To improve your product process, try the 25 minute design sprint

Edited excerpt from The 25-Minute Design Sprint by Chris Thelwell:

The 25 minute design sprint forces designers to work quickly and focus on what they can learn rather than what they can produce. It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique, which uses blocks of 25 minutes followed by five minute breaks to focus attention on getting something done. It can be used continuously throughout a project, breaking all parts of the design work into 25 minute slices, or stopped when you feel you are getting somewhere and have clear direction.

The Process
1. Using a timer, set up 25 minutes for the first sprint.
2. Each designer works individually for 25 minutes to create and explore ideas, ideally using sketching first. Include at least 10 minutes of researching and gaining inspiration.
3. When the 25 minutes ends, everyone stops what they are working on. (Don’t give in to “I just need another five minutes”.)
4. The whole team comes together to discuss and share their ideas.
5. The team decides if each designer should persevere (develop their ideas) or pivot (try something different) in the next sprint.
6. Take a five minute break from work.
7. The sprint process then starts over again.

Notes:
(1) Here’s Wikipedia on the Pomodoro Technique.
(2) A design sprint can only succeed with clarity about the Job To Be Done. So go over the Job Outline with the team before you start the sprint, and ensure everyone has answers to the Five questions to ensure product designers focus on the Job To Be Done.
(3) See also: Why product managers should frame every product task as a Job To Be Done.

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