If you’re trying to learn anything about design sprints, it’s hard not to come across content by AJ&Smart. In less than 2 years of putting out content, they’ve managed to become the authority on all things design sprints, whether it’s their generous free content on YouTube and their CEO’s podcast with Sprint author Jake Knapp, or their premium offerings such training or masterclass.
What makes their content good & relevant is that it’s all based on real, on-going design sprint experience. They didn’t run a few design sprints and then pivoted to preaching & teaching. They’ve run over a hundred sprints and it doesn’t look like they’re stopping anytime soon, so I wouldn’t worry about their content becoming out-dated or out-of-touch with how the design sprint process evolves over time. All this to say that when they talk about design sprints, you’re going to want to listen.
AJ&Smart CEO Jonathan Courtney just published a long post detailing how they did remote design sprints to completely redesign Kevin Rose’s meditation app Oak. The whole post is a good read because you rarely see companies talking about their internal projects, but Kevin Rose & AJ&Smart were nice enough to share that publicly. Here are the tips about running remote design sprints:
Be extra-specific when making notes and writing the likes of the How Might We postits — these may need to be read by someone on the other side of the world when you’re not there to explain what you meant.
Double-down on alignment check-ins: there’s a lot more scope for misunderstandings and confusion in a remote Design Sprint, so it’s important to make time for extra check-ins to make sure everyone is on the same page
Extra focus on the Lightning Demos: again because there’s scope for confusion, it’s important to realllllly understand the client’s mindset and what they[re envisioning. It’s harder to do this while not in the same room so we’ll always put a lot of emphasis on them showing us what inspires them, and we’ll also do a bit of extra work on this too (like the Pinterest board)
Have the right toolbox: tools become very important when running a remote Sprint. Don’t let technology ruin your Sprint or let important stuff get lost in emails. See below for what we use when running a remote Sprint