Design Sprint Map for Heroes

The design sprint is a tool to identify the biggest potential risk in your product and to design a solution around it. As a fan of the Google Ventures sprint model, I wanted to share a somewhat detailed summary of one of the first steps: the sprint map.

The Sprint Map

The sprint map should be done on the first day. This map will be your guiding light throughout the sprint process. It will help keep you on topic and your idea focused on the part of your product where you can make the biggest difference. As an added benefit, the construction of the map will get the entire team thinking together and committed to the process.

What you need:

How to draw the map:

The facilitator is responsible for collecting the teams thoughts on the whiteboard. They should try their best to avoid interpreting the team's thoughts, but if and when they do, they should be sure to ask the team "does this look right?". It is important that the facilitator makes sure that the team's thoughts are captured, and the result is not just the interpretation or ideas of the facilitator.

As the facilitator stands at the whiteboard, they should help the team through the steps of creating the map:

1. Left to right

On the far left side of the whiteboard, list the characters that will be most prominent in this story. I try to think of the map as the quest of a hero. There is the hero with a goal, and all of the integral characters they meet along the way. Sometimes the story can break into side stories of the supporting characters, but in the end it revolves around our hero.

Jot down the characters on the left starting with the hero. Write who they will meet along their journey in stack formation (in order top to bottom) to complete their goal. Typically there are 2-4 characters.


design sprint map: step 1

2. Far right

The far right is the goal of our hero. The end goal is the something that our hero is trying to attain. It is usually something tangible or service oriented. For instance: the hero wants a meal, a bicycle route, a recommendation for the best seats at the opera. The more concise this is, the easier the map will be to create (and to be honest, the entire product).


design sprint map: step 2

3. Map the journey

The final step is to map all of the happenings between the hero and the goal. When the hero meets a key character along the way we can write this key step as the action of the key character or the overarching result of their interaction. This journey should involve all of the key characters and their role in the journey. If a key character doesn't participate in this path then they should be removed.


design sprint map: step 3