5 Tips for a Successful 5-Day Sprint

The Google Ventures five-day sprint process is amazing, but any project can suffer due to human factors.  The way we complete tasks, creatively brainstorm, interact with each other, and feel motivated can become pain points in any project.  While SPRINT: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days wards off potential challenge points specific to this sprint methodology, here are my additional recommendations:

1. Fall completely off the grid.  To do this process and your project justice, do not try to multitask or even work on a different project at the end of the day.  This process takes every ounce of mental energy throughout the whole week.  Pour yourself into it.  Get lost in it.  If possible, even put up a team out of office message for the whole week and don’t open your email.  Make the necessary adjustments and block off extra time next week to catch up on email.

2. Have clear, accessible channels to decision makers.  Unless you are part of a small startup, it is likely that you will ultimately have to “sell” your proposed product or solution to upper leadership.  Do yourself a favor and engage them regularly during the project.  Use their feedback as a litmus test for the feasibility of your ideas.


3. None at all. The best yet riskiest approach is to provide the task and context of the problem and set the team free to solve it.  The most innovative ideas come about when there is no contextual restriction or thought inhibition.  A solution can always be reigned in to be applied realistically, but the team has to feel comfortable to truly be innovative.  The good news is that a well-chosen team cares greatly about finding the right creative solution, so the result won’t likely be from left field.

4. Establish clear roles.  In addition to the roles described in the book, make sure you have basic roles for project success.  Since this is a project, you should, after all, have a project manager.  I also advise adding a logistics coordinator.  This person could join in on all of the decision-making processes, but when it comes time to divide and conquer tasks, they get work on the logistics.  Someone has to network with and schedule user interviews.  There will likely be a need to communicate with stakeholders.  Let this person handle it while you code the next prototype.

5. Own a meeting space.  Your team needs a moderately sized room with table and open space for collaborating.  It should be all yours, no exceptions.  The walls and whiteboards will be covered with ideas that will be referenced periodically.  In addition, time is so precious that you can’t afford to wander the building in search of a space or the latest room booking.

For more on this topic you can read my other article(s) in the series:

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Last updated: April 24, 2017