprint!

Week 1

Onboarding and Setting up

The first week is the foundation of the Design Sprint. We plan as such that it is smooth and easy for you to adapt to a remote working environment.

This is the time to get to know about:

Once you are familiar with the concept of Design Sprint, we step forward and dive a little deeper into the concept

It includes:

Undertaking research

Providing you with some material to immediately respond to and interact with in order to familiarise the workings of Remote Design Sprint.

Getting Insights

It involves interviewing people and sending out questionnaires/surveys which allow us to begin the recruitment process for user testers a lot sooner which eventually helps in the process of prototyping

Sprint 1

Keep the momentum and build the whole product

There are various tools that are used in the Design Sprint and we make sure that you are comfortable using them to avoid any disturbances during the week.

We conduct a warm up exercise beforehand, either over a group video call or through an elaborate email explaining the working of tools.

It also involves short exercises where we’ll get to know your approach better.

For the first remote workshop, there are certain exercises we prepare that allow you to step into the design sprint process comfortably.

Alignment Workshop

Onboarding and quick round of introduction to each other.

Introduction to design sprints

We describe the process of Design Sprint and how a typical project cycle goes from idea to launch.

What to expect

Result of the sprint is a high quality prototype almost like a trailer to a movie.

Ground rules and principles

Since it is a remote workshop, it becomes necessary to understand the mechanism and principles of it.

Proceeding to the sprint, we have the following activities in the first week:

  • The map- Based on research, it acts as a starting point that aligns everyone on the big picture.
  • Expert Interviews- We show you examples of what a typical problem looks like and how to transform it into a solution.
  • Challenges- We discuss challenges that you face and seek solutions for.
  • Voting on Challenges- The challenges are voted upon and categorized on the basis of priority.

First week gives us a big picture.

It incorporates heavy research that helps in the sprint process throughout and majorly introduces us to the challenges.

Week 2

Focusing on Solutions and Decisions

The second week is focused on action. Here we implement the research work and gather ideas for prototyping.

It begins with:

  1. Lightning Demos- We write down the big idea for the project and then propose ideas/solutions for it.
  2. First Voting Round- Then on day two after all the lightning demos are collected, there’s a voting round where everyone votes for the ideas that they think are the most significant.
    • Note taking- Everyone gets 15 minutes to take down notes based on Lightning Demos.
    • Doodling- This further helps in developing the ideas.
    • Concept sketching- We walk through the challenges, sprint questions and the covered solutions. Everyone finishes the concepts at their own end and mail them to us. Your solution is not just one sketch but a series of mini sketches that answers questions of the Design Sprint.
  3. Second voting round- We make it anonymous and present it in the workshop in the consequent session. Everyone votes again for their favourite concept.
  4. Pitch- After voting, everyone’s asked to write a short pitch on their favourite concept.
  5. Final concept- The top 2-3 concepts are chosen that would eventually become the base of the prototype.

Since we have the concept ready for the prototype, we now proceed to User Test Flows.

These are very similar to in-person workshops. We explain the exercise and provide everyone their working area where we can give our six steps for User Test Flow based on the chosen concept.

Again, after voting, we choose one User Test Flow that is to be followed for the prototype.

This week’s energy significantly lies in the Decision workshop.

To begin with, here we walk through the concepts and remind everyone of design sprint questions for the prototype.

Interestingly, storyboarding is faster in remote workshop. We introduce our designers to you who will be drawing quick wireframes as we begin to discuss.

With this we have a skeleton prototype based on which the designers will further design a high fidelity interactive prototype.

Later we embed the prototype on the board where everyone can view it easily. Then we run user interviews where a user is asked a question on every screen specifically accompanied with general questions on prototype.

They are also asked to rate the prototype on a scale from 1 to 10 which helps us gather generous feedback.

Week 3

Working on feedback and iterating

A sprint is really great because it doesn’t involve months of research. Instead, you have an idea and test that out quickly whether it works or not.

But because of that chances are that after one sprint the feedback that you get can be opposing. This is where Iteration Week comes to rescue.

First week is like throwing darts blindly. With the iteration sprint results are much better.

In week 2 we begin to understand the target and start incorporating critical feedback.
By the end of week 3, most of the feedback turns positive. Now you can actually see the product, your idea i.e., solution to your problem.

Now we have the feedback from user testing.

We start with the prototype walkthrough. We present the prototype because it's a very visual and concrete way to go through the feedback.

The user researcher walks everyone through the prototype explaining how users reacted to different features.

During this everyone takes down notes on what worked well and what didn’t because it’s important to know which parts of the prototype resonated whereas the not so favorable parts can then be tackled and provided solutions for in the workshop.

We focus on the challenges here and we highlight top voted challenges.

Following this, we come up with a new set of sprint questions that would be dealt with throughout the week giving us a new checkpoint with long-term goals and new iteration questions.

What follows is a new set of concept sketching and solution sketching. Like in week 2, it begins with note taking, doodling and finally the actual solution sketching. Therefore, coming up with an improved concept this time.

Then again, a voting round to vote on the concept is conducted. Lastly, we do the User Test Flow. By the end of this week we will have created a new set of solutions handling the feedback that came up in the first workshop.

We then go on to prototype the new solutions and do another round of user testing.

Week 4

Handing over and deciding on next steps

Handover is done to give the client an easier transition back to their day-to-day workflow. It starts with summarising the user feedback gathered in week 3.

Then just like week 3, we give you a walkthrough of our prototype as we note down opportunities and challenges that can be spotted.

Then you are asked to vote on different challenges which leads us to open questions. Now, instead of going into concept sketching or solution sketching, everyone is asked to deliver solutions on the top voted questions.

As we now have the solutions, we put the best solutions on an effort-impact scale. This scale categorises and organises what solution should be given priority over others.

The whole idea behind is that you are not left with big open questions that you cannot tackle.

This leads us to create a roadmap which is further one level ahead. Now we try to build a plan for the next few months for the solutions to be realised. This makes things easier for you as you’d be leaving the sprint with a plan in hand.

Contents in the executive summary:

  • Statement of work- This will put the entire Design Sprint in a nutshell.
  • Design Sprint results- Here we summarise the big picture results. This encapsulates sprint results and sprint answers.
  • Testimonial- The voice of the user is important. It will allow you to know your user better.
  • Iteration Sprint questions- Like Design Sprint questions, we answer questions that sprouted in the Iteration Week too.
  • Map- Your journey starts from the end of week 4. This map gives you a concrete plan to follow.
  • Prototype- We link the prototypes both clickable and design files in the executive summary.
  • User interviews- We also include user interviews for your reference.
  • Recommendations- At last, we put forward the effort-impact scale solutions and our actual recommendations on your product.

Moreover, with the end of Week 4, we provide you an executive summary for you to take the results and use them internally.This would assist you in framing plans around the project for your teams.

In Short

  • 1st
    Week

    The 1st week is onboarding and setting up. This includes a large amount of internal work: drafting maps, sprint questions, workshop preparation, research. The week culminates in the alignment workshop.

  • 2nd
    Week

    The 2nd week is about solution and decision. It goes a long way from prototyping to user testing.

  • 3rd
    Week

    The 3rd week is the Iteration Week. Here we take up critical feedback from the first week and carry out another round of solutions and concepts. We add the same to the prototype and tweak it followed by another round of user interviews.

  • 4th
    Week

    The 4th week is called the Handover Workshop. Interestingly, it is not done in an ‘in-person’ Design Sprint. With remote workshops we have easy accessibility which makes it easier to have a Handover Workshop.

Here, we work with you to decide what the next steps should be. We create a 7 minute video of the best parts of user interviews and we finalise our report concluding with a handover call with the client.

Interestingly, even in in-person workshops, there’s a lot that is done remotely.

From collaborating on Figma for prototyping to conducting research interviews with stakeholders and user testing all is done remotely majority of the time.

We all are accustomed to it which makes running Remote Design Sprint workshops easier and convenient.

Envision and explore possible futures and define and de-risk the path to get there.

Build effective MVPs fast using Design Sprint

Our MVP in a Week Workshop is a 5 Day process to turn your idea into a clickable prototype that people can test.

It is implemented following the Design Sprint method and is suitable for early stage product development.

Instead of spending months developing a product without knowing whether the end user will like it or not, using MVP we can together create a testable product that answers certain critical business questions using the least possible resource.

Do you want to learn more about the Design Sprint for MVP?

We welcome your questions throughout, and all your problems are given due attention during the sprint period. In case you want to discuss or have any queries, contact us to level up your product development game!

Create An Impactful CX Design Strategy Realize Your Digital Transformation Ruby

Ruby Kaur

Words

Dilasha

Dilasha Jain

Design