The Ape Sprint
Faced with the usual project pressures of time, budget, and idea generation, sprints are an increasingly popular way to fast-track an idea to market.
Working in a team, for 5 consecutive days brings extra focus, idea creation and expansion to almost any project. By the end of the week a prototype has been developed and tested, delivering actionable feedback for you to take forward.
Developed by the likes of Google, sprints have been applied to everything from app development, to class teaching strategies in schools, and operational procedures in hospitals. At Ape sprints are used across a host of projects, from brand creation and development, to communication strategies.
The feedback loop
The 5 day goal is to create a minimum viable product (MVP), you test your hypothesis, and learn from the feedback. Now you’ve got something to build on – it might be full steam ahead, or you gain some critical insight and change tact (or pivot).
An equally useful outcome might simply be a big fat NOPE! Don’t like it, doesn’t work, I have no need for this in my life. That’s OK, in fact that is better than OK, you’ve probably just saved yourself a whole world of pain further down the line.
Start at the end
There are many valuable approaches within the sprint that moves the game on: collaborative working; replacing brainstorms with note taking and sketching; making quicker progress with your designated decision maker; always moving forward. Starting at the end sets the tone, the direction and the focus. Surfacing all the unanswered questions and picturing the destination at the beginning provides you with the required energy to deliver a successful sprint.
Why we test with only 5 people. It’s a no brainer – it’s quick, it’s affordable and it’s simple. Research shows that a well chosen sample of five consumers will highlight 85% of any potential issues with your prototype. One-to-one interviews remove any conscious or subconscious bias found in focus groups, and the feedback is easier to analyse. It’s all geared to achieving your agreed intention within 5 days – it’s why it’s called a sprint.
A sprint finish
We’re always happy to take our time, we’re often the first to complain we don’t get enough of it. Sprints aren’t for people in a hurry. They’re an alternative for those constrained by time and budget; frustrated and bored by the conventions of how design is traditionally done. The desire to try something different, to fail fast not slow, to learn and iterate quickly and efficiently, to develop a culture that builds on its success one sprint at a time.