Culture as part of the design sprint process, and the concept of ‘pretotyping’ were the focus of the talks at the third Design Sprint Meetup.
We started this meetup as a way of sharing and discovering the ways different companies/agencies/products adapt the sprint process to suit their individual needs. This could be by shortening the sprint, cutting parts out or adding things. This customisation is very interesting to us and so wanted to create a forum to share these ideas and hopefully give the attendees tangible takeaways that they can go away and implement in their own process.
I’ve known Jamie for a while now and love any opportunity to chat about design with him. He started out his career at Amazon, then moved onto the awesome Dojo where he met his close collaborator Sam (an iOS dev), and they have now gone onto co-found their own product called Combo.fm and a small product studio called Combo.
Jamie’s talk focused on company culture as part of the design sprint process as well as the power of honest feedback.
By nurturing an internal culture of experimentation and iteration you enable a sprint to run much smoother. You are also empowering your team to champion exploration as opposed to fearing change.
He also shared some great advice he received from Mills at ustwo who recommended they set up a ‘lemonade stand’ in the ustwo office to gather feedback from other members of the team. This quick feedback helped guide their vision for what Combo.fm could be. He explained that the best data isn’t always found in an analytics platform and that you can learn a huge amount by sharing your prototype/product with real people and getting face to face feedback.
Both Pawel and I had heard Rikke speak at a Product Hunt event around 8 or 9 months ago and really loved the story she shared about working on products to help with anxiety and mental health. As we started short listing potential speakers for this event we felt her unique focus combined with her experience of working at ustwo would compliment Jamie’s talk.
Rikke shared the brilliant concept of ‘pretotyping’ which is basically what you can achieve/learn before prototyping. On Day 4 of the Design Sprint there is a heavy focus on prototyping, so this idea of a learning stage before that sounded really interesting.
‘Pretotyping’ allows you to build something (anything) that solves the problem today that you can learn from.
The example Rikke gave was a commuter product to help drivers get road updates before they hit the road. A common prototype could be a Marvel/Invision prototype to give to users and see if it would solve their problem before committing to building it. Instead of doing that they simply sent out text messages to the drivers at 6:30am to update them on their route.
There was no design time, no dev time, all they had to do was wake up at 6:30am and send a text. Following that super early feedback they could then automate the texts, build a website, design prototypes etc, but they found out instantly if the idea had potential and offered a better solution than the existing competitors.
Rikke also outlined the four steps she takes when kicking off a new project:
- Write down your assumptions.
- Talk to your users.
- Understand how they are solving that problem today.
- Go where they are.