Design Sprint Implementation

Our customers and development teams have problems with the adaptation of design thinking. What could be done to make them aware of the value of design?


  • Customers come with detailed solutions instead of business objectives.
  • New solutions are heavily based on current systems and processes.
  • The primary customer is not the only stakeholder, secondary stakeholders aren’t involved.
  • Customers only see the end result and aren’t always happy with the final outcome.
  • Design is not seen as valuable by everyone.
  • Stakeholders don’t have time to participate in a full-week design sprint.
  • Some developers would rather develop than engage in design work. 
  • Only remote workshops and collaboration can be organised during the pandemic
  • Easier to grasp than more elaborate design approaches.
  • Intense, but short, and engaging.
  • Results are quickly visible.
  • Possible to do with multiple teams and customers in one quarter.



Influence senior management by showing design success stories.
Senior management was quickly convinced that design thinking would contribute to solving our challenges.


Organise an example design sprint with a concept that everyone understands.
Less complex concepts makes it easier to understand the value of the outcome of the example sprint.


Ensure that senior management will participate in the example sprint.
The rest of the organisation takes design sprints more serious when they see leadership participate.


Organise more design sprints with several product teams.
Customers and developers experience the value of collaborative design first hand.


Learn from experiences and adapt design sprint process to our needs.
Tailor our design sprint approach such that it suits the organization.


Encourage product teams to organise design sprints and offer to help instead of facilitate.
Development teams become self-sufficient and design centred. 

An overview of the first 5 sprints

Process globally applied and tested


User Journey Maps

We can only create solutions if we thoroughly understand the problem. A user journey map helps us to approach the challenge from the perspective of the persona we design for. Mapping out their journey, including their thoughts, actions and emotions, helps us to move away from thinking in terms of business processes, something that often happens at process heavy organizations.

How Might We's

One of our challenges is that customers come to us with – what they think is – the solution. How might we’s force participants into thinking about objectives instead of detailed solutions. Developers tend to think from technical limitations and business people from procedural limitations. HMW’s reduce creativity blockers like “is this feasible”?

Long term goals & Sprint Goals

Solving today’s challenges might limit our thinking. This is why it can be useful to broaden our horizon and think about what the product would look like a few years from now. We might realise that we are defining a direction that is misaligned with the long term product roadmap. Or, maybe the entire solution will be obsolete in a while.

The sprint objectives will be used to bring us back to reality and to the feasibility of the current design sprint. We will define what the measurable objectives for this sprint are, such that we will be able to verify if the end result of the sprint is successful.

Lightning Demos

It’s not always easy to start sketching from a blank slate. Showing demos of other products is a good way to get inspired. The participants are asked to collect examples from products they like. Those examples can be from products from competitors, but great ideas can also be found in non-related industries.

Concept Sketching

We all have intrinsic creativity. Sometimes it just needs to be activated. By using a few sketching activities, all participants will be guided to coming up with a variety of solutions. We mainly focus on quantity at this stage. Exploring is the objective.

Final Sketches

It’s not always easy to start sketching from a blank slate. Showing demos of other products is a good way to get inspired. The participants are asked to collect examples from products they like. Those examples can be from products from competitors, but great ideas can also be found in non-related industries.

Decide & Prototypes

Putting many small good ideas together doesn’t mean that we’d have one great idea. The decide workshop should have paved the way to create a coherent prototype, that allows us to verify our conceptual choices with the user.

How do we present those concepts? That depends on the context. It’s common to create an interactive prototype that allows the user to click through various pages. However, we are not always designing a digital product. Therefore, there is no single recipe that dictates how to create a prototype and how it should look like.

User Tests

The prototypes will be tested with a handful of users. The insights that are collected will be taken into account when the final findings will be shared with all stakeholders. Presenting the concept from the eyes of the user creates more understanding.


  • Increased engagement with our customers, by involving them in a part of the workshops and otherwise by using business alignment workshops to facilitate decision making.
  • Support of customers in moving from asking for solutions to sharing their business objectives.
  • Utilised the unique talent and knowledge of a diverse group of participants and increases team cohesion.
  • Designed products that are in the sweet spot of user desires, business objectives and technical feasibility.
  • Democratised the design process and reduced the risk that individual designers or developers will be held responsible for a group effort.
  • Made enterprise thinking more mobile minded.

Take Aways

  • Design sprints are not the answer to everything. It’s a compromise of an elaborate design process but works well for particular challenges.
  • Scoping is really important in all phases of the sprint. It’s tempting to try to solve too many issues at once.
  • No workshop is the same. It’s ok to let the participants have an influence on the direction of the workshop, as long as the end objective is managed. Introducing unforeseen activities can be effective to ensure smooth progress.
  • Reduced stakeholder investment works. The business alignment workshops were well received and stakeholders felt engaged and influential.
  • Remote workshops work quite well, but attention needs to be paid to the informal aspect of the day. Facilitate coffee-talk conversations.