Design Sprints

We spent 3 days doing a remote design sprint. It was intense, chaotic, productive, and a lot of fun.
Show Notes

At the beginning of the episode Jonathan talks about watching Hamilton, which was recently released on Disney+. Here is a link to the streaming service and the filmed version of the original broadway.

This episode delves into the design sprint that Two Story Robot led Clinnect through, we talk about the ups and downs and how valuable it was. Check out the blog post about design sprints and the design sprint we did with Clinnect.

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Produced by Jonathan Bowers and Angela Hapke
Music by Andrew Codeman (CC BY 3.0)


Jonathan:  Can you do this? I can't do it just a second. I can get it.
[00:00:04] Angela: sounded like a drip.
[00:00:09]Jonathan: Yeah. It's, I'm not very, I'm not very good at.


[00:00:12] Hi, I'm Jonathan Bowers.
[00:00:17] Angela: And I'm Angela Hapke and you're listening to Fixing Faxes.
[00:00:21]Jonathan: And I watched Hamilton this
[00:00:24] Angela: was it?
[00:00:26] Jonathan: so good.
[00:00:27] Angela: watched it yet.
[00:00:28] Jonathan: so good. It's it's so we've read a little bit about shaming for people who don't like it. Um, which I think is a little unfair. I mean, I enjoyed it a lot cause I like, I liked the style of music and it's really neat to see that in a musical also, we would never go see Hamilton.
[00:00:49] Like, there's just no opportunity for us to go to Chicago or New York or London,
[00:00:53] Angela: And especially right now.
[00:00:55] Jonathan: Yeah. So it was really cool to watch. We had to watch it over two nights. Um, just cause it's, it's quite long, it's like two hours and 40 minutes. Um, but I didn't know. I didn't know that it was pretty much all rap and R and B and um, yeah, like it was really,
[00:01:09] it was really cool.
[00:01:10] Angela: well, I didn't know that either Brad will love it. I'm
[00:01:14] Jonathan: It's so great. It's I really enjoyed it. It's very fast. It's hard to follow in ways because it's one it's like, it's just very quick. So you gotta, like, you have to be paying attention and it's a lot of American history, which I'm not, I don't, I don't know. I don't have any of the background knowledge for anyways
[00:01:32] um, but it was still, it was, it was really cool. I really, I really enjoyed it.
[00:01:35] Angela: Okay. I'm definitely going to check it out.
[00:01:37]Jonathan:  one of the YouTube videos I watched said that if, if it was paced the same as a, a regular Broadway musical, it would have taken six hours because of how many words they cram into two hours and 40 minutes.
[00:01:51] Yeah. It's very
[00:01:53] Angela: Wow.
[00:01:54] That's very cool.

[00:01:55]We Launched The Podcast

[00:01:55] Jonathan: We launched the podcast too, that has come out. Um, I've listened to it. I've listened to it a bunch of times. Cause I edited it edited. I listened to it a bunch of times because I edited it and then I listened to it when it came out and I've since listened to episode five, which we recorded last week with our new mics.
[00:02:16] And I hate, I hate the first four episodes. I don't like that. Uh, I don't like the way they
[00:02:22] Angela: of course not. Well, of course not,
[00:02:23] Jonathan: but we have four, I think four five star reviews. Yeah. There's well, one from your husband.
[00:02:32] Angela: I was like beyond my husband.
[00:02:34] Jonathan: Yeah, I think there's, I think there's some other ones, because if I look at the average yeah, we've got an average of four stars and then that one, one star review that they didn't leave.
[00:02:45] Yeah. They didn't leave a comment, your husbands and then some other five star reviews. Um, but have you heard any, have you got any, any feedback from people.
[00:02:51] Angela: Um, yeah, so I, I. Put it on my Facebook, like, just like, Hey, we're we're doing this. Wow. I, so heartwarmed by everybody. And people I haven't talked to in years, like sometimes decades that, um, have gone, like have saw the post gone and listened to it and then come back to the post to write me something.
[00:03:19] Jonathan: That's
[00:03:19] Angela: so lovely and
[00:03:22] Jonathan: creeping on your Facebook a little bit. I was a little jealous of how many people were commenting on your, on your post about it. Cause no, one's no, one's commented on mine at all. Uh, that's fine.
[00:03:34] Angela: it is like, honestly, there's a lot of my mom's friends that are going.
[00:03:38] Jonathan: Oh,
[00:03:41] Angela: Yay. Thank you. Friends of mum.
[00:03:44] Jonathan: that's great. Everyone's everyone's dream is for their, uh, for their friend's daughter to become a podcast host. I think
[00:03:52] Angela: Yeah, right.
[00:03:53] Jonathan: it's just a proud, just a moment of pride. That's so great. I love it.
[00:03:57] Angela: It's been really cool. And then like just the engagement factor around that has been really, really fun. Um, so it's, I mean, mostly the people that are listening, um, as of today are really just friends and family.
[00:04:10] Jonathan: Yeah. It's not a lot of, not a huge audience at the
[00:04:13] moment. Um,
[00:04:15] Angela: so, thank you. If you're listening to this and you've made it to episode, whatever this is six
[00:04:20] Jonathan: Episode six, if you're just joining us though now, because he couldn't deal with the poor audio quality. Uh, we get it.
[00:04:30] Angela: I'm glad you rejoined us. Ah, yes. So we we've launched the podcast. We've got some reviews, some listens more, probably more downloads than I thought we would have.
[00:04:43] Jonathan: Um,
[00:04:45] Angela: Or did you, or
[00:04:46] Jonathan: I was kind of hoping for a bit more. We have a, I went in this morning, we have a hundred total downloads across both the team, the teaser, and the first episode, I think there's, uh, like 30 or 40 downloads for episode two. And, um, yes, 60 or 70 downloads for the teaser. Um, but it's, it's interesting.
[00:05:04] The pattern is different. The, the pattern is more stable for episode two, whereas a big spike on day one for the, for the teaser, and then it quickly, quickly dropped off. So, but it's only been out a couple of days, so we'll see. We'll see what today
[00:05:18] Angela: And it's so much easier to listen to a three minute a teaser than it is to commit to a half an hour.

[00:05:24]Design Sprints

uh, so we were thinking about talking today about, um, some design stuff.
[00:05:29]Angela:  before we started working with you, I had no idea what the design sprint was and I think that's, uh, it's super fun thing that we did. And I think we should talk about what that was and how we did it and why maybe what it was like from your perspective, my perspective and things like that.
[00:05:51]do you want to talk about what the design sprint is to get us started?
[00:05:57] Jonathan: Yeah. So a design well a sprint. There's this, there's this term that comes from agile product development and agile methods in, uh, software, but also other aspects of, of building things and this idea of a sprint. And it's this like short time window, sometimes two weeks, sometimes a week, sometimes a month.
[00:06:19] It sort of depends on the project where you focus on a thing. And I don't love the term sprint. I think it, I think it connotes this idea that you are like constantly running the entire time. And then in, in the agile world, you sort of divide up your, your iteration cycles into sprints And so sprint one for focus on essence sprint two, we're focused on this and I've talked with people who kind of get the wrong idea and they think like, Oh, like, why isn't everyone just sprinting the entire time? All the time and I think, well, that's not sustainable. You can't, you can't, sprint every single day.
[00:06:54]even sprinters, don't train by sprinting all the time.
[00:06:56] Angela: exactly. Yeah, no, you're
[00:06:58] Jonathan: So, um, anyway, so it's, it's a way of dividing up time. Um, and you kind of call it a sprint, but it's meant to be really focused on. You know, one thing or if there's a goal in mind. And so a design sprint, which I do like the term sprint for a design sprint, because it is it's short.
[00:07:16]Um, it's a, it's a predefined time window. We don't do it like over and over and over again. We do one of them, maybe two of them. So our, our design sprint is. Basically three mornings. So usually Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning. It's very, very intense. It's very structured. We have a script that we follow and it leads us through a bunch of exercises. Um, some of which is just to like get the creative juices flowing. So we've got some sketching exercises that we do. Um, this fun thing called crazy eights, where you take a piece of paper and fold it in
[00:07:53] Angela: I remember that.
[00:07:54] Jonathan: Until you get eight pages and then every minute you have to draw something new on each one of those panels. Um, we don't share that stuff, but it's, uh, it's just to like get the creative juices flowing, but the goal is to, um, bring together, you know, the I'm the product expert. So yourself, um, the people that would be responsible for building, building the product, uh, like, uh, our team on Two Story Robot and it cramp them in together into this quote unquote room. Cause we don't do it in a room. We do it remotely and forces, through very short time windows, to like be creative and come up with things. And it's a really good way of getting information exchange happening, back and forth. Um, so we, we can quickly learn a lot about the domain in three days, we've become, um, we don't, we don't become like your level of understanding at it, but we get really close.
[00:08:49] And then as an. And as an output to this entire process, as we collect collaboratively design, a bunch of features and screens that we think are the most priority, highest priority things to work on. Um, and then, and then at the end, we have a design that we can kind of start implementing with, which is, which is really cool.
[00:09:07] Angela: From a Clinnect perspective. Um, when we started out with the design sprint, um, what we had was simply an idea. We knew the features that we wanted to add in, but we had no idea what this would, this product would look like. Um, Jackie and I had kind of sketched out some ideas cause we're super visual.
[00:09:29] The both of us, um, just to kind of get on paper, what we thought we might want to see. And then we headed into this design sprint, which I knew nothing about. I w uh, I was like, okay. Yeah. And I think you sent me an email and you're like, Hey, do you want to try this? I'm like, sure. Let's, let's try this. And it was like, you know, three full mornings.
[00:09:52] And, and so from what I would say is from where we were on the Monday at say eight or nine o'clock to where we got by end of day, Wednesday was mindblowing. The amount of work that we were able to push out in that sprint and get our heads around was unreal. It was super high value from our perspective.
[00:10:21] So that was really, really cool.
[00:10:24] Jonathan: Yeah, we've had, we've had that feedback, uh, cause we've run them a few times now and the feedback has always been yeah um, surprise at the end of how, how much, how much value came out of it and just how much understanding and how much tangible, like tangible design came out of it. I mean, it doesn't come out with fully fleshed out really high quality designs they're, they're pretty rough, but the, the, um, like they're really good bones on the skeleton, and then we can, then we can take that and start adding, adding all the flesh to it and it's um, but it's yeah, it's in three days, um, a lot gets done
[00:11:01] in three days.
[00:11:02] Angela: So when coming into it in February, we had like ideas and little sketches and it was cute to nice. And then by the end, I was like, Oh my gosh, we have all of this, which helped us push for the next thing too.
[00:11:16] Because we were able to do that so quickly. And then we're kind of a bit on a roll that I was like, okay, like, let's get this going. So that outside of just getting the tangible designs and things like that done, it also helped just fuel the, the builds for the, the product too, which I found super valuable also.
[00:11:34] Jonathan: I mean, another thing that it helps do is it, it really ruthlessly prioritizes what needs to get done because you can't, you can't, he can't address everything in three mornings. So there's a bunch of things that we really want it to do. But, um, you need to focus on the things that are most important or have maybe the most uncertainty.
[00:11:52] Angela: I think, and I think the other thing I wanted to mention too, is it is. It's exhausting. Like, I was really tired after all that. Love it. I mean, I also being like the quote unquote customer in this, um, my brain was tapped a lot, like, okay, Angela, what do you think about this? Does this make sense? That, and so it was making like really, really quick decisions, which for anybody.
[00:12:19] Can be really exhausting. And so I know, I remember after the three days, it was really, really tiring, um, highly valuable, but it goes back to what you said about a sprint. Shouldn't be like, you know, it's not sustainable. And it was like, mentally, it wasn't sustainable for me at all.
[00:12:37] Jonathan: It's exhausting. It's exhausting. There, it's a lot of demand on you as the, as the expert. Um, because we, you have to download a bunch of information. You have to think and respond quickly to questions because you kind of facing a squad of everyone else on the, on the sprint. I think there was six of
[00:12:56] Angela: Yes, there was
[00:12:57] Jonathan: Um, and so everyone has questions. You say something and it triggers thoughts in other people's minds. And so they have questions now. So you've got to respond to that. So there's a lot on you. Um, there's a lot on, uh, so myself and my Maja a facilitated it it's, it's really it's. It has to be a tag team in order to facilitate the thing.
[00:13:15]Um, cause there's a lot of this, a lot of stuff happening all at once. One of us is writing notes. One of us is sort of leading and facilitating the discussion and leading through some of the exercises. We, you know, it's a bit of a production too, is we've got music that we're playing and,
[00:13:28]Angela: Oh my goodness. The music.
[00:13:30]There was so many, there was so much commentary on the music. So Jonathan decided he was going to be the DJ. I don't know. And, uh, there was, you got so much flack for the, for the music that you were choosing.
[00:13:44] I think it was mostly from Chris and I, but.
[00:13:46] Jonathan: Yeah, we have some playlists that we use and I think one of them doesn't resonate very well with, uh, with everyone.
[00:13:53] Angela: I was one of those people. It didn't resonate. Well,
[00:13:55] Jonathan: It's it, but interestingly, so it's, that process has spurred me to, um, change, the experience I'm trying to create in all of my Zoom calls now. So having, having facilitated a few, a few design sprints, um, and getting some really good feedback about the experience, obviously I'm not going to put that much energy into , every zoom call that I'm on, but I've got a new camera now.
[00:14:18] I've got a good sound. I've got to figure it out how I can, how I can quickly add music to the call. Um, so, um, I'm not a DJ by any means. No, I just like go hit, play on Spotify, but sometimes I can, I can find a song that actually reflects the meeting well, and then I play it. I play it out. I play us out and I've gotten some good feedback on that.
[00:14:38]Uh, it's been fun.
[00:14:40] Angela: Is that going to be like a job in the future
[00:14:42] Jonathan: I think it could be a job now, I think.
[00:14:45] Angela: But yeah, what I mean, I guess future being now, because we're all can, you know, meeting via virtually is that that becomes a new, a new skillset.
[00:14:57] Jonathan: Yeah, at our all hands meetings, we have like a question that we ask. And it's just a fun question to just think about and discuss and just create something else to talk about. Um, One of them was what, what's a thing you'd like to learn. And mine, I decided was improv. Yeah, because I mean, I had just finished watching a, that long format improv on Netflix, uh Middleditch and Schwartz, which I highly recommend. It's really funny. I've always enjoyed improv. And so I was reflecting a little bit on what the design sprint is and sort of running, running, engaging meetings.
[00:15:34] And I was like, this is it's improv. Like, how can I, how can I be, how can I, how could I improve that? I could be an improvization person, an improv comedian, or
[00:15:45] like an
[00:15:45] Angela: improv artist.
[00:15:47] Jonathan: An improv artist. Right. I could be an improv artist. I haven't taken any efforts to like go and do that because I don't have any time, but it's something that I think about a lot.
[00:15:55] And I w I really wish there was a maybe like a podcast I could listen to, to like, help me become a better at improv.
[00:16:04] Angela: I love it. So anyone listening that has suggestions on how Jonathan can become an improv artist, please message us.
[00:16:15] Jonathan: I think it would be a cool skill to have. It would be great for interviews on the podcast for, yeah. Anyways, I I'm, I'm excited about the idea of it. I don't know what I'm going to find time to go and do it.
[00:16:26] Angela: Oh my goodness. I love that.
[00:16:30] Jonathan: the other thing that I wanted to like share about the design sprint process that we have is that it, it kind of only works remotely.
[00:16:38] Angela: You know what I would agree at first I was very, and this is pre COVID, so we could have met in a room and thought nothing of it. And we all. Mostly, except for Maja who was in Poland at the time, we all actually worked in the same building. So it would have been very easy to do this. And, and, um, the old school part of me that like, you know, has spent years in healthcare where meetings are, um, at first it was a bit like, Oh, No.
[00:17:07] I want to, like, let's all get in a room and let's do this together. And you're like, no Angela, this is all virtual. And at first I was like a little bit disappointed, but then once we got into it, I probably didn't tell you that at the time. Um, but once we got into it, I totally got why we were doing it virtually and it made a lot of sense and it worked out really well.
[00:17:34] Jonathan: Yeah, there's, there's so many things that you can do when you don't have the constraints of a physical world. Um, we use, we use some tools that allow us to very, very rapidly work on the same thing at the same time. And it gets really messy. Like we do this, um, we do this organization process where you're. You know, you're putting virtual sticky notes on a whiteboard and then somebody grabs it and moves it on you to somewhere else. And you're like, okay, whatever. And it's really fast. And so we can take seven minutes and, and categorize and organize a hundred sticky
[00:18:08] notes and, and surface some meaning out of that.
[00:18:11] Angela: And there was, um, there was a lot of getting used to that.
[00:18:17] Jonathan: Oh, yeah. Yeah. The tool, the tool is we're used to the tool, um, others, uh, when people use it for the first time, uh, it, it, it can be a bit overwhelming and it
[00:18:27] Angela: It was a bit. Yeah, but it was quick to learn. So it was overwhelming at first, but quick to learn, but I think it was more like my, my own control issues where I'm like, Nope, I put that sticky note there. Why is it moving? Somebody is moving it. And, but as soon as I kind of lost that need for understanding everything, because you can't during this design sprint, especially as a newcomer to it, as soon as I kind of lost that need to.
[00:18:56] Understand and control, then it worked really well, but it was hard for me at first, but it didn't take, like, I like you adapt really quickly. I guess.
[00:19:07] Jonathan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's a, it's a really messy. It's a very messy process. It makes people feel uncomfortable, especially. I think, I think you sort of hinted that you were a bit of a controlling, um,
[00:19:22] Angela: Oh,
[00:19:22] Jonathan: freak. You're just someone who likes to have control over things. And I remember thinking, I don't think she's going to like this very much.
[00:19:32] Um, but like it's, it has to work this way. Like you can't control it because it's so it's, it's quite organic. Um, and it, it needs to be
[00:19:39] Angela: And I think it's that, um, you know, we're talking a lot about this these days about leaning into uncomfortableness and that's where, um, beautiful, messy, creative things come from. And that's exactly what this design sprint was at first. It was, it was, it was a bit. Um, chaotic messy, but from it, if you just allow yourself to be uncomfortable and okay with being uncomfortable in that moment, you can create some really beautiful things.
[00:20:06] And, um, that's where I think we were able to get. And I was probably one of the bigger barriers at the beginning to doing that. If I'm going to be perfectly honest with myself, but it was good.
[00:20:20] Yeah.
[00:20:20] highly recommended design sprint. Um, like I say, didn't know what it was, went into it unknowing definitely, you know, was, was pushing back at first and then so proud of what we came up with out of it.
[00:20:35] Jonathan: Would you say it was fun,
[00:20:36] Angela: Yeah. some of the best things are, you know, like they just. They tire you right out, but there's, there's fun. Um, yes, it was fun.
[00:20:45] Jonathan: Yeah, I really enjoy them. They're they're so exhausting, but there's so much fun.
[00:20:51]Angela: Um, so our software, uh, developer, Jackie, that, uh, works at Clinnect. Um, I remember at first she had a real hard time with it because she is the kind of person that loves things to be beautiful and nice and organized. And you can see it from, you know, she's a photographer and her pictures are gorgeous. Um, you should see your notebook.
[00:21:16] It's.
[00:21:16] Jonathan: Our notebook is
[00:21:17] Angela: It's amazing.
[00:21:19] And so then when you're doing this design sprint, like, and you talked about this, like the eight square, is that, what am I calling it? The crazy eights or something? Yep. Uh, Oh, Jackie hated that. I remember. She was so frustrated because you have to draw something in a minute and then you flip it over and draw something else in a minute and you kind of keep iterating on what you had drawn last and you get, you know, and it's, it's just, as Jonathan said, an exercise to start opening up your mind.
[00:21:46] Well, I remember the grumbles so funny. Yeah. But because she's also this person who thinks about things and it's very particular. I also feel like she, once we kinda zoned in on what we were, what we were looking at a little bit more, she was able to take it to like a next level, because then she was able to focus in on those details and things like that.
[00:22:10] And that's why it's so great to have a super diverse team when doing it and allow everybody to go through their grumbles and bumps and. It'll come out the other side better for it. . I had actually liked to do it again with something
[00:22:28] Jonathan: What we had planned on, we have plans to do another one. Um, we had discussed it.
[00:22:33] Angela: Oh, right. I forgot about it.
[00:22:38] Jonathan: I don't remember what about, but we had identified something that we thought needed some additional,
[00:22:43] Angela: Well, it's probably our premium features. No.
[00:22:47] Jonathan: and I thought there was something else.
[00:22:49]We are always looking for other opportunities to do design sprints, because they are so effective. They're really hard to describe though. Like they're almost impossible to describe to someone cause we say like, Oh, it's really, it's really weird.
[00:23:02] It's really uncomfortable. It's very messy. And it's, it works really well.
[00:23:07] Angela: Yeah. And people like myself are like, no, thank you. But I trusted you. That's actually, maybe the, maybe the piece that we haven't talked about is that trust piece is I trusted you to guide us through that. And I think you need to find a team that you, that you ha you have to have that trust there, or else that does not work.
[00:23:28] I don't know. Have you ever had a, have you ever had a client where. It's like it went a little bit sideways.
[00:23:35] Oh, that's nice. You must be so trustworthy. Everybody's just like, okay, Jonathan.
[00:23:41] Jonathan: it's, it's always produced very good results and, and it's always, it's always. Kind of the same experience. So maybe that's just, we've like we have really great customers, um, which, which is true, but, uh, yeah, I don't know how much of it is because it just works or that we have customers that are sort of willing to work, willing to take that chance a little bit.
[00:24:02] Angela: Probably a mix of all of it. Um, what we'll likely do in the show notes is link to maybe a little bit more information about design sprints.
[00:24:12] Jonathan: Yeah, so we're doing, um, we're going to do a blog post on design sprints that this can, this can relate to, . Anyway, so, so hopefully we get to do another design sprint, um, on Clinnect, on whatever, whatever feature we think
[00:24:24] Angela: Oh Lord.
[00:24:25] Jonathan: What else is, what else is coming up? What else is next?
[00:24:28] Angela: what's coming up. Uh,
[00:24:32] Jonathan: Hopefully, well, hopefully, hopefully on the next recording, we're going to have Chris come in guest and explain to us how all this encryption stuff
[00:24:44] Angela: Yes. Chris is wildly smart.
[00:24:49] Jonathan: I'm very excited to hear you describe it as well, because I've, I've given you a, um, a metaphor or an analogy or a way of describing it, which you took, and I think you change to give to someone else. So I'm, I'm curious to hear all of it, all of it, and then do it in front of Chris for him to shake his head at and say no, no,
[00:25:11] Angela: you have it all wrong. Yeah. That is a hundred percent what is going to happen? And I'm
[00:25:16] Jonathan: Yeah. So you've been listening to Fixing Faxes, building a digital health startup. I'm Jonathan Bowers. My cohost is Angela Hapke. Music by Andrew Codeman. Follow us on Twitter @fixingfaxes. You can find us wherever you listen to podcasts. And please do us a favor. Tell a friend. Thanks for listening.

[00:25:33]Camping with the Family

[00:25:33] Angela: I'm taking my children camping in our new trailer for the first
[00:25:38] Jonathan: You
[00:25:39] Angela: weekend we bought a popup trailer, like
[00:25:42] a, a tent trailer.
[00:25:44] Jonathan: yeah.
[00:25:45] Can you fit a family of four in that?
[00:25:48] Angela: yes, apparently we bought a very large one. Yeah. I didn't have a clue. We really, we didn't know what we were doing when we bought it, but we bought it and our children are so happy.
[00:26:01] Um, but they're so excited to take it. So we're going to take it four on Friday night for the first time. Wish us luck.
[00:26:07] Jonathan: Uh, good luck.
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