Design Sprint Academy has developed the Problem Framing framework as a preliminary step in the process of running a Design Sprints to ensure effective outcomes and make the investment in a design sprint worthwhile.
We designed the Problem Framing framework as a response to being in sprints where the problem wasn’t clearly defined or even existed; the challenges were too broad or too narrow to be worth the investment or the sprint team was missing the expertise to solve the problem. We learned that defining the scope of a sprint poorly or skipping the success criteria all together leads the sprint team towards making the wrong decisions, solve a problem not worth solving, and ultimately drives poor results.
Problem Framing is half to a full-day workshop that involves a team of decision-makers, typically executive level (including the eventual nominated Design Sprint “Decider”). They must have a direct interest in the sprint challenge and also, the power to kill the project.
Problem Framing is about understanding, team alignment, and defining a strategy for the future, so the stakeholders need to pay equal attention to both the business need as well as to the customer’s problem.
By using different frames, stakeholders review their understanding of the problem as well as the business context, state their assumptions and align around a point of view.
Stakeholders link the design sprint challenge to overarching business goals/metrics and align on the core strategy to follow.
Stakeholders empathize with the user/customer by interacting with research insights and mapping the customer journey.
Once stakeholders can connect the customer’s problems to the business goals/strategy and the entire business context of the product/service/organization, they decide on the core opportunity to pursue.
Alignment on the Problem Statement
By looking at the entire context of the business/product/ service strategy and linking it to overarching business goals/metrics and actual customer problems, decision-makers are able to define a clear problem statement for the sprint.
The Right Sprint Team
Once the problem has been defined, the list of experts competent and resourceful enough to solve it becomes clear.
Since the challenge is connected to business objectives the stakeholders are directly accountable for, their support to run the Sprint is assured and, more, they will be interested in seeing the results implemented post-sprint.