Process

How The Home Depot is scaling their design sprints

4 min read
Richard Banfield  •  Dec 5, 2018
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This is the last in a three-part series of articles on how Home Depot uses design sprints (part one | part two). To find out more about how the company—and other design-forward large organizations—uses design sprints, check out our latest book on DesignBetter.Co, Enterprise Design Sprints.

The idea that design sprints are only for small teams is a common fallacy. Actually though, Google pioneered the process, and they’re not exactly a startup! We’ve talked to some of the largest organizations in the world to find how they’re incorporating sprints into their design process. It’s a great way for larger companies to remain nimble, even as they scale.

I spoke to Brooke Creef, UX manager at The Home Depot, and Paul Stonick, director of online user experience for The Home Depot, in writing Enterprise Design Sprints, in which the organization is prominently featured, about how they are scaling the design sprint for the home improvement giant’s distinct needs.

There is no one-size-fits-all sprint model

The key to scaling design sprints within a larger organization is to ensure that the sprint is aligned with company strategy and product roadmaps. The Home Depot works across a variety of departments to ensure the sprints are aligned with business goals and desired outputs, which ensures that the sprint team is solving for the right problems and pulls in stakeholders and participants from a broader swath of the company.

“We map our design sprints to what we call inline innovation. So we’re tying the design sprints to the current roadmap items and ideating around those,” Creef said.

Once the sprint process in line with the company’s goals and roadmaps, it’s important to organize the sprints specifically for the organization. The more people involved, the more important it is to have defined roles and a strong facilitator.

At The Home Depot, sprints are organized into squads and communities. In this model, design sprint facilitators are injected into each of the company’s work streams. Then each squad ladders up into a community, which is all working towards a common goal or mission.

“They’re working together, so there’s going to be connective tissue naturally between those squads. So there might be some overlap or things that we need to make sure that squads are communicating with each other to make sure information or best practice is being shared,” Stonick said. “So it works out at that level, because it all ladders up to a bigger mission.”

The Home Depot team has also instituted internal design sprints facilitator training sessions through Home Depot University, which includes live classroom and remote training sessions and methods. This not only brings more people into the design sprint fold, it also opens up the opportunity for who can facilitate a sprint, which can bring more innovative voices to the process as well as reduce bias.

Ultimately, the bottom line is to format the design sprint for the company, especially when it comes to larger enterprises. Read more about design sprints in Enterprise Design Sprints on DesignBetter.Co.