How to build the perfect Design Sprint team?

A successful design sprint is only possible with an effective design sprint team. In this guide, we outline the six critical roles you need to build your next sprint team. The five-day framework of a design sprint was originally invented by Google Ventures to help tackle design challenges before you invest tonnes of money into a project. Startups and founders across the world now use this popular problem-solving methodology, and it’s easy to see why. Design sprints help you shrink months of preparations and discussions into one focused week by bringing together experts from multiple areas and facilitating collaboration through a number of exercises.

A beneficial side effect of this is rapid decision-making. So, not only will your project launch much faster, but this style of collaborative team building sets the tone for the whole development progress upfront. Tap here to read our full in-depth step-by-step guide to the design sprint and how we use it for our customers. There are two important rules to building an effective design sprint team:

  1. The team should cover all the critical expertise.
  2. The size shouldn’t exceed seven people.

Below are six critical roles you should include in your next design sprint team:

Who should be in a design sprint?

The decider – product manager.

The informal leader of the sprint team. Usually, this is a VP of Product, or the CEO of the company. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what the person's title is. But it's the person responsible for the whole product development - the one with decision-making power. Must haves:

  • Decision-making power.

The facilitator.

The design sprint leader. This person ensures that any pre-sprint work has been completed and that the team features all the skills and personalities it needs to be successful. There are lots of moving parts in any design sprint. Between booking conference rooms, organising lunch, taking notes, setting timers and interviewing customers, it can be tough to keep the entire project on track. The facilitator is the organisational force that keeps everything running smoothly during an intense, five-day sprint. Must haves:

  • Organisational skills.

The customer expert.

The one who knows your target customers. This person is the one who spends the most face-to-face time with your ideal users. They should know how to simplify the sales language, slash the jargon and step up to identify your customers' real and pressing pain points. Must haves:

  • Past customer experience.
  • Ability to converse with client base.
  • Bonus: Marketing experience.

The design expert.

Naturally, every design sprint team needs a talented designer. This person serves several critical roles that go beyond making things look great. They help the team visualise ideas and make abstract thoughts a reality. A great designer also helps the team stay grounded and sets expectations of what is possible and what is not. Must haves:

  • Previous design experience.

The engineer or tech logistics expert.

Some teams may not have an engineer among them, but there are several reasons you should include them in your next design sprint. Engineers are valuable for testing prototypes. They may also produce software, hardware and other real-world product prototypes that can help drive your sprint forward in an effective and streamlined way. Must haves:

  • Experience testing prototypes.

The marketing expert.

Having a great marketing expert on your design sprint team is essential. To get your product under the noses of your ideal customers, you’ll need marketing experience to help you communicate the value of your product to your target audience. Including a marketer at this early stage helps you get your product ready for market quicker. Must haves:

  • Copywriting skills.
  • Bonus: previous knowledge of the market.


How many people should be in my design sprint team?

The size of your design sprint team shouldn’t exceed seven people. Adding other specialists outside of those listed above is viable, but you've got to remember the bigger your team is, the less time each team member will have to express their ideas and the more effort it will be to facilitate. As an alternative, Google Ventures recommends inviting any additional specialists for short interviews.

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