5 Design Sprint Mistakes to avoid as a Product Manager

Design Sprint Mistakes


A Design Sprint is a powerful tool for Product Managers to produce a lot of valuable output and insights within a very compressed period of time. It’s especially useful in a complex stakeholder or client constellation. But in order to succeed with it, I want to point out some Design Sprint mistakes you should pay attention to:

  1. Staying inside your usual environment
    In order to remain efficient (and cheap), we’re tempted to stay within the building and to only book one room for the whole week. Resist that temptation – Otherwise most of your participants have an easy excuse to hop-in and -out.
  2. Only chosing participants from one department
    While it’s easier to only discuss complicated product decisions with your close peer group, you’ll notice the quality of the output getting increased with a more diverse group of participants.
  3. Not paying enough attention to time boxing
    While you shouldn’t cut-off every lively discussion in the very minute your schedule suggests, it’s important to visualize the time spent on a certain topic and to remain strict with set time boundaries – They’re valuable! A great device for helping here is a Time Timer.
  4. Interviewing users without a guide
    I can totally see that writing user interview guides are not exactly a Product Managers favorite task. But as you have pretty limited time to talk to users at the end of the week, a meticulous preparation is key!
  5. Not recapping what has been achieved/learned every day
    Just because you’re an experience Product Manger/Sprint Master doesn’t mean that you can’t pull your way off throughout the entire sprint. It’s important to get your team onboard again every day – by recapping the past day and integrating learnings into what’s ahead.

As with every list, there’s no guarantee of completeness with this list. But the outlined mistakes reflect what I’ve experienced over the years being purely a sprint participant and a sprint master.

How are those points are in line with what you’ve experienced in past Sprints and which Design Sprint mistakes would you like to see adeed? Let me know!

This article appeared first in my weekly email list for product managers, ux designers and entrepreneurs.

One thought on “5 Design Sprint Mistakes to avoid as a Product Manager”

  1. Hi Tim,

    let me fill in one more point: “Not inviting key stakeholders for recapping at the end of a sprint day”! I’ve made the experience that it’s very important to invite (top) management or other key stakeholders at the end of the day to show them what the team has done and achieved, so that they can give feedback or valuable input. And the most important point: You include them into the process!

    Sure, sometimes you will hear meanings or informations that might be more confusing for the team but that’s not a real problem because you can handle this afterwards.

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