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Design Sprint

The Design Sprint Workshop: Voting Day (Part 3)


What a day we had yesterday, the first day of the design sprint workshop!

Let’s recap what we did yesterday.

First, we defined the challenge. What problem do we want to solve with this workshop?

Then, we created solutions. We sketched out ideas on nice sheets of paper that are now surrounding us on the walls.

Today, we’ll decide which solutions have the best chance of helping us achieve our long-term goal. And we’ll create a storyboard.

Let’s dive in!

Design sprint voting


Creating a heatmap of opinions

Before you start, make sure all the sketches are well-displayed on the walls of the meeting room.

The first step of the second day is all about discovering and studying the solutions sketches.

That’s how we do it:

  1. The group reviews the sprint questions to be able to analyze the sketches through their lenses.
  2. Participants then go around the room to look and study the sketches.
  3. While doing this, participants put dots on ideas or part of sketches that resonate with them. Which ideas are the most exciting? When you find an exciting idea, put a dot on it. Or put as many as you want.
  4. You should also take notes. Why does an idea have potential? Why is this idea resonating with you? Etc.
  5. If you have a question, write it on a post-it and stick it close to the sketch.

We call this step, “the Art gallery.” Its goal is to create a heatmap that highlights the best ideas.

And don’t forget: when you put dots on the wall at this stage, it’s not a vote. You’re not deciding anything. You’re just pointing to ideas that have legs.

The Art Gallery step is the first part of an exercise called “Concept Voting” by our friends at AJ&Smart.


Making the most of your first look at the sketches

Why not simply listen to every participant explain his or her solutions?

Here’s Jake Knapp’s answer, from his book Sprint.

“Explaining ideas has all kinds of downsides. If someone makes a compelling case for his or her idea or is a bit more charismatic, your opinion will be skewed. If you associate the idea with its creator (“Jamie always has great ideas”), your opinion will be skewed. Even just by knowing what the idea is about, your opinion will be skewed. It’s not hard for creators to make great arguments for their mediocre ideas or give great explanations for their indecipherable ideas. But in the real world, the creators won’t be there to give sales pitches and clues. In the real world, the ideas will have to stand on their own. If they’re confusing to the experts in a sprint, chances are good they’ll be confusing to customers. The heat map exercise ensures you make the most of your first, uninformed look at the sketches.”

As useful as the heatmap is to gather opinions, it’s not enough.


The facilitator gets to work

After everyone has put their dots on the sketches, the facilitator takes over.

On a separate sheet of paper for each solution sketch, he or she will write down:

  • The solution’s name
  • The big idea
  • The features which gathered the most dots, or “heat.”

The facilitator will then briefly present each concept, highlighting the parts that raised the most interest. This solution presentation is the second part of AJ&Smart’s Concept Voting process.

This presentation helps narrow down the available solutions.

It also ensures everyone is on the same page.

“The heatmap is very efficient at pointing at the most-liked ideas, explains Jeff Mignon, Pentalog’s Chief of Growth. But it doesn’t explain what the creator of the solution sketch had in mind, or why an idea resonates with people.”

While reviewing each concept, the facilitator gets to align everyone’s understanding of the ideas.

Our friends at AJ&Smart suggest asking this question:

“Did anyone vote on this for a different reason than what I explained?”

The brief presentations and discussions around the solutions sketches allow you to get to the bottom of an idea and understand the intent behind a solution sketch.

It’s also a way for everyone to explain their solutions to the Decider, which will be useful in the next part of the process, The Straw Poll Vote.


Decision time

Now that everyone understands the concepts, it’s time to choose the best solution.

Everyone has a say, but the decider will have the final one.

The straw poll vote is simply the process we use to help the decider make a final choice.

The straw poll vote works this way:

  1. Alone together, each participant chooses one solution in his or her head. The goal is not to pick the perfect solution, but the one that has the best chance of working.
  2. The vote then takes place when everyone, at the same time, puts a large dot on the chosen solution. The vote has to be simultaneous to avoid one person influencing the others.
  3. Each participant will briefly take turns to explain his or her choice.

Once the decider has heard the arguments, he or she chooses the solution you will test.


Setting the stage for storyboarding

Before we get to the storyboarding, we go through an exercise we call “User test Flow.” This exercise allows us to identify the path we want our users to take before we create the storyboard. And it simplifies the process a whole lot!

For this exercise, participants will work with six post-it notes.

On the first one, each person will write the point of entry or the point of the first contact for the user.

On the last one, everyone will specify the desired point of exit or the ideal ending for this interaction.

Between these two post-its, each participant will insert the four steps that users are expected to go through from the entry point to get to the exit.

As you see, this series of six post-its will illustrate the flow of the users through the different steps of our solution. These steps could be anything, like reading marketing material, watching a video, seeing additional warranty information, etc.

“You could call the user flow the ‘user journey,’ says Jeff Mignon. But it’s important to keep it simple.”

Can you add more than six steps? Yes, but it’s better to limit yourself to six or even less because it will simplify the storyboarding.


Voting on user flow

Once the user flows have been fleshed out, each participant will stick their post-its to the wall, in a way that makes it possible to see all the flows on the same wall.

At this time, you know what’s coming: you’re going to vote!

Again, each participant will put one dot on his or her favorite user flow.

Remember: the idea of the design sprint workshop is not to create a final product, but a rough prototype that you’ll be able to test.

Finally, the decider puts the deciding dot on the best user flow, and another one on a wildcard, that will be used as a backup.


Time for a break

Congratulations, you have accomplished a lot this morning. Now, take a break, and come back this afternoon for the storyboarding (you’ll love it!).

What problem could you solve with a design sprint? Talk to us.

The Design Sprint Workshop series:

The Design Sprint Workshop: Defining the Challenge (Part 1)
The Design Sprint Workshop: Creating Solutions (Part 2)
The Design Sprint Workshop: Voting Day (Part 3)
The Design Sprint Workshop: The Storyboard (Part 4)
The Design Sprint Workshop: Prototyping (Part 5)
The Design Sprint Workshop: Testing (Part 6)

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