Rapid Prototyping with

Product Design Sprints


I'm Joshua Ogle, designer at thoughtbot


Planning products doesn't have to be hard

It’s a well-designed implementation of an idea no one wants.

John Gruber on Facebook Home

Designing successful products means observing how real people solve problems now, exploring the context of the situation they are in, and then understanding causality, anxieties and, motivations.

Alan Klement - Designing features using job stories

Rent before you buy

Product owners need to make sure the idea is valid

A 5-day sprint

  • Day 1


  • Day 2


  • Day 3


  • Day 4


  • Day 5

    User Testing


Facilitator, Recorder, and Product Owner

Day -1



  • What is the business opportunity?
  • Who is the market?
  • Who is the competition?

Setting up your war room

Whiteboard + markers, sticky notes, pencils, paper

Helpful if you have them

Sharpies, Circle stickers, Timer app


One more thing

A big idea

Schedule about 5 user interviews

30-45 minutes each

Space them out at least 30 minutes apart

Day 1


Quickly develop context, focus direction,
and expose risky knowledge gaps.

15 minutes

Pitch Practice

2-4 hours

Review Research

  • User Demand
  • Analytics
  • Stories

1 hour

Problem Statement

15 minutes

Backburner Board

15 minutes

Assumption Board

1 hour

Critical Path

1 hour

Card Sorting

Day 2


Generate as many ideas as possible.
Draw til your hand falls off.

15 minutes

Pitch Practice

15 minutes

Mind Mapping

5 minutes per round

Crazy Eights

20 minutes per round


Day 3


Bring all of it together in the Thunderdome

15 minutes

Pitch Practice

1 hour

Identify Conflicts

2 hours

Create Test Table from Assumptions

2 hours

Whiteboard the final Storyboard

1 hour

Review Backburner Board

1 hour

Create Testing Plan

Day 4


Crap. We're out of coffee.

Prototyping is about asking reality for feedback.

Stephen Hay

Write Copy & Get Data

Create Prototype

Clickable Images vs Static HTML Pages

Day 5

User testing

Be wary of feedback that contradicts reaction. Lean in close and watch how people use it — before they think.

Jake Knapp - Reactions > Feedback

Interview & Observe

1 hour

Review What You Learned

2 hours

Make a Plan for Going Forward

Where to find out more

"The Product Design Sprint"
Design Sprint Trello Board
Design Sprint Github Repo