Use Design Thinking To Enhance Your Sprint Strategy

Ruth Hadari
Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert
Posted on
May 26, 2022
Updated on
Jun 6, 2022
Table of Content

Incorporating Sprints into your business is one of the many secrets to getting your tasks done efficiently. Sprints are a core component of the Agile process, a time-boxed period during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review, usually taking place across one to two weeks.

Ultimately, the aim of a Sprint is to accomplish a goal. This could be anything from developing a new product to fixing a problem. Sprints force you to break down the larger Product Goal and focus on smaller, specific tasks.

Sprints are also a great way to practice design thinking. To do this, you'll have to understand how design thinking works and why it is popular with businesses; after all, design thinking is special, as it offers a user-centric approach to problem-solving

With a Sprint strategy and design thinking, you can develop a product or service that is not only useful, but also beautifully designed. How can you go about incorporating sprints and design thinking in your business? Let's start by first understanding what design thinking is.

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative process wherein problems are solved through creative thinking and the application of logical reasoning. The process begins with identifying a problem, followed by coming up with potential solutions, and finally, implementing the most promising solution.

This type of process is rooted in the field of design, but has been adapted for a variety of other disciplines, such as business, education, and government. The popularity of design thinking can be attributed to its ability to produce results that are both creative and practical.

The development of design thinking works by breaking down problems into smaller, more manageable pieces. This allows for a greater understanding of the problem and the development of more creative solutions.

Implementing design thinking also requires the use of teamwork, since the process of design thinking is often too complex for one individual to complete on their own.

What Is a Sprint Strategy?

Sprint strategy is often confused with design thinking because of the similarities in how they are used to solve problems. However, they are two distinct methodologies within the Agile process.

Design thinking is a more holistic approach that can solve any problem or reach any goal, whether long or short-term. Sprint strategy, on the other hand, is a more specific method that is used to solve problems requiring a rapid solution.

Sprint strategy solves problems on a much smaller scope than design thinking. A Sprint is all about solving one specific problem in a short time (usually 1-2 weeks) with the goal of reaching and implementing a minimum viable product (MVP). Design thinking, on the other hand, takes a more long-term view and tries to solve problems more comprehensively.

Both Sprint strategy and design thinking have their advantages and disadvantages. However, if you combine Sprint strategy and design thinking, you get the best of both worlds. This means that you can use your Sprint strategy to solve a specific problem quickly, and then use design thinking to come up with a more comprehensive solution.

Why Is Design Thinking Beneficial to Programming?

Design thinking in programming offers IT personnel and developers a new perspective on problem-solving that can result in innovative software solutions. Because design thinking entails a process of continual experimentation and user feedback, it is suited to the needs of Agile software development.

Aside from that, design thinking offers the chance for individual thinking which is more likely to produce innovative solutions, because it does not follow a linear process. Instead, it is more iterative, meaning that solutions are constantly being tweaked and improved based on user feedback.

To be successful, every programmer needs to think outside the box. They need to see things from different angles and come up with solutions that are not immediately obvious. Design thinking encourages this type of thinking, which is essential for creating high-quality software.

The 5 Principles of Design Thinking

Now that you understand how design thinking works, it's time to identify the 5 principles that make up the design thinking process. Remember, these principles are guidelines, not rules, and they can be applied in different ways to different situations.

Empathize

Empathy is all about understanding the user’s emotional state and perspective. Under this design thinking principle, you must gain an in-depth understanding of the problem you're going to solve. This also requires consulting with different stakeholders and getting feedback from users.

The first step is to get to know the user; you must yearn to understand their needs, wants, and motivations. This can be done through interviews, surveys or other research methods. You can also immerse yourself in the environment and witness firsthand how users interact with the product. 

Empathizing is crucial, as you can get insights and perspectives that you may not have thought of otherwise. However, keep in mind that there might be time constraints during your information gathering. In this case, prioritize and focus on the most important information and ensure that you're able to understand the user’s needs.

Define

After you've acquired all the necessary facts, it's time to identify the problem. This is the time to look for trends and try to figure out what's causing the problem. You must also develop a point of view that will act as a guide in fixing the problem. Based on your study and knowledge of the user, this should be your recommendation.

When defining the problem, it is critical that you be as detailed as possible, making it easier to come up with better ideas later in the future. At this point, you should also ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands the situation at hand.

To do this, you should create a problem statement. This should be a concise and clear description of the problem, one that is specific enough so that you can start coming up with feasible solutions.

Ideate

This is where you generate ideas on how to solve the problem. The goal here is to come up with as many ideas as possible; don’t worry about whether they're good or bad, the point is to get your creative juices flowing and to be creative.

There are several ways you can generate ideas, one of which is by brainstorming as a group. This can help you get different perspectives and come up with ideas you may not have thought of on your own. Another way is to look for inspiration in other places. This could be anything from books and articles to movies and nature.

You can also get inspiration from your own experiences. What have you done in the past that has worked well? What have you seen others do that has been effective? This can help you come up with new ideas or adapt existing ones to your specific situation.

Finally, don't forget to think about the people you're designing for. What do they need? What are their pain points? Understanding their perspective can help you come up with solutions that are more likely to be successful.

Prototype

Once you have a few ideas, it's time to prototype. This is where you take your ideas and turn them into something tangible – a sketch, a wireframe, or even a functioning app. The key is to create something that you can test and iterate on quickly. This will help you validate your idea and gather feedback from users. Once you have a solid prototype, you can start working on the design and user experience.

This can be done by yourself or as a team, depending on the resources you have at your disposal. If you're working with a team, it's important to formulate a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you want to go about it. Prototyping is a good way to share the vision of an idea, because nothing is left to the imagination: your team can see, touch or feel what the idea is.

Test

After you've created a prototype, it's important to test it with users to ensure that it meets their needs. This is where Sprint strategy and design thinking come in. During this process, your team will work together to check if the prototype functions as intended, identify any areas for improvement and make changes accordingly.

One tip is that if the prototype worked well, list down the things that went right so that you can replicate them in future sprints. If there were problems, try to figure out the root cause and come up with solutions. Design thinking can help you with this, as it's all about finding creative problem-solving.

After testing, it's time to review the results and decide whether to proceed with the Sprint or make changes. This is where Sprint Strategy and Design Thinking come in handy again. By working together, you can quickly come up with a plan of action and make decisions that will help you improve your prototype.

How Can the 5 Principles of Design Thinking Be Used During a Sprint?

To make business processes easier and more effective, you can incorporate the design thinking process into the Sprint. This can be done by first looking at the existing problem, then tryin to understand the user’s needs. After that, it’s important to come up with creative solutions before implementing and testing them.

Always remember that these 5 principles go hand in hand, so if you don't use them properly during a Sprint, the outcome may not be as effective as you want it to be. That's why it's crucial to take your time and understand how to use each principle before moving on to the next one.

Final Thoughts

Design thinking is a development technique that is widely used in many business environments. It is a process that helps you to think about the user's experience and how to design a better one for them. Not only that, but it’s also a great way to frame your problems and figure out how to solve them. 

By combining design thinking with Sprint strategy and other effective business tools, businesses can create amazing products, services, and experiences for their users.

Aside from that, businesses should also consider the following for sprint strategy and design thinking:

  • What is the problem that we are trying to solve?
  • What are our users' needs?
  • How can we design a better experience for our users?
  • What are our business goals?
  • How can we measure the success of our Sprint?

All in all, Sprint strategy and design thinking are two important methodologies that businesses who work with Agile should use. It increases the likelihood of creating innovative products, services and experiences for the end user.

About the author

Ruth Hadari
Agile Advocate, Engineering Ops Expert

Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. The go-to person who is able to simplify the complex. An agile advocate, experienced in all common methodologies. Responsible for the entire software development lifecycle process from development, QA, DevOps, Automation to delivery including overall planning, direction, coordination, execution, implementation, control and completion. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

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