Our new User Onboarding in 3 days: How UpSlide uses the Design Sprint Methodology

Tristan, Product Manager, and Charlotte, Head of Marketing & Communications, applied the sprint methodology principles (from Google Venture) to rethink the onboarding of our users. They explain their methodology, what they mostly focused on during their sprint and how it helped their project reach its goal successfully.

Charlotte, why did you choose to use this methodology for UpSlide’s users’ onboarding?

We think the sprint methodology is a nice fit for our needs to imagine the user onboarding journey on UpSlide. It is allowing us to FOCUS – the team is dedicated to only one project; to be AGILE – we can test fast, learn fast and get the best option without producing any complex solution; to be SMARTER – our project team is more diverse than ever, collective intelligence is powerful.

Our main goal was to make sure our users have the best experience imaginable the first time they discover they have a new tab called UpSlide in PowerPoint. It may sound easy but, believe me, it is not! We all receive so much information every day that we need it to be both very relevant and efficient. That is why we want our own UpSlide way to say “Hello, I am there to help you work better, let’s see how it works”. The message must be useful, nice and not intrusive.

Tristan, as Product Manager, could you explain the sprint methodology?

The sprint methodology is a super-efficient method to develop an idea and test it in a very short amount of time. During a few days – usually 5 but it can be shortened – a project team of various people is picked and gathered in a room to think about the same problem. For our user onboarding project, we chose one member of each department – Marketing, Development, Customer Success and Design team. The down side: it can be time-consuming, but it is indeed very productive.
The method is standardised with defined steps: first, we define the problem; then we think about a solution to make a prototype and we end up testing it with real users.

The design sprint methodology

What kind of tools did you use to visualise the work given during the sprint?

During the sprint, we mostly used basic tools: pens, paper, sticky notes, stickers… 😊
We used Photoshop and InVision to develop a mock-up of the product during the third phase. Our goal was to end up with something easily developed, but real enough to be tested.

How was your project team organised?

There are two main roles in a design sprint: the Facilitator, that leads the discussion, and the Decider – or Shot-Caller – that takes the main decisions when the debate goes round in circles.  And that is it! There are no other roles, the rest of the participants are involved in all the steps of the sprint – even the design step! Anyone can participate, regardless of his area of expertise.

How did you determine what to complete in the sprint?

The goal of a design sprint must be important enough to be worth the time allocated. It is a good solution to start a new project, it is a boost: in a few days, you can define the problem, develop an idea and test it. As a result, you collect feedbacks very early in the process. At the end of the sprint, there is still a lot of work to be done but you are sure your solution is accurate and relevant.
The user onboarding project was the perfect guinea pig for this method at UpSlide!

Charlotte, what did you identify during the retrospective? What did and didn’t go well?

We loved:

– The clarity of the roles and responsibilities: one facilitator, one decision maker, people sketching, people designing the mock-ups.

– The power of collective intelligence: the whole team was involved in the creative thinking process, no matter their skills, and brought smart, unexpected ideas.

– The importance of the focus and concentration: one room, one day, one team, one topic.

– The clarity of the context and objective of the sprint: before getting in motion, we spent one hour on the WHY of the project, and it gave us vision and energy.

– The efficiency of the crazy 8 method! We used this core sprint method to sketch 8 ideas in 8 minutes – not 8 variations of one idea or 8 steps of one idea, but 8 distinct ideas. The goal was to push beyond our first ideas, which are frequently not the most innovative, and generate a wide variety of solutions to our challenge. It worked pretty well!

– The size and the composition of the team: 5 people from 4 different teams.

We identified some practical elements we want to improve:

– We need proper material such as new paperboards, coloured pen, a Trello board template dedicated to sprints, a clock to make the crazy 8 even more funny.

– We want to improve three organisational aspects: start early in the morning because our team has less energy in the afternoon; make sure the facilitator does not produce anything so that he can focus on his facilitating role; name a Transcriber.

Are you planning to apply this methodology to other internal projects?

YES! We are using the Sprint methodology for the redesign of our website. See you soon for your feedbacks when it will have come to life!

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