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Using a Google Design Sprint as a product superpower

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At the beginning of the year, our senior leadership team was going product by product and deciding which ones were worth funding and which ones should have their talent re-assigned.

The product I work on from within the Indeed Tokyo tech office rivaled some of the biggest competitors in the market and leveraged a team smaller than most start-ups. Obviously we thought our product was safe from such a massive culling and thought the value of our team was well known within the company.

Unfortunately, that was not the case - and our product was now on the chopping block. The senior leadership team asked us to answer 3 questions: prove that there was a user need for this, prove there was a business need, and prove that there is a roadmap and vision worth investing in.

With our jobs on the line and a product we believed in, we decided to prove that our product was worth continued investment. There were many tools that we could have chosen to do this, but we decided to use a Google Design Sprint as the cornerstone to our strategy for answering these core questions.

Our team undertook coordinating 2 back-to-back sprints that incorporated remote and local participants from marketing, product, customer service, sales, engineering, QA, and UX teams in a truly global effort. In true Indeed fashion, we modified the Google Design Sprint script slightly to fit Indeed's work culture and accommodate local and remote experts.

With this session I will identify where we differed from the sprint book, the effort we undertook to coordinate a global sprint, and the lessons we learned about proving value in a product and defining a long-term vision.

The session itself follows a dramatic story arc detailing how our jobs were on the line, the challenges our team faced coordinating 2 back-to-back global sprints, and the eventual outcome that paves the way for continued investment in our product and a vision.

However, the core concept is that regardless of the outcome of the sprint, we were building a cohesive and cross-functional team that could carry out a product launch from across the org chart successfully. We weren’t just building a product in 5 days - we were building a global team capable of working together to drive a successful product launch.

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Using a Google Design Sprint as a product superpower

  1. 1. Using a Google Sprint as a Superpower Aaron Kovalcsik // Sr UX Designer
  2. 2. help them travel Users: people with jobs & money 2005-2015
  3. 3. Products: help them travel Users: people with jobs & money 2005-2015
  4. 4. so they can have money and travel? 2015-now
  5. 5. so they can have money and travel? Products: help people get jobs 2015-now
  6. 6. money & travel? Products: help people get jobs 2015-now
  7. 7. money & travel? help people get jobs 2015-now
  8. 8. 2005 2017 a lot none some now designers 2015
  9. 9. 2005 none a lot woah! designers sprints 2017 now2015
  10. 10. small problem big problem lots of timesome time team cost
  11. 11. We help people get jobs
  12. 12. Job Seekers needs job Employers has jobs
  13. 13. Q1, 2017 our team (very happy)
  14. 14. The ultimatum
  15. 15. The ultimatum: 1. Prove that there is a user need for this
  16. 16. The ultimatum: 1. Prove that there is a user need for this 2. Prove that there is a business case for this
  17. 17. The ultimatum: 1. Prove that there is a user need for this 2. Prove that there is a business case for this 3. Prove that there is a road map worth investing in
  18. 18. You’re fired.
  19. 19. You’re fired. You’ll get reassigned to other teams.
  20. 20. our product helps job seekers & employers
  21. 21. The ultimatum: 1. Prove that there is a user need for this 2. Prove that there is a business case for this 3. Prove that there is a road map worth investing in
  22. 22. Who has participated in a Google Venture sprint?
  23. 23. “A GV sprint is a 5-day process for answering critical business questions. Jake Knapp
  24. 24. “The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments. Jake Knapp
  25. 25. Today 1 Month 6 Months 1 Year 5 Years
  26. 26. ● A global sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  27. 27. A global sprint ● Scheduling was a nightmare ● Managing multiple time zones was nearly impossible
  28. 28. Austin USA Stamford USA New York USA Dublin Ireland Tokyo JAPAN Sunday Monday
  29. 29. A global sprint ● Scheduling was a nightmare ● Managing multiple time zones was nearly impossible ● Some key people couldn’t attend physically . . . but they wanted to attend remotely
  30. 30. ● A global sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  31. 31. Two sprints! Wait, why?
  32. 32. Back to back sprints ● Double the planning ● Double the preparation ● Double the speakers and attendees
  33. 33. very recently...
  34. 34. a big challenge the team failure
  35. 35. a big challenge the team failure
  36. 36. a big challenge the team failure
  37. 37. Sprint 1: Companies Our initial goal was to define a set of features, a new product, or a platform that companies could use to engage with job seekers.
  38. 38. Emulating a product launch ● Marketing wrote marketing strategies ● PR wrote mock press releases and our “first tweet” ● Sales made mock pitch decks for potential companies ● Product, ux, and dev worked on the prototype
  39. 39. Sprint 1: Companies Our initial goal was to define a set of features, a new product, or a platform that companies could use to engage with job seekers.
  40. 40. Sprint 1: Companies Our initial goal was to define a set of features, a new product, or a platform that companies could use to engage with job seekers. “Help companies retain, attract, and hire great employees.”
  41. 41. before
  42. 42. before after
  43. 43. new product
  44. 44. Sprint 2: ● New speakers ● New information ● Same moderators
  45. 45. Sprint 2: Job Seekers Our initial goal was to come up with new features or a new product that would guide job seekers throughout their career journey.
  46. 46. job trigger searching applying interview closing job Job Seeker Map
  47. 47. Low stress job trigger searching applying interview closing job Job Seeker Map
  48. 48. High stress job trigger searching applying interview closing job Job Seeker Map
  49. 49. High stress job trigger searching applying interview closing job New gradPart time Second career Mid career switch Retirement Summer job Ex-con DisabilitySecond job Ex-military Gig job Work from home Remote job Freelance Job Seeker Map
  50. 50. a big challenge the team Sprint 2 Wednesday
  51. 51. a big challenge the team Sprint 2 Wednesday FAILURE
  52. 52. “AHA!”
  53. 53. Sprint 2: Job Seekers Our initial goal was to come up with new features or a new product that would guide job seekers throughout their career journey.
  54. 54. Sprint 2: Job Seekers Our initial goal was to come up with new features or a new product that would guide job seekers throughout their career journey. Help job seekers answer the unknown.
  55. 55. homepage before
  56. 56. homepage after
  57. 57. a tiny BIG win
  58. 58. new products!
  59. 59. before
  60. 60. before after
  61. 61. What our team learned...
  62. 62. 1. Sprints don’t have to be by the book. ● We had remote speakers ● We changed the order of activities ● We had over 20 participants on some days ● We didn’t use the egg timers ● We didn’t use a “decider”
  63. 63. 2. Sprints don’t solve everything But we did end up with a road map and vision worth investing in.
  64. 64. 3. Our sprint wasn’t about building a product...
  65. 65. 3. Our sprint wasn’t about building a product... our sprint was about building a global team.
  66. 66. Low on time High cost Big problem back to back (global) sprints great for building a global team and driving product vision
  67. 67. “take all the time you need” “here, have all this money” “do whatever is needed to address the problem”
  68. 68. “we don’t have much time” “there’s no budget for this” “this problem is too big”
  69. 69. small problem big problem lots of timesome time team cost
  70. 70. What Indeed learned 4. Sprints are a useful tool for product ideation... …and can be modified for problem, time, and cost
  71. 71. ● A global sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  72. 72. Lots of time Low cost Big problem the sprintless sprint a behind the scenes sprint that supercharges your team
  73. 73. ● Week 1 ○ Email product stakeholders ○ Interview product stakeholders and “experts” ● Week 2 ○ Identify the user journey, create the user map, pick a goal ○ Independent designs + prototype ● Week 3 ○ Usability testing & final deliverables The Sprintless Sprint
  74. 74. ● A normal sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  75. 75. Low on time Low cost Small problem the one day sprint the small team superpower
  76. 76. 9:00-11:30: Sharing information, research, user map, and a persona 11:30-12:30 Bento boxes! 12:30-15:00 Design ideation Individual prep … 15 min Individual design … 30 min Feedback … 15 min Individual design … 20 min Group design … 50 min 15:00-17:00 Design discussions and selection The Day Sprint
  77. 77. before
  78. 78. before after* similar in concept
  79. 79. ● A normal sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  80. 80. The Half Day Sprint Full day Half day
  81. 81. One week Medium cost Small - Large problems half day sprint great for solving unexpected issues within a short time
  82. 82. ● A normal sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  83. 83. Low on time Low cost Small - Large problems mini sprint a superpower for every team
  84. 84. ● Day 1: Define the problem, ask the experts ● Day 2: Make a map, pick a pain point ● Day 3: Sketch, sketch, vote & decide ● Beyond 1: Build the prototype ● Beyond 2: Test and validate Mini Sprints
  85. 85. Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Week 1 Week 2
  86. 86. before
  87. 87. ● A normal sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  88. 88. Lots of time High cost Product revolution! mega sprint perfect for driving innovation and big product vision
  89. 89. ● Week 1: Discovery and problem definition ● Week 2: Sketch workflows and prioritize features ● Week 3: Detailed screen-by-screen interactions ● Week 4: Prototype for demonstrating the vision ● Beyond: Usability test, product buy-in Mega Sprints
  90. 90. Today 1 Month 6 Months 1 Year 2 Years
  91. 91. ● A normal sprint ● Back to back sprints ● The Sprintless Sprint ● The Day Sprint ● The Half Day Sprint ● Mini Sprints ● Mega Sprints ● The 60 minute Sprint
  92. 92. Low on time Low on cost Small problem micro sprint great for brainstorming
  93. 93. ● One slide! ○ Project goal ○ Essential insights ○ Essential research ○ Previous ideas ○ One focus area, one persona ● Sketch! Come up with as many solutions as you can ● Vote (get kicked out of room for running over) 60 Minute Micro Sprint
  94. 94. Q2, 2018
  95. 95. a new challenge
  96. 96. Thanks!
  97. 97. Thanks!
  98. 98. Using a Google Sprint as a Superpower Aaron Kovalcsik // Sr UX Designer aaronk@indeed.com linkedin.com/in/aaronkovalcsik (Want to work in Tokyo? We’re hiring…)

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