Chroma Experience

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a five-day workshop in which problems are identified, solutions are developed and ideas are tested with users. The general procedure of a Design Sprint is essentially based on the Design Thinking process.

Design Sprint - Arbeit mit Skizzen und Postits

Origin of the Design Sprint

The Design Sprint is a process developed by Google Ventures. Before it was captured in the book "Sprint", Google Ventures conducted Design Sprints with over 100 startups and its own investments.

The Design Sprint approach is based on the Design Thinking process. In addition, components of customer journey mapping are incorporated.

The goal of a Design Sprint is to test important and strategic questions for product development. The answers to critical questions have a great influence on the further development of a product. Design Sprints are suitable for the development of products, services or entire business models.

Design Sprint framework

  • Duration: Five days (full day from Monday to Friday).

  • Team constellation: Five to seven people. Essential part of the team is a product owner.

  • Facilitator: A sprint facilitator moderates / organizes the sprint team, ensures adherence to the process and calls for decisions.

  • Users: After completion of a Design Sprint, five users are interviewed in detail and confronted with a prototype developed during the sprint.

  • Room / Material: A room (also virtual) that is suitable for team work. Whiteboards, pens, flipcharts and post-its. In addition, materials necessary for building a prototype.

Conducting a Design Sprint

Design Sprints are intended to help solve existing problems or try out new ideas. Therefore, before conducting the Design Sprint, one defines a "Challenge". This challenge is to be solved by the team during the week.

A "Challenge" deals with the questions:

  • What is the initial situation and what is the problem?

  • What are the goals of solving the problem?

  • Who are the potential users?

Day 1: Understanding the problem

The first day of a Design Sprint should be used to get a common understanding of the problem to be solved with the team. In addition, a sprint goal is defined. The Design Sprint addresses the following questions:

  • "Start at the end" - How will the project / product evolve over the next 6-12 months if everything goes positively?

  • Risks and questions - Which assumptions and risks endanger or influence the success of the project?

  • "Map - What does the customer journey of the users look like? Which people are involved and what are the associated processes?

The first section of the day concludes with a map documenting and visualizing the critical paths of the Customer Journey. The team should now have a common understanding of the task and the vision.

In the second part of the day, colleagues, experts and important stakeholders are guests in the design sprint. They should complete the customer journey map with their experiences and questions. Based on the advice of the external experts, "how might we" questions are collected. These are then sorted and categorized by the team. By formulating these questions as "how might we" questions and putting them in good order, the team gains important foundations for the development of a solution.

At the end of the first day, the product owner defines a sprint goal based on the customer journey, the "how might we" questions and the feedback from the stakeholders. This goal must be kept in focus and the team's further activities during the course of the Design Sprint must be aligned with it.

Day 2: Solutions

The second day of the Design Sprint is dedicated to sketching solutions for the team. The first step is for the team to collect solution approaches from competitors, from different contexts, industries and problem domains. Copying is expressly encouraged. Ideas are consolidated and presented to the team. In this way, all participants have become acquainted with several potential solution approaches in a short time.

In the second part of the second day, each individual develops his or her preferred solution idea with pen and paper. In the Design Sprint it is said that in this phase "silent work" leads to better results than group work. The second Design Sprint day ends with the elaboration of the idea sketches. All approaches are collected at the end of the day, but not yet discussed further.

Day 3: Decisions

Day three of a Design Sprint begins with the evaluation of the solutions developed on the previous day. For this purpose, the sketches of the individual team members are hung up for all to see and access. The team gets the opportunity to examine the sketches in peace, to comment on them and finally to evaluate them. Afterwards, the product owner makes a decision based on the collected evaluations as to which of the developed ideas will be implemented as a prototype on the following day. The choice can be made for a single idea or the product owner decides to implement several ideas.

The second part of the day is used to assemble the ideas into a unified storyboard. The storyboard should reflect the processes and the customer journey of the users. Thus, the storyboard becomes the basis on which the prototype to be developed on the next day will be realized.

Day 4: Prototyping

On the fourth day of a Design Sprint, craftsmanship is required. The team builds the prototype according to the storyboard (from the previous day). Any form that gives the users a chance to put themselves in the situation is suitable as a prototype. Only in this way can real feedback be given by the users and the prototype fulfill its purpose.

To create the prototype, different roles are assigned in the Design Sprint. While one part of the team takes care of materials, some only work on individual aspects of the prototype, while one person brings the individual aspects together. At the end of the day, one or more prototypes should have been created.

Day 5: Testing

On the last Design Sprint day, the prototype is presented to the users and they are asked about it. In the Design Sprint, five users are sufficient for an initial validation.

While the users are interviewed, the rest of the team acts as mindful listeners and observers. Questions and observations from the interaction with the users are noted down. From this step, it crystallizes which assumptions are not upheld and which insights can be used for further development.

Concluding the Design Sprint

To conclude the Design Sprint, the documented questions and notes from the observers must be organized and categorized. A clear picture should now emerge for the team and feedback on which hypotheses and critical questions are proven true, but also which must be discarded and which new insights have been gained.

Potentially, the insights gained are merely the basis for subsequent Design Sprints. However, subsequent Design Sprints do not necessarily have to go the full distance. The existing team constellation can fall back on many results of the previous Design Sprint, such as the target image or the solution ideas already developed. Parts of the prototype can also be reused for another sprint.


Design Sprints are a very refreshing and field-tested adaptation of the Design Thinking process in a structured format that focuses on the user community, its customer journey and the problem to be solved.

However, a Design Sprint is a comparatively elaborate format and eats up a lot of resources. Therefore, our approach is based only on the principles of Design Sprint and Design Thinking. However, if the insights resulting from the process form the strategic basis for the development of a product for the next 12-18 months, one week is a very reasonable investment.