Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days - Deepstash

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Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz

JAKE KNAPP

"Good ideas are hard to find. And even the best ideas face an uncertain path to real-world success. That's true whether you’re running a startup, teaching a class, or working inside a large organization."

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Working together in a sprint

Working in a sprint as a startup means shortcutting the endless debate cycle and compressing months of time into a single week. Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you get clear data from a realistic prototype.

The s...

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Running your own sprint

  • On Monday, you’ll map out the problem and pick an important place to focus. 
  • On Tuesday, you’ll sketch competing solutions on paper.
  • On Wednesday, you’ll make difficult decisions and turn your ideas into testable hypotheses.
  • On Thursday, you’ll hammer out a realistic ...

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Challenging situations where sprints can help: 

  • High stakes: you’re facing a big problem and the solution will require a lot of time and money. A sprint is your chance to check the navigation charts and steer in the right direction before going full steam ahead. 

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Solve the surface first

The surface is important. It’s where your product or service meets customers. Human beings are complex and fickle, so it’s impossible to predict how they’ll react to a brand-new solution. 

Get that surface right, and you can work backward to figure out the underlyin...

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JAKE KNAPP

A sprint resembles that perfectly orchestrated heist. You and your team put your talents, time, and energy to their best use, taking on an overwhelming challenge and using your wits (and a little trickery) to overcome every obstacle that crosses your path. To pull it off, you need the right t...

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One of the best aspects of a sprint: It gives you an excuse to work the way you want to work, with a clear calendar and one important goal to address.

There are no context switches between different projects, and no random interruptions.

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Even when the future seems obvious, it’s worth taking the time on Monday to make it specific and write it down. 

Consider these questions:

If you could jump ahead to the end of your sprint, what questions would be answered? If you went six months or a year further into the future,...

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Remix and improve

We all want a flash of divine inspiration that changes the world—and impresses our teammates. But amazing ideas don’t happen like that: great innovation is built on existing ideas, repurposed with vision.

In your sprint, follow this rule: remix and improve— but never blind...

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Sketching is the fastest and easiest way to transform abstract ideas into concrete solutions. Once your ideas become concrete, they can be critically and fairly evaluated by the rest of the team—without any sales pitch. 

And, perhaps most important of all, sketching...

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Here are the five steps to go through in order to decide which solutions should be prototyped:

  • Art museum: Put the solution sketches on the wall with masking tape. 
  • Heat map: Look at all the solutions in silence, and use dot stickers to mark in...

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The prototype mindset

Prototyping is all about creating an illusion. To prototype your solution, you’ll need a temporary change of philosophy: from perfect to just enough, from long-term quality to temporary simulation. This is the “prototype mindset,” and it’s made up of four simple principles:

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When it’s time to showcase your prototype to customers, you’ll want them to react naturally and honestly to what they believe is a finished product or service. Such reactions are solid gold, but feedback is not. 

If the illusion of a real product is broken, customers switc...

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