Rahul Gonsalves reveals how design sprints can fast-track product-market fit

At TechSparks 2023 Mumbai edition, Rahul Gonsalves, Founder of Obvious, spoke about design sprints and explained how founders can use them to validate their product idea quickly.

Rahul Gonsalves reveals how design sprints can fast-track product-market fit

Tuesday April 11, 2023,

4 min Read

Building a successful product is a complex process. It involves not only creating a great solution, one that meets the needs of intended users. As a founder or product builder, it's important to ensure that good speed goes hand in hand with the right direction and your product resonates with the target audience. 

Customer feedback is a very common metric to validate your product idea. But, more often than not, the time to get to the feedback stage, learn from it, and implement the learnings is months, if not years! 

Can that be reduced to two weeks? 

Rahul Gonsalves, Founder of Obvious, believes so and shared how at his masterclass at TechSparks 2023 Mumbai edition. The masterclass, titled ‘Accelerating towards Product Market-Fit with Design Sprints’, explored how businesses can use the principles of design sprints to validate their product idea with users efficiently and quickly. 

Obvious is an award-winning product and strategy consultancy that creates digital experiences across mobile applications and web technologies. It has employed design and engineering as force multipliers to solve complex problems for over 120 companies, including unicorns like Flipkart, Gojek, Dunzo, and Swiggy.  

What is a design sprint? 

Gonsalves suggested using design sprints to move from product hypothesis to product validation in a shorter period, to help reduce the feedback loop.

“A design sprint just formalises this process of saying, 'Hey, we don't have a product idea, we have a product hypothesis, this may or may not work. But let's not build the entire thing instead, let’s build a prototype or a small subset of that.’ Something that looks real, but isn't,” he explained.

So, what exactly is a design sprint? It's a process that allows you to rapidly prototype and test ideas with real users in just five days. The goal is to validate your product hypothesis and identify any issues before investing too much time and money into development. Here's how it works:

Day 1: Understand

Gather a team of people from different backgrounds and expertise to understand your users and their needs. You also explore your competitors and identify any questions you need to answer. List out your sprint’s objectives. 

Day 2: Explore

Generate a wide range of ideas without any judgment or filtering. This process is called exploration, allowing you to develop innovative solutions to the problems you're trying to solve.

Day 3: Decide

Review and evaluate all ideas generated on day two and decide which one to pursue. Create a storyboard to visualise the user journey and identify key features you want to prototype.

Day 4: Prototype

Create a realistic prototype of your product, focusing on the key features identified on day three. The prototype should be functional enough to test with real users.

Day 5: Test

On the final day of the design sprint, test your prototype with at least five real users to get feedback and validate your product hypothesis. You observe how they interact with your product and note any issues that arise.

How does it help? 

Gonsalves said if you structure your prototype well and put it in front of people, you will “immediately see certain common patterns arising”. “Are people finding difficulties within the flow of the app, are they able to understand the terms that you've used? Is the value proposition right.”

He explained how design sprints allow you to create a prototype that looks real but isn't fully developed. Testing your prototype with real users lets you quickly identify any issues and iterate on your solution before investing too much time and money into development, he said.

To show a real-life example of a successful design sprint, Gonsalves played a video that showcased how Obvious helped Simple design a mobile app for healthcare workers, to manage patient data for hypertensive patients. He also enumerated several real-life examples of design sprints they conducted with startups like Swiggy, Loco, Gojek, and many others. 

Incorporating design sprints into your product development process can significantly accelerate your journey toward product-market fit by reducing the time and resources spent on building and testing multiple iterations, and providing valuable insights and feedback from potential customers early on in the process.