How to Facilitate Remote Sprints
In the age of the pandemic (and honestly, the future), we have all now adjusted to living and working a remote life. A big part of the design process is efficiently running sprints with clients, stakeholders, and your fellow design teams to finish a project. Here are some tips I’ve gathered this past year:
- Touch base with Decider (project’s owner) to
- get as much information and insights as possible about the problem space and the challenge.
- run them through a quick overview of the Sprint process give them the opportunity to ask questions.
- confirm who is going to take part in the Sprint workshop.
2. Send each participant a friendly onboarding message where you welcome them to
- Introduce yourself (and your team).
- Give them an overview of the project’s timeline.
- Include a link to an online scheduling tool so that you can book individual interviews with each team member (as early as possible).
- Include another link to an online survey where each participant can go through a brief questionnaire to get more insights on the challenge and to detect lack of alignment.
- Give people useful logistical information on how the workshop is going to be structured, when the lunch break is going to be, how long it’s going to last, etc.
1-on-1 participant interviews
- Book at least 1 week in advance of sprint.
- Use survey information to structure the call and ask clarifying questions when needed.
- Do a quick preflight of the digital whiteboard you will run the workshop on and ensuring their tech is set up correctly.
- Give the participants a tour of the digital whiteboard you are using and let them quickly learn how to navigate the workspace around and create, copy and move virtual sticky notes and dots (the most important features).
- Ask the participants to check if the communication tools are set up correctly and if their webcams and microphones are working properly. Suggest they book a quiet meeting room with reliable internet for the workshops and ask them to have a stack of letter-sized paper for sketching nearby.
- Recommend that participants use two screens if possible — one for the whiteboard and one for the group video. If not, 1⁄3 of the screen should be dedicated for the video call, and 2⁄3 for the digital whiteboard.
- Explain what a Design Sprint is and what to expect.
- Create your perfect workshop setup and then turn it into a template that you can reuse over and over again.
- Avoid jumping back and forth between a workshop deck and the digital whiteboard (create a separate frame for each exercise).
- Set a start view for the board or share a link to a specific area on the board to direct them to a frame that outlines the rules of the workshop.
- Add participant survey info to to the digital whiteboard before the kick-off.
- Buffer 5–10 mins for people to join and work out the kinks (take this into account into calendar invites).
- Limit workshops to a maximum duration of 4 hours — this includes breaks and an overtime buffer.
- Time box activities, discussions, and feedback.
- Have two screens: one for the digital whiteboard (e.g. Miro, Mural), and another one for the video call (Zoom, Hangouts, etc.) to check on participants.
- Encourage participants to switch on their webcams and share their video.
- Get a co-facilitator to help with keeping the workspace tidy and organized.
- Have phones turned off.
- Keep each workshop session short and focused, and have fewer, but longer breaks.
- Do a 360 introduction round to familiarize participants with the sticky notes, the sprint principles, and time-boxing.
- Ask each participant to create three sticky notes and complete one of these sentences: “My name is…”, “My role is…”, and “My wish for the Sprint is…” This is done in silence and with a 5-minute timer. When the time is up, we take turns to read out our sticky notes and introduce ourselves.
- Create little red and green circles and use them as virtual stickers to vote on sticky notes and concepts.
User Test Flow
- Each participant takes six sticky notes and, step by step, writes out their high-level prototype flow from start to end. In the end, the decider picks their favorite flow (with the option to mix and match as well).
- Take screenshots of relevant interface elements for key screens concepts and paste them to the relevant cells.
- The co-facilitator captures interface elements and contents of each screen in simple shorthand descriptions and collects them in a list on each cell without drawing detailed screens.
Recruiting User Testing for Prototyping
- Ask the client for referrals
- Recruiting services
- FB / social media ads
- Direct contact
- Create a short questionnaire with multiple choice questions that helps you narrow down the pool of people interested in testing to a handful of qualified candidates that fit your user criteria perfectly.
- Avoid setting up an obvious “fail state” for the survey (“Sorry, but you don’t fit the profile we are looking for…”).
- All possible answers to a multiple choice question should sound plausible and should be, as much as possible, mutually exclusive.
- Ask if they have a preferred time to do the test, and if they have the necessary tech setup like computer, webcam, and internet connection.
- If legally required, let them opt-in to get contacted by you and allow you to save and use their data for the purpose of testing through phone number or email.
- In your email, give the testers more information on the test and try and build a good rapport with them.
- The day before the tests, contact them by phone and confirm the test appointment.
- Always recruit more people than you need.
- Miranda Time Zone App
- Google Survey
- Whereby (remote screen sharing)
Well, that’s it! Or at least this is what I’ve picked up so far, since I’m still learning the best possible process to work remotely. If you have any tips that has worked for you, feel free to add in the comments.