Problem Framing is a 1-day to 1.5-day strategy workshop where a team of key-stakeholders goes through a structured decision-making process that follows three core principles:
We designed the Problem Framing framework as a response to being in traditional Design 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 altogether leads the sprint team towards making the wrong decisions, solve a problem not worth solving, and ultimately drives poor results.
To avoid these negative outcomes, we put problem-framing at the heart of our Design Sprint 3.0 process, and it’s also why we launched this method at Google -San Francisco and trained their internal Design Sprint Academy in 2018.
Problem Framing is a 1-1,5-day workshop that involves a team of seven-eight decision-makers, typically executive level. They must have a direct interest in the sprint challenge and also, the power to kill or move the project forward.
Problem Framing is about a shared 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.
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.
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.
We designed a short alignment workshop that needs to be conducted together with a team of key decision-makers in order to answer two critical questions:
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