Creating, prototyping and testing new ideas in just one Sprint week

Written by: Endouble Endouble
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Everyone involved in some sort of business has the same question: how can we give a better service to our customers? Who the customer is differs per department. For sales the customer is clearly the person buying your product, but in talent acquisition the customer could also be the hiring manager or job seeker. To find out how to serve these customers better many paths can be taken. However, no matter which path you take, there is always one fundamental question that needs to be answered:

Is what you think the customer wants actually what the customer wants?

For those who are not called Steve Jobs the answer is usually no. In this blog Endouble gives an insight on how we cope with this question.

Agile management

Luckily, agile management has shown that by involving the customer in the development of the product or service we can avoid developing a product that does not fulfil the customer’s needs. However, even if the customer is involved in the development of the product, still a real product or prototype needs to be developed in order to be evaluated by the customer, right?Sprint book-endouble-blog

As it turns out, the answer is no. Recently, Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz from Google Ventures published a book called ‘Sprint’ in which they introduce a detailed script on how to conceptualise, prototype and test any new idea, product or service in just one week
(see the figure below). Furthermore, the script has been perfected over 100 of these Sprints, and therefore contains many solutions to common pitfalls which arise when bringing new ideas to life.

SPRINT kickoff slides

Why does Sprint work?

How is it possible that Sprint can test new ideas in just one week what usually might take at least a few months? By utilising two principles:

  • 80/20 rule: 80% of your customers will only use 20% of your product, so when prototyping why not only focus on the 20%?
  • User interaction is most important: you can have a product which in theory fulfils all the user’s needs, but fails because of poor user interaction. And here is the crux: to test user interaction you will only need the front-end of your product or service, hence what interacts with the user. The rest, actual working functionalities, can be faked while still retrieving insightful and critical feedback from a customer.

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Sprinting @ Endouble

At Endouble we have put this Sprint week concept to a test to improve our products and services, which resulted in a few key insights why this concept is such a good way of quickly testing new ideas:

  • Since you have only one week to create a prototype and test it you keep focussed on practical solutions which contribute to your long term goal. So you automatically avoid time and money consuming solutions of which you are not sure whether they will be useful to the customer.
  • The Sprint makes sure that everyone is on the same page. This might take some discussion and disagreements during the week, but since everyone is committed for the entire week to the Sprint there are no opportunities of doing things differently than agreed. Furthermore, from the feedback provided by the customer it becomes very clear which ideas work and which do not.
  • You can only benefit from receiving feedback on your one week prototype. In general, customers like to give advice on how your product or service might be more helpful to them, and they will feel more engaged with your products afterwards. During our Sprint it was surprising how customers responded positively to the testing of the prototype and answering questions about their work, despite the prototype only showed a fraction of the final product. You quickly find out what assumptions are correct about your customers, which are not and what you've missed. Furthermore, even if customers do not like the prototype, there is little legacy on the prototype, therefore you will not feel any regrets to start over in a new direction if necessary.

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Try it yourself

The Sprint book’s website contains much information about the concept. We are happy to help you serving your talent acquisition customers better using concepts from Sprint and UX design. Try it yourself and see how you can give a better service to your customers. Any questions? Just send us a message.