The Ultimate Guide to Facilitating Design Sprints Like a Boss

Tips and tricks for running a smooth, successful workshop

Janet Taylor
Modus
Published in
6 min readOct 6, 2019

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Photos courtesy of the author.

Design sprints are all the rage but they need great facilitators. Sometimes that responsibility falls to you.

This is a difficult role, made harder when the participants have never done this before. It can be daunting to run your first (or fiftieth) workshop, but some good prep and getting into a good headspace can make all the difference.

Before we dive in: Design sprints aren’t magic. They’re just a framework for assembling a handful of classic design-thinking (read: problem-solving) techniques. And while they don’t solve every problem, when used efficiently they can help you get a lot done in a short amount of time.

If you work in technology and you’re unaware of design sprints or design thinking, let me help you out from under that rock.

You can learn a lot of basics from the above resources, especially the last one. Below, I’ve listed my top tips that books won’t necessarily teach you. These will help you run design sprints of varying lengths—I’ve done everything from one-hour prioritization workshops to multi-day efforts—with minimal stage fright.

Several days before the sprint: general prep

Set your workshop up for success by preparing well.

  • Gather your materials well in advance. My basic sprint kit contains 2-inch by 2-inch Post-It notes in many colors…

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Janet Taylor
Modus
Writer for

Design leader. Recovering software engineer. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. She/her pronouns.