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How to improve your next Design Sprint

This article is especially for you if you facilitate Design Sprints. But hopefully the tools I will share with you here will help you if you are a moderator or facilitator of more or less complicated workshops.

When it comes to Design Sprints, we often face workshops with multiple days of ongoing creative work for the participants. If you follow the method of Google’s Jake Knapp, you would have five days in a row for a sprint! That's a heck lot of time for participants experiencing the whole world of creativity and innovation with its ups and downs. They will jump in the air with pure joy in one moment and suffer from self-doubt in the very next second. This constant up and down can make it hard for people to see “the big picture” and remember where they are in the process and what they are trying to achieve.

As a facilitator, it's your job to help participants overcome these hurdles. And one way that I found very helpful in the past is producing a clear roadmap for the whole process. I call it the "Design Sprint Roadmap," and it is a Visual Tool – a template to be precise. Nothing fancy, though. I'd say its rather simple and that is its purpose as well.
 

You can use the "Design Sprint Roadmap" as a printed Template or draw it on a piece of paper.
 

The template itself is pretty straight forward. I avoided using a metaphor for the "Design Sprint Roadmap" as metaphors tend to influence our thinking strongly, and I didn't want this to be too big a deal in your workshop.

You can use the Roadmap for just one single day or pull it out every day you have a workshop during your Design Sprint to remind participants where they are on the journey.

I especially like to use it to frame the whole process at the beginning of the workshop. I'd say something like this:

"In every Design Sprint, we follow the same basic structure. We start with a problem statement and start developing new ideas. But the process to get to the final solution is messy. It's back and forth. Like the squiggle in the middle of the template. We will be in this state for a long time during our Design Sprint. And that is ok! "
 


Once I introduced the Visual of the Roadmap like that, I would grab some Sticky Notes and show participants the journey we will embark on together (there are some notes on how I do this in the free resource pack).

I would invite you to test the Design Sprint Roadmap (or a similar concept) in your next Workshop. It is astonishing how powerful such a simple tool is in regards to keeping everyone on the same page and motivated throughout the process.

I have put together a Free Resource Pack PDF for you with a printable version of the Design Sprint Roadmap template and a detailed description of how to use it in your workshops. 
 
 
It’s free to download for you if you sign up with your email address. 
 
There is more in the PDF than just the Roadmap and a how-to. I've added an easy trick to create hierarchy when writing on sticky notes as well as providing you with some basic icons you could use on your own Design Sprint Roadmap. All of this is in the free PDF file – ready for you to take into action.

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