Design Sprint 2.0: An even more efficient way to run a design sprint

Design Sprint 2.0 is the unofficial, but most up-to-date version of the original design sprint framework that was invented by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures in 2014. It has been proven to be even more effective than the original methodology. In this article, we go through the main differences between Design Sprint and Design Sprint 2.0 and how you can use the problem-solving framework in your next project. The original design sprint was created to help teams tackle design problems before investing money and time into creating and building. We have a complete guide on the benefits of following the five-day process and how to run a design sprint here. The most notable difference between the original process and Design Sprint 2.0 is that the latter is optimised to work not just for startups, but also for large organisations that don’t necessarily have the time to commit an entire week to the full process.

In 2.0, there are two major differences:

  1. The new version reduces the sprint down to a four-day process by changing up the order to make it flow easier and more efficiently.
  2. You only need the full design sprint team for two of the days instead of the full five. This is specifically designed to cater for larger businesses with senior stakeholders who struggle to clear their calendars for the full five days. Below, we run through each design sprint process to help you decide which one is right for your next project.

What are the five stages of a design sprint?

The original design sprint has five steps, and the idea is to spend a full day on each of the concepts.

Day 1: Empathise/Understand. Learning and research – take an in-depth look at your idea, and any pre-existing research, reports or data gathered that is relevant to the project. At DataMix, we carry out a lot of preparation work in advance to make sure this session is dedicated to team discussion, rather than research.

Day 2: Define. Pick one focus and stick to it. It might be tempting to try and tackle multiple challenges during one sprint, but it's a lot more efficient if you stay focused on the most critical and essential part of your product. Even if you have grand plans for your product in the future – for example, a multi-functional SaaS platform targetting different customer segments – it's important to dedicate the sprint to just one area.

Day 3: Ideate. Time for the creative part – bring all your ideas to the table, even the craziest. Note down your ideas on sticky notes and start to visualise them.

Day 4: Decide. Discuss all ideas in order to fully understand every idea and see if any ideas intersect. Then, vote to select the best ideas that are must-haves in your MVP.

Day 5 part one: Prototype . The must-have ideas should now be visualised in a prototype. At DataMix, this is a job for a UX/UI designer and we don’t expect clients to dedicate the full day to this stage.

Day 5 part two: Validate. Carry out a series of user tests and follow up with in-depth questions about your MVP. Gather feedback from users to help guide you in your next steps.

What makes Design Sprint 2.0 different?

The first thing you’ll notice about Design Sprint 2.0 is that Friday is gone. Of course, you can always use this extra day to tie up any loose ends, but the new version squeezes everything into four days. Two of the days are non-negotiable and remain the same as the original process – a full day dedicated to prototyping and another for testing. At DataMix, those days are completed by our team and not by the client, so it’s even less work for you. The remaining two days are split into two – with one focus area in the morning and a different one in the afternoon.

Day 1: Learning and finding solutions.

The first two days of a traditional design sprint are squeezed into one day in Design Sprint 2.0. This is to keep momentum and energy levels high and work more efficiently.

Part 1: Define the challenge. Start out looking at expert interviews and asking ourselves, “How might we…” This helps teams take a deep dive into the problem they’re trying to solve and get a better understanding of the challenge. This is followed by creating a “passible” map of the product and choosing a focus area for the sprint.

Part 2: Produce solutions. The afternoon kicks off with “lightning demos” to help you think about potential solutions to the problem. When you’ve got some standout ideas, start to visualise them in sketches ready for tomorrow.

Day 2: Storyboarding and visualising

Tuesday is essentially the same as Wednesday (or day three) in the original design sprint process. During this stage, you’ll start to storyboard your ideas individually and then come together to vote on which ideas are going to be used in the prototype.

Day 3: Prototyping

Day three of Design Sprint 2.0 is very similar to day 4 of the original process – it’s time to create the prototype. Again, this is a UX/UI designer job, and we don’t expect clients to dedicate the full day to this stage.

Day 4: Thursday – Testing

The final day is dedicated to user testing. This is where you can gather feedback from customers and ask questions to help guide you in your next steps. This video from AJ&Smart talks about some of the most effective questions you should be asking your users in this phase:

Design sprints are brilliant for helping you identify and solve key problems before investing money and time into building your full product. Startups and companies across the world have used the original design sprint to help launch successful digital products. Meanwhile, Design Sprint 2.0 is a great choice if you’re short on time, struggle to clear the calendars of some of the key stakeholders and want to optimise your process even further.

DataMix develops robust applications from scratch, helping founders, startups and entrepreneurs take their ideas from MVP to enterprise scale. If you’ve got a project in mind or want help visualizing your idea, get in touch with our team.