How to Assemble a Design Sprint Team


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You’ve just decided to run a design sprint. At this point, your focus should be on building the perfect Design Sprint team. Assembling this team is easier said than done. After all, you need to establish a team that balances one another, while also bringing all the critical skills to the table. This requires finding a team with a diverse mix of strengths, backgrounds, and personalities.

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Fortunately, the entire process is far from impossible. Here’s what you need to know about assembling a design sprint team for your organization:

How Large Should the Team Be?

According to Google Ventures, the best sprint teams are no larger than seven people. This is a solid guideline.

If your team grows larger than seven members, you put yourself at risk of taking on too many personalities and opinions. If it’s significantly smaller than that, though, the team members are likely to feel overworked and stretched too thin.

6 Critical Roles for any Design Sprint Team

If you want a quality sprint team, you’ve got to find people for the following roles:

1. Decider / Product Manager

The Decider / Product Manager is the informal leader of the sprint team. In some cases, this person is the VP of Product or CEO of a given company.

In other cases, the Decider / Product Manager may be a lead engineer or even a sales executive. It doesn’t matter where this person comes from so much as it does that they have real-world experience with the problem you’re seeking to resolve.

2. The Facilitator

The design sprint facilitator adopts the most responsibility when it comes to the team dynamic.

This person serves several essential purposes, including but not limited to ensuring that critical pre-sprint work has been completed and that the team features all the skills and personalities it needs to be successful.

This person will also serve as the organizational force needed to keep everything running smoothly during an intense, five-day sprint.

There are a lot of moving parts in any design sprint. Between booking conference rooms, organizing lunch, taking notes, setting timers, and interviewing customers, it can be tough to keep the entire project on-track unless you hire a facilitator. This person’s primary role is to help the team keep up with the pace of a five-day sprint, and put things in place as you go.

3. The Customer Expert

This person steps in to conduct the face-to-face business with your clients. They’re the ones who simplify sales language, slash jargon and step up to identify and address your customers’ real and pressing pain points.

This person should have past customer service experience and the skills needed to converse easily with your client base. Bonus points if this person has marketing experience.

4. The Design Expert

Every design sprint team needs a good designer. This person serves several critical roles. In addition to making things look appealing, they are also handy for helping the team visualize an idea, make abstract thoughts a reality, and stay grounded regarding what is possible and what’s not.

This person should, obviously, have previous design experience and has ideally worked on a sprint team in the past.

5. The Engineer / Tech Logistics Expert

While some teams don’t have an engineer among them, there are many good reasons to hire one. To start, engineers are valuable for testing the prototypes you develop.

They may produce software, hardware, and other real-world product prototypes that can help you drive your sprint forward in an effective and streamlined way.

6. Marketing Expert

Having a great marketing person on your design sprint team is essential, and it’s easy to see why. The words used to describe your product are some of the first things customers will come into contact with, so they’ve got to be good. Because of this, hiring a wordsmith is never a waste of time.

 

Developing the Perfect Sprint Team

Design sprint teams are as unique as the products they work on. When you focus on filling these six roles, though, and keeping your team small and cohesive, it’s easier than ever to come up with a fantastic sprint team that moves your organization forward.

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