5 days? 3 days? 2 hours? There is a design sprint schedule to fit any timeline. We have collected a few of our favorite schedules together in one place so that you can tweak them as needed.See all
Design Sprint Guide Design, prototype & test ideas quickly.
What is a design sprint?
A Product Design Sprint is a technique to quickly design, prototype, and test the viability of an idea, product, or feature. The design sprint consists of 5 phases (typically days), starting with design thinking and ending with a user-tested prototype.
Design sprint phases
At its core, a design sprint is split into 5 phases. Each phase has a clear goal and is designed to make progress towards answering big questions and validating big ideas. Each phase is flexible and there is lots of room to experiment with different techniques.
Overview of Understand
Day one of the design sprint is about gathering all existing information/knowledge on the business, the customer and the problem and exposing our assumptions and knowledge gaps. From here can make plans to fill the riskiest knowledge gaps and validate or invalidate our riskiest assumptions.More about this Phase ⟶
Overview of Diverge
The goal is to explore as many possibilities as possible, regardless of how realistic, feasible or viable they may or may not be. From this explosion of opportunity comes insights made when considering the implications of radically different perspectives on and approaches to solving a problem. These insights can become valuable differentiating forces and the source of unique solution inspiration.More about this Phase ⟶
Overview of Converge
During Converge our goal is to take all of the possibilities that we have exposed over the past two days and hone in on a single version of the prototype that we will build in the next phase.More about this Phase ⟶
Overview of Prototype
The core purpose of the prototype, the assumptions you are trying to validate/invalidate or the knowledge gaps you are trying to fill should have all been discussed in Converge. During this phase you will build a quick and dirty prototype. Since you have limited time to build the prototype it should be as low-fi as you can get away with during Testing.More about this Phase ⟶
Overview of Test
One of the last phases of the Product Design Sprint is to test our assumptions and how users react to the prototype. Going into each test you should have a plan of what you are testing and how you know if that is successful or not.More about this Phase ⟶
Build a design sprint
At thoughtbot, we have organized many, many design sprints over the years and found that there is no right way to plan one. Each client and every problem is different and needs a slightly different approach.
One of the great things about design sprints is how flexible they can be. There are lots of great exercises that as a facilitator you can use to tailor the sprint to the needs of your team. Browse our library of exercises to find the perfect one.
- Divide or Swarm
- Four-Step Sketches
- Group Critique
Resources & Glossary
Over the years we’ve collected and created lots of resources to help out with running or explaining a design sprint. We have also collected some jargon terms that others find confusing.
- Our Blog Posts
- Sprint Book
- Sprint Stories
- Design Sprint 2.0
- Gamestorming and the Gamestorming Wiki
- Pre-sprint Setup Email Template
- Trello Template: based off original Sprint blog posts.
- Trello Template: based off Sprint Book
See all resources
If you're new to design sprints or just need a refresher to some less-than common terms we've got a list of the most common.
- A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is the early stage of a product that allows teams to test and validate new features based on the needs of the user. A MVP helps get products to market faster with features that benefit their target audiences.
- Scaling itself has multiple meanings, sometimes referring to increasing the amount of work the application can do or increasing the amount of resources available to the app.
- Any unvalidated or untested information formed out of the given problem and is assumed to be true. Assumptions formed can be based on what we know about who will use the product, uncertainties around the product, scenarios that may occur during the use of the product, etc.
- Card Sorting
- Card sorting is a design exercise that guides us toward creating the most coherent information architecture of a product. During a card sorting session, participants are asked to associate two sets of flashcards by grouping them. While the first set of flashcards contains categories, the second set contains sample content.
- Decider / Product Owner
- The individual in this role has final say for the product. Typically, our client.
Read all the glossary terms
- What is a product design sprint?
- A Product Design Sprint is a technique to quickly design, prototype, and test the viability of an idea, product, or feature. The design sprint consists of 5 phases (typically days), starting with design thinking and ending with a user-tested prototype.
- Can you run a design sprint remotely?
- Yes! By combining the right tools, processes, and planning it’s the way that we now prefer to run sprints.
- Do I need any special materials?
- Nope, not really! At most, all you'll need is some paper and your most favorite writing utensil for some of the activities like Speedy Eights or Story Boarding. These activities can also be done online, however, so not having these materials will not be detrimental to a successful Sprint.
- Do I need to learn any fancy design software?
- Nope! We'll guide you through the activities and how best to use the platform so you can just focus on getting the most out of your Sprint experience. If you'd like to get familiar with some of the software we like to use for Sprints, we're big fans of Miro and Figma.