Design sprint communication



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Things move fast during a design sprint. Taking the time to clearly communicate might feel like it’s slowing you down, but keeping quiet is disastrous.

We hosted a DesignTalk with Femgineer’s Poornima Vijayashanker to learn why communication during design sprints is critical to success—even when it can be a challenge. Poornima covered communicating your design process to non-designers, conveying decisions, and anticipating questions and concerns.

Watch Poornima’s full talk below, or read on for our short recap.


Trouble ahead

Poornima listed out scenarios that showed exactly just how easy communication can break down when collaborating. During a sprint, ideas get shot down, tight timelines create pressured situations, and people get snappy. It’s no wonder that taking the time to bring more people into that type of environment feels like too much work.

Methods to stay on track

Step 1: Define the common goal
This first step sets the framework and expectations for the entire sprint, so it’s crucial that you don’t move on without figuring out the common goal. An example of a high-level goal is to increase conversions. The entire cross-functional team should agree on what needle they’re trying to move.


Step 2: Understand that each member of the team is trying to solve their own problem
Design sprints shouldn’t only include designers, and therefore each team member is bringing their own unique problem to the table. Launch meetings should have members representing each team of the company to voice any concerns they may have. Poornima’s examples were that engineers may voice concerns about the ability to build certain features within their current architecture. Also, the marketing team might need additional time to promote the new feature.

“During a sprint, don’t move on until you’ve figured out the common goal.”

Step 3: Understand their process—and educate them on yours
You and your teammates aren’t mind readers. Even people who have worked together before should take some time at the beginning of a sprint to define their own process. Understand why a team member doesn’t want to do something or can’t do it. Dive deep, and ask why. It might turn out that a tiny tweak in your process could make their processes a lot easier.

To learn Poornima’s 4 more steps to effective communication during a design sprint, watch the full video above! Or, check out more of our DesignTalks below.

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Margaret Kelsey
Margaret Kelsey leads content marketing at Appcues. Before Appcues, she built content programs for InVision’s design community for 3.5 years and has roots in painting and PR. She’s a big fan of puns, Blackbird Donuts, and Oxford commas—probably in that order.

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