You have ideas. A lot of ideas. They run through your head all day long. Should you pursue your product idea? What if you tried to make many processes more efficient? How could you speed up the customer experience, reduce friction? And, how come you can’t crank out execution after execution while designers, engineers, and marketers in Silicon Valley churn out one innovation after another?
Should you have another brainstorming session? What was the outcome of the last one? More likely than not, nothing changed. There were some great ideas, some silly ones, next steps were developed – but in most cases, nothing much got done. Back to the meeting rat race.
In Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz – all from Google Ventures – explain how Silicon Valley’s answer to fast execution is partly mindset and partly method. They teach us how to combine imagination, design-thinking, and a stop-clock to solve some of the most pressing challenges you and your credit union will ever face.
The Sprint method was used to develop Google Hangouts, just to name one global execution, and it started out of a dissatisfaction with the existing brainstorming process. The authors developed a process that starts out on Friday with an invitation to team members to wipe their calendars and join in Monday morning to solve the right challenge.
Sprinting, according to the author,s is a step-by-step method to get things done in about 30 hours. However, it’s not easy. Facilitators have to prep diligently and the team has to commit to focus on one challenge for the week. No multi-tasking during the sprint work.
The sprint stories in the book are entertaining and insightful: How does Blue Bottle Coffee go online? How can we organize the world’s cancer data? And how was Slack developed? There are lessons for any intrapreneur: You can learn how to speed up projects, eliminate the endless meeting cycle and finally decrease delays.
So, maybe you should cancel that next meeting and start rethinking problems. Sprint will be your guide.