Design Sprint / Product Design / Workshop

100% Remote Design Sprint To Validate Business Idea In 5 Days

  • Industry Marketing
  • Year 2020
  • Services Remote Design Sprint
  • Idea validation Positive
  • Team 6 people

Broca

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.

Introduction

About the project

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.

Our tasks

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Developing the idea

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.

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Building low-fidelity wireframes

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.

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Validating business idea

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.

Challenges

01

1. Finding product-market fit

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.

2. Conducting the Design Sprint 100% remotely

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 Neoteric we have extensive experience in the realization of workshops in various forms, but this time it was a fully remote Design Sprint (each team member worked from a different location) and the time difference between the Neoteric team and the client and experts was 9 hours. The biggest challenge for remote workshops is to maintain the energy and commitment of participants. The carefully planned Design Sprint tasks come to the fore, as well as the organization of breaks at the right moments and rational planning of the duration of the workshop.
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Maciej Borkowski / Service Delivery Manager, Neoteric

Solutions

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1. Adjusting the Design Sprint framework to remote work

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.

2. Choosing the tech stack to run the Design Sprint remotely

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.

3. Building an interdisciplinary team

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.

4.  Building a simple app prototype

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.

5. Testing an app prototype remotely

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.

Technology we used

Adobe XD
Google Meet
Miro

Project Results

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Validating the idea positively in 5 days instead of 2 months

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.

Providing the Client with a report and recommendations for further development

Just like with any other workshop that we run, we provided the Client with a comprehensive workshop report with a summary of all the findings and recommendations for further development.

Conclusion

Even though the Design Sprint was created as an on-site workshop, it is fully adaptable to be run online. In 5 days, we’ve managed to validate the business idea by designing an app prototype and testing it with users. The reception was positive and gives our Client the green light to develop it further - build an actual app within the scope established during the Sprint and start.

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