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How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

By Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz
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Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz

Sprint (2016) is a guide to start-up success, broken down into a five-day plan that lets you test new ideas and solve complex business problems. These blinks give you everything you need to move quickly from an idea to a prototype and, ultimately, make a decision on whether or not to launch.

Key idea 1 of 9

A sprint is an effective project management tool, especially for start-ups.

Do you ever find yourself facing multiple deadlines and feeling certain that you won’t be able to deliver the results you need while sticking to your schedule? Well, don’t sweat it. People do their best work when they take on challenges with little time to complete them.

The author came to this conclusion while working at Google. He had just one month to develop an important new feature for Gmail that would automatically organize messages. But despite the tight deadline, his team generated a design, a prototype and ultimately earned loads of positive user feedback.

So how did they do it?

By using a new approach to project management. The author calls it a sprint and it has three key components:

First, a short deadline is essential for preventing procrastination. For example, when a project has to be completed within a few days, the ability of a team to focus is much stronger than the urge to hang out and drink coffee.

Second, it’s important to have people with different skills all working in one room. Engineers, designers and product managers tend to get more done when they’re all together and are able to answer each other’s questions.

The third and final ingredient of a sprint is for the project to produce a concrete prototype, not just an abstract idea like those shouted out during brainstorming sessions.

The author identified these three points as the foundation of his project management style – but it wasn't until later that he realized sprints are perfect for start-ups. After all, start-ups usually have just one shot to launch a product; if their first attempt goes bust, they generally run out of money before they can launch another.

But with sprints, start-ups have an effective tool for testing out their projects before they pour money into their production and launch.

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