How to Make Quick Strategic Decisions With a 1 Week Design Sprint. Part 2

Xmartlabs Team
Xmartlabs Team
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We’ve already introduced the basics of using a 1 week Design Sprint for idea validation when starting a new project, if you haven’t read it we suggest having a look at this article. It’s time to start the week and put hands on our Clothing Rental Box project.

Just to recap, the Clothing Rental Box project is a business idea of a subscription service which delivers a set out outfits to wear each week, according to the trends, style, and measurements of each customer.

Monday: Understand

During the Understand phase, your team comes together to explore the business problem from all angles. You create a shared knowledge, which is the foundation for the development of your product. To do so, the Clothing Rental Box’s team will use 2 techniques:

Lightning Talks: 10- to 15-minute sessions given by knowledge experts who discuss different aspects of the business problem.

The team needs to become expert in the fashion industry in less than a day, so after making some phone calls they manage to bring to the room some real experts for day 1. The first one is what the team figured would be a normal customer of their product, and the second the manager of a local clothing firm, who illustrates them about how the fashion industry works.

User Journey Mapping: mapping out a user’s journey as they encounter and interact with your product.

The beginning of the user journey implies finding out which would be the first point of contact that your customers should have with your product, and this means thinking about how customers would find out about the new service. The team realizes that partnering with a few local brands would be the best way to reduce costs and increase the chances of success. After this first decision, they review the steps a user should go through in order to become a paying customer: finding out about the service, registering, using the free trial and, finally, paying for the full subscription.

Tuesday: Design

During the design phase, individual team members are given the time and space to brainstorm solutions on their own; best ideas are produced by individuals in concentrated thought. The brainstorming is conducted using two techniques:

Comparable problem research: benchmark of related industries and review of similar problems and solutions already existing in the market.

  • After searching for direct competitors, analyzing them and picturing a better solution for the spotted problem, it’s time to search for inspiration and existing creative solutions to similar problems. Once the team is full of ideas on how the product could work, they’re ready for the next step.

Exploration and solution sketching: using fast sketching methods and agile voting to explore wild ideas which will be expanded and refined later.

  • Everyone gets pen to paper and design different solutions using a set of fast ideation techniques. The rest of the day is spent refining the solutions and making sure the rest of the team would understand them. After each member presents their solution sketch, a vote is held.

Wednesday: Decide

During this phase the team converges into a solution and chooses what to prototype. Two steps are involved in the decision making phase:

Solution voting: using a method called zen voting, to keep discussions short and be able to decide which ideas are worth the shot.

At this point the walls are filled with hand-drawn sketches and post-it notes that explain what’s going on. After a few minutes of discussion, the sketches are filled with dots highlighting interesting ideas. It is time for the decider to place the super votes, (large stickers which are used to determine which ideas will be prototyped and tested). Two solutions regarding how to decide which clothes should be delivered stand out. The first one includes a “style discovery” phase, in which the user would be asked to choose from a variety of different outfits, in order to create a “personal style profile” which could range from trendy to conservative, formal, edgy, etc. The second one is a simple approach: a set of 6 looks to choose from would be presented to each customer, for him to choose one of them. This means simpler logistics. The team decides to prototype and test both.

Storyboarding: mapping out each step of the experience you’re going to test.

  • It it design time, so both solutions are discussed and sketched a few times, each time in more detail. The team is confident that they had come up with two strong products.

Thursday: Prototype

During this phase the team builds a facade of the experience you they have envisioned in the design phase. The facade needs to be real enough so as to get an authentic response from a potential user.

Every member of the Clothing Rental Box team has a job to get done: researching outfits, gathering images, creating content, designing the screens and putting together the fake prototype that mimic the website.

Friday: Test

The Test phase is the Design Sprint moment of truth. When you finally get to see live users interact with your ideas and hear direct feedback from your target audience.

The team of Clothing Rental Box contacts some acquaintances to show them their prototype. They don’t include just friends and family on the list, but instead try to reach out people from different genders, ages and working industries.They receive very interesting feedback and after that they start working on a second, more defined, prototype of the product. They’re willing to show their product to investors and if needed, they are open to apply the process several times, in order to reach the most interesting version of their own product.

You’re now ready to put hands on your own project! Whether you don’t count with specialized professionals in your team, you’re conscious that an external point of view can add value, or just want to partner with highly trained professionals to achieve excellent results, contact us! At Xmartlabs we help big and small teams to run sprints and get their projects into motion almost in the blink of an eye. We offer remote and on site services, and adjust them according to your needs. Drop us a line and let’s get started!