Over the past 18 months, I’ve been leveling up some vital skills. With some smart colleagues, I’ve developed some Strategy Sprints that really rock.
My first leveled-up skill is facilitation. As a digital strategist with 25 years in the game, I’m well used to providing answers and strategy. I know a lot of useful techniques and have tons of relevant experience. But in my eagerness to help, I often firehosed clients with a barrage of ideas. I created energy and forward momentum, but the process was often uncomfortable for the client. I fell into that common design pitfall, providing too many choices.
In a Strategy Sprint, we gather a small team, review the current state of the business, set goals for the target state, and deconstruct how to get there. We emerge with a roadmap that connects strategy to execution.
The biggest benefit of a team co-creating their strategy is the alignment and ownership the team achieves. As a leveled-up facilitator, I’m able to broker authentic dialog while ensuring every participant is engaged, listening, and feels heard. The resulting strategy is richer, more informed, and carefully tuned to conditions within the team. This cultural shift within the team is more valuable than the strategy itself. Teams build trust and the practice of sharing unpleasant truths, opening up and trying new things. It’s game-changing.
Which leads me to the second skill I’ve leveled up: prioritization. What should we do now, next and later? Again, the team decides, and I’m time-boxing and coaching them through. Each item on the resulting roadmap has a place in the sequence, an owner, and completion criteria. Taking just a little time to think through dependencies, sequences, and value, we end up with a prioritized roadmap that dovetails seamlessly into execution.
And finally, in these sprints, we fully embrace a test-and-learn approach. We create a questions backlog and hypotheses and experiments to run so the team learns what’s needed to succeed at the next level.
This method works well to jump-start a campaign, product, or effort. We sometimes conduct Research sprints before, and Design sprints after. The results are fantastic.
If these sprints are something you’re interested in, I’d love to talk to you about our approach.Design SprintsTest and LearnUser Experience Design