Design Sprints – Five Common Misconceptions

Design Sprint in progress

Design sprints are an innovative and effective way of minimising risk throughout the product development process, but they aren’t always well-understood. To ensure you get the most out of what sprints have to offer, make sure you ignore these common misconceptions…

To ensure you get the most out of what sprints have to offer, make sure you ignore these common misconceptions…

Your entire team need to be involved at every stage

Although design sprints are designed to take up just four days, you don’t need to have every team member involved for the whole four days. Whilst some members of the team may be present for a large proportion of the time, others may only be needed for certain elements, such as signing off on a team decision or delivering feasibility information from a technical point of view, for example.

Using design sprints to meet the needs of your team, as well as to guide your product development team, is a great way to get the most of them. Whilst your team should be encouraged to partake wherever possible, you needn’t worry about having all staff present throughout the sprint process.

You’ll have a completed product at the end of the design sprint

The aim of a design sprint isn’t to get a saleable product ready to be released. However, you will have a user-tested prototype which your business can build on, ready to market when the time is right. Whilst some products will need little modification following user testing, others may go through further developmental adjustments to ensure they have the best chance of success.

A design sprint is all about getting the direction of your product set. Which we as a team do we want to go with this product and having confidence to go in that direction.

Design sprints are the same as agile sprints

Agile sprints, design thinking and Scrum are methodologies which are used in the product development process.

Eschewed by many designers and developers due to their limitations, design sprints are not the same as any of the aforementioned processes, nor do they rely on the rationale behind them.

Design sprints are an entirely new concept, with quantifiable results, measurable deadlines and critical tried and tested elements of product development.

We like to think as Design Thinking as theory, while the Design Sprint is a clear framework to use straight away.

You need to user test with hundreds of users

You don’t need to user-test your product with hundreds of participants in order to find out what works and what doesn’t. In fact, design sprints only usually require five or so users to test your prototype, as this will be enough to provide the information you need.

After initial testing and subsequent changes or tweaks, you’ll be able to take the prototype back to the user-testing phase and expand the reach, if you choose to do so. In the process of a design sprint, however, your business won’t need to source numerous users to take part in testing your prototype.

You can find out more about why we user test with just five users here.

You can design your entire product in a design sprint

A sprint is a great way to design certain elements of your product, but you may struggle to create an entire product using one sprint alone. When you’re creating a digital product, such as an app, you can use more than one sprint to perfect various parts of the project and enhance the overall product.

Remember, your goal is to get feedback on the direction you want to go, and the problem you’re trying to solve. The rest of the design can come after you’ve got the start right.

With reduced costs, minimised risk and increased efficiency, design sprints are an ideal way to develop your new products.

With harmful misconceptions out of the way, why not think about how a design sprint could help you bring your new product to users?

If you want to run a Design Sprint, check out our guide on 5 reasons your Design Sprint might fail.