Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz
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“Sprint offers a transformative formula for testing ideas that works whether you’re at a startup or a large organization. Within five days, you’ll move from idea to prototype to decision, saving you and your team countless hours and countless dollars. A must read for entrepreneurs of all stripes.” —Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup
From three partners at Google Ventures, a unique five-day process for solving tough problems, proven at more than a hundred companies.
Entrepreneurs and leaders face big questions every day: What’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings and discussions does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution?
Now there’s a surefire way to answer these important questions: the sprint. Designer Jake Knapp created the five-day process at Google, where sprints were used on everything from Google Search to Google X. He joined Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky at Google Ventures, and together they have completed more than a hundred sprints with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more.
A practical guide to answering critical business questions, Sprint is a book for teams of any size, from small startups to Fortune 100s, from teachers to nonprofits. It’s for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.
that not everyone knows about. In our sprints with startups, we have an unfair advantage: We’re outsiders who don’t know anything, so our dumb questions are genuine. In your sprint, you’ll have to act like an outsider. 4. Take care of the humans As Facilitator, you’re not only running the sprint—you’ve got to keep your sprint team focused and energized. Here are some of our tricks: Take frequent breaks Breaks are important. We like to take a ten-minute break every sixty to ninety minutes,
the narrowing of sketches you’ll find on Wednesday). But you’ll have to handle some smaller decisions on your own. Slow decisions sap energy and threaten the timeline of the sprint. Don’t let the group dissolve into unproductive debates that aren’t moving you toward a decision. When a decision is slow or not obvious, it’s your job as Facilitator to call on the Decider. She should make the decision so the team can keep moving. Tuesday On Monday, you and your team defined the challenge
solutions. But there will be no brainstorming; no shouting over one another; no deferring judgment so wacky ideas can flourish. Instead, you’ll work individually, take your time, and sketch. Even though we’re total tech nerds, we’re believers in the importance of starting on paper. It’s a great equalizer. Everyone can write words, draw boxes, and express his or her ideas with the same clarity. If you can’t draw (or rather, if you think you can’t draw), don’t freak out. Plenty of people worry
builds this tomorrow can decide that detail.” And then move on. The Decider decides. Storyboarding is difficult because you already spent a lot of your limited decision-making energy in the morning. To make it easier, continue to rely on the Decider. In the Slack sprint, Braden was the “artist” drawing the storyboard, but Merci made the decisions. It was extra work for her, but it kept us fast and opinionated. You won’t be able to fit in every good idea and still have a storyboard that makes
Early lunch 12:30 p.m. Interview #3 1:30 Break 2:00 Interview #4 3:00 Break 3:30 Interview #5 4:30 Debrief This condensed schedule allows the whole team to watch the interviews together, and analyze them firsthand. This means no waiting for results, and no second-guessing the interpretation. One-on-one interviews are a remarkable shortcut. They allow you to test a façade of your product, long before you’ve built the real thing—and fallen in love with it. They deliver