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The best resources for running a remote design sprint

Get ready to accelerate innovation from home

With everything going on in the world, many people have found themselves in the new reality of working remotely. And suddenly things that we took for granted like collaboration, workshopping and design sprints have become a little trickier than normal. But fear not, it doesn’t have to be.

What is a remote design sprint?

A remote design sprint is a tried and thoroughly tested method that helps solve tough challenges and validates ideas through design, prototyping and testing ideas with users. This process helps you to think outside of the box, shifting away from following your gut instinct and opinions, instead encourages you to let your users guide your decision making at a faster pace. Sprints are usually 5 days long and it encourages the team to align themselves with a shared vision with defined goals and deliverables. This framework follows six phases: understand, define, sketch, decide, prototype, and validate.

At Marvel, many of us, not just designers, have been using similar frameworks to the remote design sprint to encourage each other to find alternative ways of thinking and solving problems in a short period of time. Here is a collection of resources that we recommend to get started no matter your situation.

. . .

📚 Books & Articles

Sprint by Jake Knapp
If you haven’t heard or seen this book yet, then you are in luck as Jake Knapp is the creator of the Remote Design Sprint process and developed by the teams at Google. This book will take you through step by step on how to run your own sprint, with excellent case studies to illustrate concepts and invaluable checklists that will help any user go from idea or problem to prototyping and testing all in 5 days.

Design Sprint by Richard Banfield
Another but perhaps less well-known book that will take you through the process of a design sprint. This book offers great insight of how to run your sprint and includes lists and tips for every phase of the process.

Design Sprint Facilitation Guide by Design Sprint Academy
A very comprehensive summary of the entire process, taking learnings from a variety of organisations ranging from startups to enterprise across a multitude of industries in this 69 page e-book.

The Facilitator’s Handbook by Jake Knapp
A must-read for any design sprint facilitator, no matter your experience level

5 Tips for running a successful design sprint by IDEO
Quick tips from IDEO’s team when they built the first version of the social impact investment product Swell Investing.

The User Testing Field Guide
At the end of the design sprint is user testing and if you’ve never done it before then this ebook gives you a step-by-step guide and template pack to help jumpstart your user testing.

The User testing field guide

📄 Templates

There are several types of templates available for designers, developers and facilitators to use, but ultimately your choice will depend on your need.

📹 Videos

Google Ventures design sprint video series
This original series came out to support the Sprint Book and is still great to watch for understanding every day of a regular Design Sprint.

The Five Act Interview
How to conduct proper customer discussions on sprint team prototypes.

AJ&Smart’s Design Sprint 2.0 series
Introducing the Design Sprint 2.0 where this framework is condensed into 4 days instead of 5 including new and improved exercises to make the process even better.

🛠 Tools

Google’s Design sprint toolkit
This short format workshop is useful when a team has a narrow scooped challenge but a number of stakeholders with unique ideas on how to solve it.

SprintFit’s ‘Should you run a sprint?’ Tool
So you’ve looked and read everything on this list but you’re still not sure whether a design sprint is right for your idea. SprintFit is a quick and easy tool that will help you decide whether this framework and process is the right choice for your challenge.

Marvel
We might be a bit biased, of course, but Marvel is a fantastic platform for everyone to use, including stakeholders and non-designers. Perfect for taking your sketched paper prototypes all the way to user testing.

Zoom
We love Zoom for our conferencing needs; it has built-in scheduling, breakout rooms and crisp video quality. It’s packed with features that are easy to use and make this our preferred tool, especially for a design sprint.

Miro
An online collaborative whiteboard platform that lets you build and develop ideas with distributed teams as if you were in the same room, anywhere, anytime.

. . .

So there you have it, in five days you can go from an idea to a deliverable that has been tested by users. Whether it’s been successful and your idea can move onto the next step of the process or it’s not done so well with users or stakeholders, at least you now know and that you can work with your feedback to create a better experience.

This process has been the cornerstone of many successful product launches and learning how to conduct an effect design sprint has been so beneficial as we reuse techniques to develop and experiment ideas.

Further reading:

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Content and Social Media Manager at Marvel | Photographer | Sewer

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