What equipment do you need to run a Design Sprint?

The Design Sprint is a hands-on workshop which requires some equipment which will make the process easier. So, what equipment do you need to run a successful design sprint?

The Design Sprint is a hands-on workshop which requires some equipment which will make the process easier. We’ll explore what equipment do you need to run a successful design sprint?

We know some companies run successful remote design sprints – but it’s just not for us. And we’re a remote company! There is something special about immersing yourself in the same place for a few days to solve complex problems together, as a team.

The Design Sprint room

We’d always recommend a place with plenty of space and natural light. While not possible, it keeps the sprint participants happier throughout the day.

A table with plenty of space is also something we’d advise, so the sprint team have lots of space to work. It doesn’t need to be huge, but big enough to comfortably accommodate 5-8 people.

Whiteboards

Whiteboards are a must-have for a design sprint. The more whiteboards you have, the more you work you can keep on them to refer to later in the Sprint. Nothing is worse than having to take photos and remove all the work.

A quite tip. We use the reversible whiteboards on wheels so we can move them, but you’re also getting double the whiteboard space.

If for whatever reason you can’t use whiteboards, you can use the whiteboard paper in rolls, called Magic Whiteboard. You tear it off in sheets and attach it to the wall.

Whiteboard markers/erasers

Following on from the whiteboard them, you want some excellent whiteboard markers and erasers to wipe them down.

Nothing complicated here, but we like the STAEDTLER 351WP6 markers.

Writing equipment

We like to have with us:

  • Sharpies – plenty of them. They are great for making people concise with their writing.
  • Pens – nothing more than the standard ballpoints.
  • Pencils with rubbers – some people seem to prefer drawing the sketches in pencil. Make sure the sketches are clear to see through.

Sticky notes

We don’t believe you can run a design workshop without sticky notes, and the design sprint is not an exception. We’d recommend:

  • 3 x 5-inch rectangular ones
  • Square ones x 2 (get a couple of colours)

We always try to get lots of the same colours in both sizes to keep everything consistent.

Do not buy cheap, post-it notes. They suck. And they don’t stick to anything. Nothing is worse than coming back into the sprint room, and all your hard work is on the floor, in no order.

A good rule of thumb is about two blocks per person per Sprint. But always keep more.

Voting dots

Those little voting dots play possibly the most crucial part in the design sprint process. Make sure you’ve got plenty of them.

You’ll need:

  • One colour for the team – small ones
  • A bigger and different colour for the decider

Keeping your colours consistent means it’s harder to identify who voted on an item and influence others decisions.

Plain A4 paper / Notepads

Some simple A4 white paper. Nothing fancy. You’ll use it for notes and sketching, so make sure you have plenty.

Having notepads is useful for those wanting to take notes. It’s best to have some available just in case.

Masking tape

We often use masking tape to stick sketches and other sprint items to the walls. Having some is useful.

Scissors

Useful for cutting up the paper, masking tape and sometimes people get creative with physical prototypes.

Glue

Have some glue on hand. We always have some in the office, but it’s useful as part of the sketching and prototyping (a non-digital product!) phases of the Design Sprint where people get creative.

A good timer

Everyone seems to recommend the time timer, and yep, it’s okay, we find it breaks easily. And we don’t want things to break in a busy sprint because they aren’t the easiest things to go and buy.

So, if you’re going to use the time timer, make sure you’ve got a stopwatch for backup, or get a timer app for your tablet. Time timer does have their own app you can download.

Snacks

You want high quality, low burn snacks. Don’t buy sugary stuff as everyone will crash and burn. We recommend you buy things like nuts to give people a burst of energy in the mid-morning and afternoon sessions.

Drinks

As with any workshop, high-quality tea, great coffee and water are you’ll need. Some participants like soft drinks, so we often have some kicking around.

Wine and beer for the evening are great, especially once the Sprint is finished and everyone wants to celebrate.

Food

We provide our Sprint participants with lunch. The amount of time that’s wasted by the team looking for lunch somedays is crazy, so this will help.

Use an outside catering company you can trust and get a range of food including vegetarian/vegan options. We always check ahead of time to make sure people don’t have any allergies to avoid complications later.

A computer

At some point, if you’re doing a digital prototype, you’re likely to need a computer. As long as it can run design software and is reliable it will do the job.

Clients will bring their own equipment to use for items like lightning demos.

A camera

While not essential, a camera is great for providing photos back to your client or stakeholders once the Sprint has finished. We take photos of all the exercises just to make sure everyone has a record of it after we’re done.

It doesn’t need to be the highest quality, so you can use your phone camera as long as it takes high-res photos.

The Internet

While we keep technology use to a minimum in the Sprint, we recommend you’ll need it for the lightning demos part.

Also, asking busy executives to be away from their email for more than 5 minutes usually is a recipe for disaster. They’ll appreciate it at some point.

Music

We like to run our sprints and workshops with music. Plain simple music that sounds like you’re at a spa. We find it blocks out distractions and creates a space for people to think.

We’d recommend creating your own playlist, so it’s something you don’t have to keep thinking about.

The Sprint book

We always have a few copies of the Sprint book around the office. You’ll need them to refer to, and sometimes the participants just want to know more.