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User Experience | 1st April 2019

We spoke at UXMK

UXMK was back in action on Wednesday 27th March, this time it was hosted at Missoula and the topic of discussion was centered around Design Sprints.

Dr Chloe Sharp from Snap Out, the organisers of the event, opened the evening with an insightful overview of what a Design Sprint is and fielded a Q&A session from attendees.

Next up was my talk, which was about the history of Design Sprints, why and when we choose to run them here at New Socks Media and an insight into the various activities that make up the Design Sprint.


Pictured above - Jake Knapp the creator of the Design Sprint and his book Sprint.

We gave a brief history

Jake launched the Design Sprint book in 2016 after spending time working on projects at Microsoft, Google and Google Ventures (now GV).

After spending time on projects that failed, due to too many drawn out internal discussions, opposing opinions and changes in direction, Jake was questionning the way in which these projects he was apart of worked. He began to ask himself 'There must be a better way'

During Jake's time at Google, he was working on a project called Google Meeting, that was inevitably heading down the same path. Luckily Jake notcied a pattern and saw that this path had been well travelled, and it's destination he didn't want to visit again.

Something had to change - There must be a better way?

This is when the team Jake was working with decided to book 5-days together in Stockholm. The goal of these 5-days? To leave Stockholm with a prototype. This meant no drawn out internal discusions but tangible results.

These 5-days, were the start of something big! They were the start of Design Sprint.

Sprint Book.png

We explained what we use Design Sprints for

A Design Sprint is one of our tools in our UX arsenal here at New Socks Media, and we wield it for a variety of situations.

We often have partners come to us with new business ventures or new ideas to move their current business forwards; this is one situation that we would bring the Design Sprint out of our tool box. Using this method we can get valuable insights from target users, without laying a single line of code or spending weeks and months deciding on which way to go.

Another case in which we choose to run a Design Sprint is when we're rethinking or fixing an existing solution. This is super handy when the solution affects various stakeholders that are siloed across an organisation (we love bringing people together and seeing the power of them collaborating to create a prototype; it makes us all warm and fuzzy)

Another situation is when we're looking for fast results. There may be a feeling from a partner that they need to pivot but this could be costly. A Design Sprint can help create a protoype to answer this question.

As previosuly mentioned, the Design Sprint is a tool and it has great power, it can bring people together and compress months of work into days. It is one we're pleased to have in our arsenal.

Design Sprint Use.png

We showed what a Design Sprint looks like

The Design Sprint 2.0 (the latest verison) is a 4-day process to solve the problems mentioned above.

In consists of gathering a Sprint team, which are people who have a vested interest in the success of the project. So it could be, but not limited to - Mananging Director, Project Manager, Sales, Commercial, Marketing. When we run a Design Sprint here we always put two facilitators in the room, which really helps with the smooth running of the Sprint, as one person will work as the main facilitator and the second to ensure the Sprint participants are catered for and to pick up on anything that needs adressing, this helps keep the momentum going and helps keep the days running smoothly.

We will also place a UI designer into the Sprint. Sometimes our UI designers will double up as our second facilitators, this way they can be present for the full Sprint. If not then we will provide the design services on day 3 & 4.

At UXMK we gave an overview of a Design Sprint and its activites, using an example business we created, Nice Cream.



We ran through the 4-days and each activity, giving an example from our businesss, Nice Cream.

At the end of the talk I fielded some questions, such as:

  1. How to get buy in from within side an organisation
  2. How can you complete all that work in 4-days?
  3. Who should you invite to a Sprint? and how many people should be there?
  4. Do people get confused with the Design Sprint and an Agile Sprint?


There were many great questions, and they were all questions I had when learning about Design Sprints.

We really enjoyed speaking at UXMK and we would encourage everyone who is interested in UX to come along and share this community. The next Meetup is in May and details can be here - https://www.meetup.com/snapout-UXMK/

Feel free to get in touch to learn more about Design Sprints or about the team here at New Socks Media.

Written by
Jeremy King
Jeremy is a Director at New Socks Media.

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