Importance of design sprint to build an MVP

mvp-design-sprint

In an attempt to reduce the problems with requirements elicitation, the software industry has increasingly depended on design thinking methodology. However, in a bid to help reduce existing problems that cannot be fully resolved through design thinking, design sprint was introduced to elicit requirements quickly and efficiently. This blog post is going to show you how you can use design sprint to build your mvp.

It is a unique process that is used to solve critical business issues through prototyping and brainstorming with customers in five days. It is a design framework for validating ideas and solving big challenges. Design sprint is a fast and efficient method and also allows time for an idea to be made viable and validated. The key component of a sprint is to share insights, ideate, prototype and test a concept within these five days.

All the best ideas are condensed and organized in a short space of time for the creation of an excellent idea. A step-by-step description of all the things to be done in each of these five days is given in detail in this process. At the end of these five days, we have a validated product that meets the user’s needs.

A design sprint is way of solving challenged and test solutions with real users. They are more executable than design thinking and even faster than lean startup. In design thinking, most of the work occurs in a group setting whereas, in design sprints, developers get some tome to focus on their ideas individually and then some group time to organize and build on those ideas together.

Where does it come from?

Created in 2010 by Google Ventures (GV) to enable their portfolio of stratups to create successful products, the google design sprint framework is one of the fastest ways to align a team towards a clear direction based on real data from users. It is the same methodology used by google to developer its new products and decide whether it is profitable to invest in new startups. Apart from Google, the design sprnt is currently used within many blue-chip companies like Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Airbnb, Lego, Axa, Slack, Dropbox, etc.

Inspired by aspects of agile development and design thinking, design sprints allows an automation testing company to accelerate and simply the design process of a product or solution.

How does it work?

design-sprint

In design sprint, each day represents a process phase:

Understand

Day 1 (Monday) – It is all about understanding the challenge and exploring the problem space. That involves empathizing with users, mapping their journeys and experiences to identify pain points and opportunities for the future. All with a bold goal in mind, that the team sets. By the end of the day, the team would have selected the most critical point in the journey, and come up with questions that need answers by the end of the week. These questions would then drive solutions to be built and tested.

Ideate

Day 2 (Tuesday) – Once the team understands the problem it’s time to go into solution mode. It starts with gathering inspiration and each member of the team will come up with their solution.

Decide

Day 3 (Wednesday)- This is about voting and deciding which solution gets prototyped. It can be one of the solutions, but more often than not it’s a combination of the best parts of multiple ideas.

Prototype

Day 4 – The team created a realistic prototype based on whatever was decided on Wednesday.

Testing

Day 5 – The prototype is tested with 5 users which will validate or invalidate the solution. At the end of the day, the teams know how to move forward, whether their solution was validated or not.

When do you run a Design Sprint?

Design sprint can be used whenever an organization needs to answer critical business questions, when a project is stuck or when a particular problem doesn’t have an obvious solution.

Design sprints can be applied in the following cases:

  • Create an MVP automation (or mvp development)
  • Assessing the viability of new businesses
  • Engage new audiences
  • Kickstart/launch a project, product or service
  • Define marketing and growth strategies
  • Ideate a specific area of a product
  • Discover the right priorities and features for a product

Why design sprint?

It is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping and validating possible solutions with real customers. It brings together a cross-functional team that can bring in their expertise while focusing on the problem to solve at hand.

It’s a shortcut that allows you to go from creating an idea of learning from the market without actually building anything. Sprints help companies enter new markets, design new product, develop new features for millions of their users, define mvp marketing strategies, and so much more.

Developing new products isn’t an easy task because users don’t find most solutions accessible or desirable. This is where a design sprint comes in. It is the ideal tool kit to help all stakeholders and their teams to align and test assumptions in a short amount of time. The sprint enables us to validate with real customers at the beginning of the product development process, while setting the team up for long-term success.

When to do a Design Sprint?

While the above is a great framework, it is important to know when to run a design sprint and when no to. It is best utilized when you need to answer a critical business question. The design sprint will allow you to get answers.

Before you get all the right people in one room, you need to ask yourself if problem is worth solving. Only then does it make sense to follow up with solution validation.

design-sprint-mvp

How you can use design sprint to build your MVP?

Below are steps to building an mvp:

Step 1 : Market Research

Before you initiate an idea, ensure that it fulfills the needs of your target users. To do this, first carry out surveys because the amount of information you have, increases your chances of success. Also keep an eyw on what your competitors are doing, and how you can improve yours.

Step 2 : Express your Idea

Find out the amount of value your product offer to users and how it can benefit them. Why should they buy your product? The answer to this question will help to express your idea better.

You should also be clear about the essential estimations of your product. As MVP implies, introducing value to the people, first outline them and based on that develop your MVP.

Step 3 : Design Process and User Flow

Design an app that is convenient for users. During design, look at the app from the user’s perspective – from opening the app to the final process. You can even carry out a test as a user by making a purchase or delivery. A user flow is another important part because it ensures you do not miss any important aspect while making sure the product has all it takes to satisfy the users. Explain the steps needed to reach the main objective with a focus on basic tasks and the goals that your end-users will have while using your product. This is better than promoting other features such as finding and buying the product, or managing and receiving orders.

Step 4 : List the Project Features

Before you start building the MVP, list all the features you want to incorporate into your product and cross-check with the list once the building process is completed. The next step is to prioritize a list of features for each stage. To prioritize the features, answer these questions “what do my users want?” “Am I offering them something beneficial?”

Next, categorize the remaining features based on priority (high, medium, and low priority). After this, you can then define their scope for the first version of the product, before building an mvp. You can even create an mvp’s prototype to see how your future product will look.

Step 5 : Build your MVP

When you finally understand the market needs and decide upon the main features, you can then create your mvp. Note that a prototype is not lower quality than a final product, and still needs to satisfy your customer’s needs. So make it easy to use and suitable for your users.

Step 6 : Build, Measure, and Learn

After the scope of work is defined the product is moved to the development stage. After completing the product development, the product needs to be tested by quality assurance engineers to improve the quality of the product.

After successfully launching the MVP, review everything thoroughly. Ask for feedback from your clients as it will help you determine if the product is widely accepted and how successful it is in the market when compared to other products in the market.

Use the feedback you collected from users to improve your product, then test, learn, and measure the quality. Test again until the process is finalized.

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Prakash Pilley