Design Sprints: Three Days to a Better Product

Design Sprints: Three Days to a Better Product

Issue 6

Boeing Global Services has been created to be a customer and service oriented division of Boeing. In all that we do, we strive to make sure we are thinking about you, our customers, and how we can better serve you and provide the products and solutions that make your operations smoother and more efficient.

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One of the ways that we are working towards this goal is by speaking directly with customers to understand what activities fill their daily work lives, capture information about their “pain points,” and work together to help create solutions that make their jobs easier. Using a process called a “design sprint” that we learned directly from the experts at Apple’s Enterprise Design Lab in Cupertino, we have begun inviting targeted customers to a three-day workshop where we discuss and diagnose problems that exist for their businesses. The intent is to have a laser focus on building the right product that solves customers’ problems. 

Through constant dialog over the course of these three days, we listen to descriptions of their daily activities, verify their challenges and then design a solution that helps to address and resolve them. In a surprisingly short time, the design sprint helps us to answer critical business questions through design best practices, rapid prototyping, and testing ideas directly with participating customers.

Starting off the first day, we capture a “day in the life” and identify multiple pain points that customers are experiencing. They then rank these pain points which helps guide the product design team to focus on the highest priority issues. From this discussion, we create what is called the “golden thread,” or the key story that came from those pain points in the day in the life discussion. This golden thread serves as our guiding narrative during the design sprint and beyond. Everything always comes back to this story as we seek to answer the question “How does what we are creating help the challenges illustrated in the golden thread?”

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Beginning on the second day of the design sprint, we use the golden thread to create conceptual sketches (also called low-fidelity wireframes) as initial ideas of ways to solve the real-world problems that the customers have shared. Then we show these sketches to the customer group and go through several more rounds of feedback to determine what data is appropriate and most helpful throughout the product. It is through the sketches that we begin to see a very early version of what the emerging product could look like.

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On the final day, our product design team creates high-fidelity design concepts from the earlier sketches. Again, we go through several rounds of feedback with the customer group to work through the designs and tweak them to best address the reported challenges. Concluding the design sprint at the end of day three, the entire group discusses what we heard from start-to-finish, and how it developed into the designs.  The output provides a foundation that the product team uses to refine requirements based on continuing user research, testing the usability of the designs, and building the functioning product.

With these three-day design sprints, we can utilize a quick customer-centric way to find, validate and prototype a viable solution for customer needs. By identifying and validating the product concepts at the very start of a product lifecycle, we have the opportunity to accelerate the product development schedule, thereby getting the product to market faster than ever before. The design sprint can even help us uncover problems that the customer doesn’t know they are experiencing.

By working directly with customers early in the product lifecycle, these design sprints have quickly become an incredibly valuable innovation for Boeing Global Services to better develop products and services that meet their needs. If you’d like to learn more about participating in an upcoming design sprint, email us at CONNECTnews@jeppesen.com.

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