5 Myths About Design Sprints (and the Realities Behind Them)

Confused about the Design Sprint process? Keep hearing controversial advice? AJ&Smart police are here to bust the biggest myths about the Design Sprint.

Design Sprints have received lots of attention over the past few years, and for a good reason. They foster innovation, improved collaboration, and let companies solve big problems, fast.

Pretty cool, right? But along with attention and interest come the unfounded myths and misinformation. What started as a way to simplify the decision-making process becomes a riddle in itself.

Not on our watch! AJ&Smart police are here and are about to bust the biggest Design Sprint myths.

Myth: Design Sprints Work for Small Teams Only

The Design Sprint process was invented and pioneered at Google (read the full recap of the story here), and one thing Google isn’t is small. Some of the biggest companies in the world like IBM, eBay, Netflix, and LEGO swear by Design Sprints.

In fact, LEGO might be the ultimate proof that company size is not a hurdle on the way to Sprinting. They implement the Sprint process at scale across the entire organization. Impressive!

Curious how they did it? We were, too. That’s why our CEO Jonathan interviewed Erik Brandsgård, the man responsible for Design Sprint implementation at LEGO and asked him all about it. Give it a listen here.

Myth: Design Sprints are for Designers only

We’ve successfully debunked this myth multiple times by training thousands of people who are far removed from the design world to become Sprint facilitators, both in our in-person trainings and the Design Sprint Masterclass.

Whether you’re a product owner, a manager, a marketer, a business owner or a coach – the Design Sprint can deliver real value and help you excel in your career.

Read more on how Design Sprints can boost your career even if you’re not a designer.

Want to learn more about the Design Sprint? Join Facilitator Club and connect with experts in the field

Myth: Design Sprints Can Be Used to Solve Any Problem

Finding the right problem to tackle is the first step on the way to a successful Sprint.  

Choose a goal that is too ambiguous, and you’re set for a very difficult Sprint.

Choose a goal too narrow – and you’ll waste 4 days working on something that could have been done by one person.

It’s an intricate balance to achieve. Lucky for you, we have a whole video where we explain in detail how to choose the right challenge for the Sprint. Enjoy!

Myth: Only Design Teams benefit from the Sprint

The team working on a Design Sprint should include a healthy mix of members of different departments. Depending on the size of the company and the scope of the challenge the exact job titles may vary, but it’s rarely ever an all-designer squad.

After powering through the Sprint, you’ll be left with a tested high-fidelity prototype, which is, of course, a big benefit for the design team. However, you will also see record levels of team alignment and clarity– a win for the company as a whole.

Myth: After the Last ‘Formal’ Exercise  of a Design Sprint You’re Done

You better believe that the team has worked hard during the Sprint week. You’ve mapped, voted, sketched, prototyped, tested, and prototyped some more – give yourself a pat on the back, acknowledge all the progress made…and get ready to work some more!

The Sprint is only as good as its iteration and execution. If you don’t act on the insights gained from the first round of User Interviews, the whole process kind of loses its purpose and momentum. So buckle up and run an iteration Sprint with your team. We explain how to do exactly that in this handy video.

Now that some of the biggest Design Sprint myths have been debunked, it is YOUR turn to get out there and..well, Sprint. Let us know in the comments down below if you’ve struggled with overcoming these myths yourself, or what other myths you’re hearing around the watercooler.

(No really, do it; we’re answering comments directly on here and would loveee to hear from you!)

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AJ&Smart Team

A team of pro workshop facilitators with 9+ years of experience.