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Sprint Target - The Design Sprint Unpacked

| Sam Hutchings

Sixty Second Summary

In this series, we’re taking a look at the individual parts which make up a Design Sprint, how each part helps us work towards a user-tested prototype, and how you can use the activity on its own within your business’s Design-led decision making process.

After all of the preparatory work we’ve done so far - from Before the Sprint, Mapping Journeys, Asking the Experts and taking notes - it’s time for the Sprint Team and the Decider to work together to lock down the Sprint Target.

Connecting the Dots

At his Stanford commencement speech in 2005, Steve Jobs told the story of his life and how he had come to be the CEO of Apple, twice. One of the major learnings he shared from his story, which you can watch on YouTube, was the quite simple “You can’t connect the dots looking forward”.

In short, Steve was referring to the fact that it is impossible to stand where you are today, look forward into the future, and successfully connect the dots to work out what will come of you and where you will go. It is only through reflection, and by looking at the dots behind us, that we can even start to reckon and understand the journey on which we have been and see the connections.

It’s with this in mind that we start the Design Sprint, discovering as many dots as we can, so that we may join them up later. Now that we have all of these dots, looking backwards, we can start to understand them and plan for our next step, the Sprint Target, so that we can start to create future dots.

Deciding the Sprint Target

Choosing the Sprint Target may seem like a big thing that should be surrounded with pomp and ceremony, as it will influence the direction of the rest of the Design Sprint, but it’s not as scary as you’d think, especially as you can always run further Sprints to explore other targets. Simply, a decision needs to be made about two things:

  1. Who are the customers/users we are targeting with this Design Sprint?
  2. What point in their interaction with us are we targeting with this Design Sprint?

If you’ve done all of the activities we’ve been through already, the answer to these two questions should be obvious by now (as we all know, it takes a lot of work to make something obvious, and we’ve put in a lot of work). There should be a customer or user group who stand out as being the ideal candidates for your Sprint Target, and there should be a point in their interaction/journey which stands out as well.

The Decider Decides

When all is said and done, it is the Decider who will make the final decision on what the Sprint Target will be. So, if they haven’t been in the room for a little while, it’s time to bring the Decider back into the room and brief them on what has happened so far and what you are asking of them. It is then their job, as the title suggests, to decide what the Sprint Targat(s) will be. If the Decider is unhappy with making the decision on their own, then a quick straw poll can be taken, in which case the majority opinion will become the Target(s).

Once these have been decided, the decision should be made clear by circling the Target(s) on the whiteboard, for all to see for the rest of the duration of the Sprint.

Examples of Sprint Targets

As showcased in the Design Sprint book, when deciding the targets for their robot delivery Sprint, the Decider from the Team decided quite quickly that the obvious targets for their sprint were the customer and the point in the journey where the robot delivers the package to the customer’s hotel room. It was at this point in the journey - where the customer and the robot first interact - that the Sprint Team believe they could make the most impact.

For one of our own Sprints, which led to the development of Sprinty, we decided to target people taking part in Design Sprints and Design Thinking Workshops and prototype a product solution for the part in their journey where they need to receive the workshop resources. This had the dual impact of allowing us to target workshop facilitators who could now order all the Sprint resources they needed to be delivered to their Sprint Team.

Next Week

In our next issue, we’ll start to bring together parts of a solution through Lightning Demos, a great exercise for quickly researching and sharing information as a group.

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