Hey, I'm Jake.
And I'm John.
And we're here at the GV office in San Francisco to answer some questions that we often get about starting a sprint. So, presumably you're watching this video because you're thinking about running a sprint yourself, which is awesome. But you might have some questions, especially if it's your first time running a sprint. And we're gonna try to run through what we know.
Yeah. That process of preparing for a sprint, we call setting the stage. And there's five key elements—five things that need to happen before the sprint begins. You need to pick a big challenge. That's most important of all. You need to assemble the team, the right group of people to work on that challenge. You need to clear the calendar. One of the big ideas in the sprint is to spend five days focused on a really important problem. You need a room for the sprint. You need to have a lot of space. You need to have a couple of nice big whiteboards. And you need to have a lot of supplies, sprint supplies: everything from office supplies, you know, paper and markers, all the way to coffee and snacks.
Yeah, all that stuff is—it really matters. We've got a list on the website sprintbook.com and then the book about the specific things you need. But you probably also have some of these common questions that we hear all the time.
So, one of the questions that comes up a lot when we're helping people plan sprints is, How can I convince my team that this is worth the time? How can I convince my team to spend five full days working on a problem together?
Yeah. So, if you're in that situation, if you're convinced that the sprint is good, but you're trying to convince decision-makers, other folks on your team, one of the best pieces of advice is to make sure that the challenge you're working on really is a big challenge. Because clearing a week is, is a big commitment. For the first time you've run a sprint, it can seem a little scary. And if you don't know that that challenge is really important, it's harder to make the commitment. So choose that really big thing. And maybe wait for the time when that project is just kicking off, when people have a lot of questions, and then the sprint is a great way to answer those questions.
Now, when you're planning the sprint, what if the decider, the decision-maker, can't be there for all five days? Or does that person even need to be there the whole time?
Yeah, they actually don't. So, it's important to have a decision-maker in the room the whole time to help with smaller questions. But the decision-maker who's gonna actually choose what's in the prototype, that person can just show up, maybe for cameo appearance, on Monday afternoon. We often do this in our sprints. And they can also show up on a Wednesday, right when the sketches are up on the wall, and they can be part of that whole Wednesday morning activity. Or they can even show up after the team has done the critique, unpacked all the ideas, put up the sticky notes that show what the key ideas are. They can just come in at the end and make the decision right then. And that's actually often quite efficient. That works really well.
So, your decision-maker does not have to be in the room for all five days. You can have a great sprint with just those cameos.
Yeah. So, in preparing for the sprint, beyond, you know, making sure you've got a room and you've got everything on the calendar, is there any other homework or, sort of, prework that needs to happen to prepare for the sprint?
Yeah. That's another common question. And one of the best things about the sprint is that you don't have to do a ton of work beforehand. You can really come into the sprint, get the team together, and know, you know, basically what the problem is. And you'll be able to pick a target for that problem. You'll be able to pull out the information from the experts on your team. All the things that you need to do to solve the problem and test your solution will happen in the sprint structure—you don't have to do that stuff ahead of time.
Cool. Well, that's all the questions I have.
Okay. Well, if you guys have more questions, more things you wanna know, there is the Sprint book, which we have right here. And you can go to the sprintbook.com. We've got some checklists and more information, more videos.
Tons of detail on all of this.