What I learnt after my first Google Sprint

Week 1 —Ironhack Bootcamp

🙋🏼 Hi there! My name is Rosa. I’m a creative art director who has jumped into the UX/UI world. Want to know more about me? Click here.

After doing my first sprint I’ve discovered how many things I’ve been doing wrong in the past. That’s why instead of talking in detail about the Google Sprint process, I’m going to focus on the main things that blew me away.

For those who don’t know Google Design Sprint, here’s a quick definition:

A sprint is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers (…) Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. ”

To sum up, a sprint is intended to accomplish three things:

  • Answer big questions
  • Save time and money
  • Jumpstart innovation

Sounds great, isn’t it? Here’s the spoiler: IT IS GREAT

If you want to know more about the Google Sprint, you can buy the book. But here’s a tip: follow its author and get great tips for free ;)

DAY 1

Get the best of each team member to succeed

To break the ice we got 2 minutes to share the “ superpower ” we contribute to the team. Each one of us was useful in its own way.

Here is a quick preview of our superpowers:

You see, the best thing about this method is that you learn x2: from your teachers and from your classmates. This is a win-win situation for everyone 🙌🏻

A problem today, an opportunity tomorrow.

Sometimes when you are working on a project you try to avoid those friction parts that can turn everything apart. Not in Google Sprint, here the mantra is “fail fast”.

To do so, we wrote a list of current and future problems. This exercise is called Sprint Questions. Then, we reframed those problems and turned them into opportunities. This last step is called “How Might We”.

This was a revealing stage for me. In advertising, either we look the other way, either we send months of work into the trash. I couldn’t believe how fast we were improving just by looking at our problems face to face!

To understand your user, you just need to step into his shoes. Literally.

Draw a map and follow your user path. This way you could see in the blink of an eye what could go wrong in the user journey and fix those problems later. Yep, a map. Years of thinking out loud and never tried this before…🤦🏼‍

Focusing on one target is crucial

Choose a target that represents an important part of your users. Stick on that path and don’t get out of it. Trying to solve everything at once is a common mistake.

DAY 2

If everything is already built, rebuild it.

Don’t get lost trying to seek originality. Learn how others have solved the same issue in different contexts. Study them, interiorize them and build your own solution. Some of those ideas might not end up in your finished prototype but it’s a great way to wake up your brain ✌🏻

Don’t be afraid of sketching

On Tuesday you must complete four exercises that require sketching. I was afraid that I couldn’t show the best of me because I couldn’t sketch. If you feel the same way, believe me, that fear it’s only in your mind. Sketching is the ultimate weapon to put your brain to work. And in my case, to put my perfectionism in check.

DAY 3

Voting in silence is a bless

If you have never been in a brainstorming session trying to pick a solution you might not see what a genius idea is to vote the best solutions in silence. Hours and hours discussing what to do and not getting anywhere are over. To me, this is a life changer.

This way the best solutions shines, and we leave the criticism reduced to a 3-minute talk. Google Sprint team, thanks 🙏🏻

Deciders are a must

Democracy is awesome. But sometimes you need an expert in the field that points out the best solutions for the problem. In GS that person is “the decider”. The role of the decider was assumed by our instructor, Alejandro Arribas. This is the person with the biggest and shiniest voting stickers.

Again, a great way to stick to your long-term goal and don’t waste time beating around the bush.

Storyboards are not just for the movies

Every interaction needs context. Understanding what surrounds the user helps gives you an extra dimension of what frustrations he or she might feel. A storyboard can answer questions like what dispositive is the user using or when they use it. Also, it’s a great way to show how would you solve your user problems.

DAY 4

Don’t over do it. Keep it simple.

Finding the perfect balance when you are prototyping can be a bit tricky. At the beginning, we all wanted to include every single detail. And once we decided to start putting a lot of detail in one section, we needed to do it in every single page too. That wasn’t efficient at all. So we started simplifying everything.

Focus on ideas, not the tools.

When we were told to use Keynote I couldn’t understand why. In my mind it was easier to prototype on Sketch and then, send it to InVision or Marvel to do all the interactive work. Then I got it. As I said before, the simpler the tool the easier it is to focus on your ideas. Another lesson learn.

Everybody can’t do everything.

If everybody is doing everything, it’s very unlikely that by the end of the day you have finished your prototype. Separating the team by roles is the key to move faster and be productive.

DAY 5

If you ask the right questions, magic happens.

A good interview preparation is a must if you want to get the most of the test. Knowing why something isn’t working is fundamental, especially when you are learning. If you ask the wrong questions, you might miss the possibility of detecting a future problem (or a future opportunity). Take your time to prepare it well. Because if you do, even if the test goes wrong, you will give great insights for your project. So please lis-ten👂

Failing is revealing.

The good thing about Google Sprints is that you never lose. Here is where their “failing fast” mantra shows its true colors. In our case, we failed. Deeply. At best, we could save a 10% of our prototype idea.

But even though we failed, we win. In each mistake, we have a whole world of new opportunities. Interviews gave us a bunch of insights to iterate too. And we felt motivated to move to the next step, and do it all again. Yay! 🎉

In conclusion, less time doesn’t mean poor solutions

Time in Google Sprint is heavily metered. That helps you not to mess around and just go forward. At first, it can be overwhelming. But in the end, not stopping to think about the details will help you to reach your goal much faster.

I would love to hear about your first impressions of Google Sprint too :)

See you in the next sprint!

Thanks to AlejandroArribas, Olaia Irigoien, Daniel Galán Conde, *lule salas *, Carlo Padrón, Juan Luis Vilar Lopez.