Design sprint: a checklist for facilitators in big companies

photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Design Sprint 101

Design Sprint is a methodology created by Google in 2010. It became more popular in 2015. Although it is easy to find out why and how to use it, most of the information you are going to read is related to applying it in startups, but there are virtually no tips about how to do it in big companies. I had a good experience applying this methodology in a big company. Some friends who already knew the methodology started asking me what I was doing that made it run so smoothly in a big company. That is why I decided to write down all the steps of my journey as a facilitator and I transformed it into a checklist.

First things first. Do you know what is a Design Sprint? Long story short, it’s “a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers.” This definition and much more you can find at or you can buy their awesome book “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”. Is there any official checklist? Yes! Google has their own checklist. It’s a very good one in the book. Make time to read it 😉

The Facilitator’s Role

In addition, have you ever facilitated a workshop? If you have experience as a workshop facilitator, you probably know how much effort you need to invest just for planning a 4-hour activity. Now, imagine yourself planning a week-long workshop! The facilitator role is the foundation of a good workshop. Aside from all you have to do during the workshop, the facilitator is responsible for preparing everything before the activity starts and for wrapping up after it is done. A facilitator is neither a boss nor a teacher. You are responsible for engaging the team and making sure they are running on the same path to achieve a common goal. You will help them to make connections without voicing your personal opinion.

You are invisible, but the essential glue to guarantee the process flows as smoothly as possible.

Why Another Checklist?

You might be thinking ‘Why did you bother to make this checklist if Google has all the official instructions?’. When I started to do this list — 2014/2015 — Google checklist didn’t exist yet. About that time Google had a lot of instructions about the process on their website. When Google launched the book in 2016, I read it and merged it with my document. It was inspiring to see we were on the same path. However, Google’s perspective is more focused on startups. When I started doing Design Sprints inside a big company, I had to find my own way to circumvent bureaucracy and all the hierarchical issues. In my checklist, you are going to find my personal point of view about what I consider important to do before, during and after a Design Sprint. It’s based on my own experience after running around 20 sprints in the largest Brazilian private bank from 2014 to 2016.

I decided to create a document — a list of tips and reminders — to help a few friends. I invite you to use it as an inspiration to create your own checklist. I’m just pointing out all the steps here. Along with this checklist, I will suggest articles about some specific methodologies just in case you are not familiar with them. I’m a huge fan of methodologies! However, I believe they are just the first step to start something, it is good when you learn something in a way you can adapt to your reality. Every sprint is a unique experience and I hope this document will be helpful for you to create your own way to apply this methodology.

I hope you find it helpful ❤. Download the checklist here.

If you prefer, you can read a Brazilian Portuguese version of this article and checklist

This content was created as part of the mission of Mola Collective, a Brazilian Collaborative Learning Platform with a mission to learn new ways to improve the world through the lens of design and share these learnings to help others improve their skills, leveraging business for people.

Matina wrote this story to share knowledge and help nurture the design community. All articles published on follow that same philosophy.

Author: matina.moreira

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