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How to Run a Customer Journey Design Sprint

Girl standing at beginning of a journey

Sprint is a concept often used in agile development teams to deliver projects in a continuous, iterative way.

Each part of a big project is broken into sprints – a set block of time in which all planning, development, testing and review happens.

I’ve used this approach for optimising a customer journey design within a small business. Customer journey is something that’s often broken up into several steps but also has to be viewed as a whole, so sprint is the perfect way to work.

business listing on yell.com

Sprints are usually two weeks long but as we’re working with design and not dev, a week or even a day can work.

1. Gather the team

The team that will deliver the project must be self-organising, collaborative and committed to time pressure.

  • What are the disciplines we need represented throughout planning, development and review?
  • Who are the stakeholders? We’ll be getting buy-in from our stakeholders at each step of the process so they’re informed when they look at the final product: they know your reasoning because they were there. This should make sign-off a lot easier than with just a final reveal.

We’ll also need to set the length of the sprint with the team, timetabling when each part of the sprint will happen.

2. Set the sprint objectives

Right now, it’s just our objectives for the first step of the customer journey. These should be simple, like increasing the number of people who progress to the next step.

It’s fine if the objectives are a primary aim and a secondary aim that refers to the project as a whole, like increasing conversions to sale.

3. Analyse what we already have

  • Identify any fears and barriers – what might stop a customer continuing towards a purchase? Price, lack of information, lack of trust in the brand…all things we can overcome later in our sprint.
  • Analyse the existing customer journey step – where are UX issues occurring? Do we have data to tell us where customers are struggling?
  • What are our competitors doing here? There’s nothing wrong with looking to bigger businesses for insights you didn’t have to pay for!

4. Map

Time to draw. We need to create a customer journey map through this step. It doesn’t have to be beautiful but it does have to end up as a clear diagram of information hierarchy that stakeholders can sign off.

  • What do we want the customer’s information flow to be?
  • Where can we overcome the fears and barriers we identified, and where in the information hierarchy should that happen?
  • Is there a different experience for different products or entry points into the customer journey?

I like this map to travel vertically downwards because you’re prepping for wireframing later. Even if it’s just a list with arrows, that’s a good enough map to show stakeholders.

Check

Show stakeholders the journey through this step because we need them to be on board with our thinking before we start designing.

  • Does it align with business needs?
  • Will it improve current performance?
  • Does this overcome the fears and barriers we identified?

Make sure you’re selling the idea based on your data, what you know about the customer and why you think this information hierarchy will improve performance.

Sketch

We’re getting close to the point where it’s up to our designer but we can all have a go at a rough scamp (layout sketch) from the map we drew.</p.

Again, there doesn’t need to be anything pretty about this – just draw blocks for where you know bits of information will go.

We can each do our own and then compare or we can scamp as a team. Does our rough layout of information still check off the above?

Wireframe scamp example

Wireframe

Time for our designer to step in. We need a tidy version of our scamp so we can show stakeholders our information hierarchy in a way that’s fairly close to the planned customer experience.

Let’s review that with everyone and get it signed off – it should make the design sign-off a LOT easier as we know where everything will go and it’s mostly styling left.

Prototype

My favourite way to produce a design people understand is to use a tool like Marvel, which lets you show functions like toggles, drop-downs and links. It’s a prototype that brings the design to life.

This is also where I feel copywriting comes in. Sooooo many people would say that copy should come first and we design around it but I disagree completely. It’s a joint project between writer and designer to make the user experience work. And the less copy the better when it comes to customer journey.

Prototype built – time to sign it off with our stakeholders!

Sign-off

We’ll do a walk-through with our prototype, telling the story of the customer journey. It’s a SELL at this point because we know we’re right and we’ve involved everyone we needed at every step of the journey.

Yeah, there’ll be a few changes here or there and a couple more iterations of the prototype…but this is the end of our sprint. We did it.

Time to begin the entire process again with the next sprint and the next step of our customer journey design. Phew!

Check out how to optimise your customer journey with Google Analytics insights.

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