The goal of this project was to validate the idea of building a product that would help marketers manage their ads by creating different ad variations and optimizing them. To do it, we decided to run a Design Sprint – a five-day process that we developed basing on the original Design Sprint by Google Ventures, which aims to answer critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers, giving teams a shortcut to learning without building and launching an actual product.
When we were approached by the Client, he had an idea for a software tool for marketers and wanted to build a prototype to test it on the market. Learning this, we’ve suggested to the client a faster and cheaper way to validate business ideas – the Design Sprint.
The client agreed and we were able to find out if there is a market need for such a product and to identify the right part to start with, everything fully remotely and without writing a single line of code. Here is how we have done it.
Starting with the Client’s vision, we needed to work on it together to set a long-term goal for the project, identify the right customer segment, and build a Unique Value Proposition.
As the ultimate goal of the Design Sprint is to validate the idea by testing the prototype with customers, we needed to build a clickable prototype and interview potential users.
Guided by the principles of the Design Sprint, we aimed to answer critical business questions and validate the idea for a product through design, prototyping and testing ideas with customers.
It is said that 90% of startups fail and over 40% of them fail because there is no need for their product on the market. During the Design Sprint, we aimed to find out if the PPC specialists who were identified as model users for the product would be willing to use such a product.
Even though the original Design Sprint by GV was designed as a framework for an on-site workshop, the Covid-19 outbreak led us to modify this setup and run it 100% remotely – with every team member sitting safely in their apartments. This required both adjusting the framework and choosing the right tools that would help us run the Sprint, work on the same board simultaneously, and conduct user interviews. The additional challenge was related to time zones – with 9 hours of difference, we needed to find a way to spend as much of the workshop time together as possible.
As the time zone difference was quite significant (9 hours), we decided to split the activities into what had to be done together and what could be done apart, ending up with 4-hour video sessions gathering the whole team and a Product Owner, and working apart for the rest of the time.
Additionally, we decided to enrich the Design Sprint with the Value Proposition Canvas. The VPC framework was used to define the customer profile precisely (basing on the Client’s insights and expert interviews) and to achieve product-market fit by focusing on features that create value for this customer.
We needed to choose the right tools that would help us work in a way that would be as close to being in one room as possible. We decided to go with Google Meet as a videoconference tool and Miro as a collaboration tool that substituted all the whiteboards, walls, and sticky notes. It’s worth to note that Miro offers a ready-to-use template for the remote Design Sprint. After slight modifications, it was a perfect tool to replace a standard wall. To prepare wireframes, we used AdobeXD which allowed us to add simple actions to the designs, giving users a feeling of using a real app.
The Sprint team consisted of a facilitator, a Product Owner, and 6 team members: 2 designers, a developer, a business advisor, a marketer, and a project manager. As they represented different fields, they had diverse skillsets, and so they could approach the problem with a broader spectrum of opinions.
After the conceptual work, we drew some sketches, discussed them together, chose the best ideas, and then turned them into one storyboard, and then into clickable wireframes using AdobeXD. Our “app” was not fully functional but it was enough for the users to understand how it’s going to work and what it was supposed to do.
We used Appoint.ly to schedule the interviews and make sure they don’t overlap with each other, and Google Meet to run the interviews. It was super convenient as it didn’t require the participants to download any software and they could easily share their screens so we could see how they were using the app.
As we had only 4 hours for the interviews, after conducting the first interviews together, we decided to split into two groups consisting of 2 people conducting the interview and 1 person taking notes, with a Product Owner switching between the interviews as an observer. That way, we’ve managed to improve the efficiency of the interviewing process – we had enough time to conduct the interviews and have short breaks in between.
During the Sprint, we’ve managed to set a long-term business goal with success criteria and metrics, build a Unique Value Proposition for the user, map customer journey, build a simple prototype, and test this prototype during user interviews. The reception was positive. What turned out, though, was that if we decided to proceed with the development, we would need to limit the initial scope and focus on a smaller number of features than we expected at the beginning of the Sprint. If we had built the prototype before running the Design Sprint, we would have spent 2 months and waste the budget to end up with a product that doesn’t meet users’ expectations.