Prototyping our sprint room

(what we learned)


This fall we had some luck when our neigbouring business on the same floor moved on to a new location. That gave us the opportunity to expand our office space to the double. Our big meeting room started feeling kind of cramped, so you can imagine the delight of suddenly getting some 200 square meters extra space.

So we decided to start prototyping the new space at once, first of all we wanted to make ourselves the perfect design sprint room. But what would be the perfect setup?

We ordered som tables and chairs, shelves, whiteboards and a bunch of new materials to make the perfect framing for our design sprints. We have now hosted three different sprints with clients, asking them for feedback on the room setup at the end of the workshop. It has been a lot of fun, tweaking and prepearing to make the designsprint a special experience on top of the actual outcome.

We´ve been facilitating design processes for fifteen years, some in our office, others at our clients offices, in hotels and even outside. And the framing of our workshops has always been imperfect, and in the worst cases even a destructive factor. This time we want to find the most optimal setup for our processes and make that a part of our product — and even something clients and other agencies can rent for their own workshops. We were inspired by our favourite restaurants when we were ideating the different parts of our customer experience.

The Sprint Room

5 x 7,5 meters
3 walls without windows
3 meters wall hight
1 door on both of the longer walls.

We chose to use four tables with enough workspace for 2 persons each, allowing us to have one large table for eight — or dividing into groups of four´s or two´s.

We ordered three whiteboards for wall mounting, and we have two smaller ones that we can move around. These work really well, and they also represent the most important learning for us. On the one side we mounted two boards. They measure 1,2 x 3 meters wide, so the top one actually is too high for a normal person. (I will come back to why later)

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The “double whiteboard wall” with moveable headlines for the map.

On the other wall we have just one board — in a working hight.

What we learned about the whiteboards is that we are one short, so we will get one additional board to mount on the short wall oppsite to the windows. And this is why:

We start the sprint with expert interviews and the HMW´s, using the “single whiteboard wall” as our workspace. Later, when making the map, we turn to the lower part of our “double whiteboard wall”. We move all the HMWs to the moveable whiteboard on the side, and place the voted HMWs to the map.

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The “single whiteboard wall”

After that we have the “single whiteboard wall” free to do the sprint questions and long term goal. The last part of the day is the sketching, so the setup is all clear for the note-taking.

When the participants has left for the day the facilitator copy the map from the lower whiteboard on to the higher whiteboard, and include the long tearm goal and sprint questions. The great thing about this is that you as facilitator repeat for yourself the different elements — and you have time to make adjustments. I think I always get the map clearer and nicer the second time.

So for the next day we have a collection all the elements we worked on the day before in clear sight for everybody on the top whiteboard. On the opposite wall we have mounted the concept sketches, ready for heat-mapping, and the lower board ready for user-flow grid. Now, this is where we are getting short of whiteboards, we want to have one more for storyboarding. Then we end up with the whole room covered with the team´s work, and have a good floor space in front of the storyboard whiteboard.

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The video canvas will be replaced by our “storyboard whiteboard”

Other things we learned

• Video projector is a bad idea. They are noisy and you get light in the face. We are getting a screen.

• The cutting mats are great to keep the team organised, without them the table gets messy(er).

• Giving the team their own tools and accessories give them both a sense of readyness, and nobody has to wait for someone to pass them anything.

  • Our room is perfect for 8 people. With 10 it becomes crowdy, but then again — ten people might just be too many people to do the work too.

Ready to build!

So now we are ready to build and finish the room with some nice materials, glass and flooring to enhance the experience. We named the concept PEIL (pronounced pale), norwegian for “setting the course”. So of course we need to get our local brewery to make us a batch of Peil Ale for the sprint celebrations! 😀

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