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Text comes from the book: “Sprint: How to test new ideas and solve problems in just five days” (2016), More time: How to concentrate on the most important things ”(2018), published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher.

Here writes for you:

Jake Knapp designed the sprint process for Google Ventures. At Google, he managed sprint processes for Gmail to Google X. He is currently one of the most important developers in the world.

Solve problems quickly and efficiently like Google & Co: Success in 5 steps

Everyone wants to solve their problems quickly and efficiently. Because whoever does not procrastinate has proven to work better. A method tried and tested in Silicon Valley can help.

This is how efficient work works in Silicon Valley

On a cloudy morning in May 2014, John Zeratsky walked into a beige building in Sunnyvale, California. John wanted to speak to someone at Savioke Labs, one of Google Venture's newest investments. He made his way through
a maze of corridors, reached by a short flight of stairs to a simple wooden door,
on the "2B" it said and entered.

high-techCompany look a little disappointing to those who expect red-rimmed computer eyes, StarTrek-like holodecks or top-secret designs.
Most of Silicon Valley is essentially a pile of desks, computers, and coffee mugs. But circuit boards piled up behind door 2B,
Plywood cutouts and plastic fittings fresh from a 3D printer, plus soldering irons, drills, and drafts. Yes, actually top secret designs. "This place
looks like a start-up should look like, ”thought John.

How robots make our work easier

And then he discovered the machine. It was a cylinder about three feet high
the size and shape of a kitchen trash can. His shiny white body had one
elegantly tailored, curved shape that widened upwards and downwards. At the top was a small computer screen that looked almost like a face.
And the machine could move: it slid across the floor under its own power.
"It's the relay robot," said Steve Cousins, Savioke's founder and CEO. Steve
wore jeans and a dark t-shirt and was excited like a middle school physics teacher. He looked proudly at his little machine. "It was built here, and from prefabricated parts."
The relay robot, Steve explained, was designed for hotel guest services.
He could navigate automatically, ride the elevator alone and hotel guests things
like bring toothbrushes, towels and snacks. Steve and John watched the little robot carefully swivel around a desk chair and near an electrical outlet

Savioke (pronounced "Savvy Oak") had a team of world-class engineers
and designers, most of whom were former Willow Garage employees,
a renowned private robotics research laboratory in Silicon Valley. They all had one thing in common: the vision of making everyday life easier for people with the help of robots as hard-working helpers - in restaurants, hospitals, old people's homes and so on.
Steve had decided to start with hotels because they were relatively simple and
Constant environment with one constant problem: work peaks in the morning and in the evening when the reception was overloaded with check-in, check-out and room service orders. That was the perfect location for a robot.

AI as a maid

The following month, the first fully operational relay robot went to a nearby hotel
Operation where he did real room service for real guests. If a guest forgot their toothbrush or razor, the robot would come along. But there was a problem. Steve and his team feared that the guests might not like the servant robot. They might find it a nuisance or even be afraid of it. The robot was a marvel of engineering, but Savioke wasn't sure how the machine should behave towards humans.

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The risk of having towels brought by a machine was too impersonal, Steve explained. Savioke's chief designer, Adrian Canoso, did a lot
Suggestions on how to make the exterior of the robot friendly, but the team
had to make numerous decisions before the robot was really suitable for the audience. How should he communicate with the guests? How much personality was there too
much of a good thing? "And then there was the elevator," said Steve.
John nodded. "Personally, I feel uncomfortable just having to ride in an elevator with other people." "Exactly," Steve said, handing the relay one
Pat. "And what happens when a robot comes along?"

How to make structured decision-making processes more efficient

Savioke had only been in business a few months. The company had focused on development and technology. You had with Starwood, a hotel chain with several
a hundred houses, negotiated a pilot project. But there were still important questions in the
Space - questions that are decisive for success, and there were only a few weeks until the beginning
of the pilot project. It was the perfect time for a sprint.
Sprint is Google Ventures' unique five-day process with which key questions can be answered by creating prototypes and then testing them on real customers. Sprint is a kind of compilation of the "Greatest Hits" from
Business strategy, innovation, behavioral science, design and more - packed into
a step-by-step process that any team can use.

The Savioke team considered dozens of ideas for their robot and then selected the most convincing solutions using a structured decision-making process
without groupthink processes. A realistic prototype was created within a single day, and finally the team won target customers and set them up
set up a makeshift research laboratory in a nearby hotel.
We would like to tell you that we, the authors, were the genius heroes of this story. It would be wonderful if we could sneak into every possible company and share our brilliant ideas that will make it a resounding success. Unfortunately we are not geniuses. The sprint at Savioke worked because you worked there with real experts: those involved were already part of the team. We just gave them the right process for their job.

This is how efficient problem solving works in 3 steps

And here is the sequence of the Savioke sprint. There are no robots in your company
built? Never mind. We use the exact same sprint structure for software, services, marketing and many other areas.

  1. First we put together a number of checklists, including a shopping list for necessary materials or a brief overview of the respective daily routine of the week. You don't have to memorize everything at once, but before we begin we need to carefully plan the process so that it will be a complete success.
  2. Then the team shoveled a full week off. From Monday to Friday they canceled all meetings, activated the "out of office" response function of their e-mail accounts and focused exclusively on one question: How should the robot behave in the presence of people?
  3. Next, they set a deadline. Savioke agreed with the hotel to conduct a live test on the Friday of sprint week. The countdown was on and the pressure increased significantly. We only had four days to design a working solution and create a prototype.
  4. On Monday, the Savioke team analyzed and reviewed everything they knew about the problem. Steve emphasized the importance of guest satisfaction, which is meticulously measured and tracked in hotels. If the relay robot increased satisfaction ratings during the pilot, the hotel would order more robots. If the value stagnated or fell and there was no order, the young start-up would find itself in a tricky position.
  5. Together we created a kind of overview plan, similar to a map, in order to identify the greatest risks. Imagine this plan like a storyboard in a film: guest meets robot, robot hands guest the toothbrush, guest is enthusiastic about the robot. There were critical moments on this storyboard when the robot and the guest meet for the first time: in the lobby, in the elevator, in the hotel corridor and so on. What point should we focus on? If you only have five days to sprint, you have to focus on well-defined goals. Steve chose the service fulfillment moment. If that works, the guest is delighted. If things go wrong, reception staff may have to spend all day answering questions from confused guests.

Identify recurring problems

One major concern kept cropping up: The team feared that the robot might appear too intelligent on the outside. "We're all spoiled by the C-3PO and WALL-E," said Steve. “We expect robots to have feelings and plans, hopes and dreams.
But our robots are not that sophisticated. If a guest speaks to him, he won't
answers. And if we disappoint the guests, we have failed. "
On Tuesday, the team switched from problem definition to possible solutions. Instead of a rumbling brainstorming session, each participant worked out their own solution.
And not just the designers. Tessa Lau, chief technology officer and chief engineer in robotics, worked on it, Izumi Yaskawa, in charge of business development, and
Steve, the CEO of the start-up, also pondered possible solutions.
On Wednesday morning, all the walls of the conference room were covered with sketches and notes
fully paved. Some ideas were new, while others were old ideas that were discarded
or had never been thought through to the end. All in all, we had 23 competing solutions.

How could we condense them to a few? In most organizations, the decision would take weeks of meetings and endless email traffic. we
but only had one day available. The Friday test hovered over our heads like the sword of Damocles, and everyone felt the pressure. By means of voting procedures and a structured discussion, we came to a calm, quick decision without arguments and arguments.

No result without risk

The test would take a number of Savioke designer Adrian Canoso's daring ideas
Contains: a face for the robot and a soundtrack of beeps and ring tones.
In addition, the team decided on one of the intriguing but controversial ideas
the sketch of the solution: If the robot was satisfied, it would do a little dance of joy
perform. "I still fear we're giving it too much personality," said
Steve. "But we have to take the risk." "Should it explode, we can still drive it back," Tessa said. When she saw the look on our faces, she said, “It was just kidding. Don't worry, the robot can't explode at all. "

When Thursday dawned, we had just eight hours to make the prototype for
create the live test on Friday. That was actually too close. Successful with two tricks
makes it possible for us to get our prototype ready on time: Much of the hard work was already done. On Wednesday we agreed on the ideas we wanted to test and documented each potential solution in detail. All that remained was the execution. The robot didn't have to function autonomously, as it would in the end in a hotel. All he had to do was do one job: bring a toothbrush to a guest's room. Tessa and her engineering colleague Allison Tse programmed and adjusted the robot's movements using an old laptop and a PlayStation controller. Adrian put on large padded headphones and orchestrated the sound effects. The "face" was designed on an iPad and mounted on the robot. At five in the afternoon he was ready.

Never forget the customer

For Friday's test, Savioke had interviews with guests at the on-site Starwood hotel in
Cupertino, California arranged. At seven o'clock in the morning we set up a makeshift research laboratory in one of the hotel rooms by connecting web cams with electrical tape
the wall. And at 9.14:XNUMX a.m. the first female guest began his interview.
The young woman studied the decoration of the hotel room: light wood, neutral tones, a latest generation TV. Modern and pleasant, but not unusual. So what was the interview about? Next to her stood Michael Margolis, research partner
from Google Ventures. For now, Michael wanted the reason for the test as a surprise
keep secret. He had planned the entire interview in advance to find answers to certain
Get questions from the Savioke team. At the moment he was trying to find out his interviewee's travel habits and to encourage her when he appeared
of the robot to react quite honestly.
Michael adjusted his glasses and asked a series of questions about their hotel habits. Where did she put her suitcase? When did she open it? And what would she do if she did
forgot her toothbrush?

"I don't know, I would probably call reception."
Michael scribbled notes on a clipboard. "Okay." He pointed to the phone on the
Writing desk. "Please call reception." No sooner said than done. "No problem," replied the receptionist. "I'll have one brought to you at once." When the young woman picked up the phone
hung up, Michael continued his questions. Did she always travel with the same suitcase? When
was the last time she left something at home?
Drrrring. The phone cut her off. She picked up the receiver and received an automated message: "Your toothbrush is here." Without thinking further, the woman answered
Door closed and opened it. The members met at the Savioke headquarters
of the sprint team gathered around the video screens excitedly, watching their reaction tense.
"Oh my god," she said. "That's a robot!"
Slowly its shiny outer shell opened and a toothbrush came inside
to the fore. The robot made a couple of ring tones and beeps as did the young woman
confirmed the fulfillment of the room service on the touchscreen. When she got this experience
rated five stars, the little machine performed a short dance of joy by swinging back and forth.
"That's really cool," said the woman. “If the hotel uses this robot, then it does
I always come here. "

What really mattered wasn't her words; it was the enthusiastic smile we could see on the video stream. And it was what she didn't do - no awkward pauses and no frustration whatsoever while handling the robot. When we watched the first interview on live video, we were very nervous. In the second and third interviews we laughed and even cheered. All guests reacted in the same way. They were thrilled when they saw the robot, and no one had any problems receiving their toothbrush, confirming receipt on the screen and sending the robot back on its way. Several guests wanted to get a second toothbrush just to see him in action again. They even took selfies with him. but
no one tried to engage him in conversation.

Address and eliminate deficiencies

At the end of the day, our whiteboard was covered with green hooks. The risky robot personality - the blinking eyes, the sound effects and, yes, even the "Happy."
Dance «- were a total success. Before the sprint, Savioke was concerned they were going to promise too much about the robot's capabilities. Now they realized that fitting the little machine with limited "human" features might be that
Was the secret to increasing customer satisfaction.
Of course, not all of the details were perfect. The screen was slow to respond. The timing
some sound effects were still wrong, and one idea, namely computer games in the
Integrating a touchscreen did not go down at all with the guests.

These shortcomings meant that we were re-prioritizing some of the engineering work
had to, but there was still time.
Three weeks later, the robot started his full-time job at the hotel. The relay turned out to be a real hit. Stories about the charming robot appeared in the New
York Times and the Washington Post. In the first month alone, Savioke scored more than one
Billion media mentions. Most importantly, the robot got to the guests. By the end of summer, Savioke had placed so many orders
that the company could hardly keep up with production.
Savioke had taken a risk by giving the robot its own personality. But the team was confident because the sprint made it possible
had to quickly test the risky idea.

Answer crucial questions quickly

As a partner of GV, our mission is to help our startups answer these critical questions. We are not hourly consultants
get paid. We are investors who are successful when they are looked after by us
Companies are successful. To help you find a quick fix for your
To find problems and to stand on our own two feet quickly, we have optimized our sprint process in such a way that it produces the best results in the shortest possible time. Best of all, however, the process draws on people, knowledge, and tools that every team already has.

By sprinting our start-ups, we shorten endless debates and compress months into a single week. Instead of starting out with a minimal product
Bringing the market to the market in order to understand whether an idea is really worthwhile, our companies receive clear data from a realistic prototype in advance. The sprint equips our start-ups with a kind of superpower: They can "fast forward" into the future and anticipate how customers will react to their finished product before they make expensive investments. When a risky idea proves itself in a sprint, the result is overwhelming. However, the greatest return on investment is offered by failures, even if they are painful. Decisive for success after only five days of work
Identifying defects is the maximum in efficiency. This is a tough learning process, but it prevents costly failure on the market at an early stage.

Always check the direction you are going

At GV we have sprints with companies like Foundation Medicine (developer of
highly specialized methods for cancer diagnosis), Nest (manufacturer of intelligent household electrical appliances) and Blue Bottle Coffee (as the name suggests, coffee producers). we
have used sprints to test the profitability of new lines of business to drive the
Create first version of new apps, improve mass products, define marketing strategies and create reports for medical tests. Investment bankers have
use sprints to determine their next strategy; the google team did using
Sprints built the self-driving car and high school students completed a challenging math task using the process.

This text is a do-it-yourself guide to help you run your own sprint and answer your most pressing questions for your business. On Monday
analyze the problem and determine the main point on which you will focus. On Tuesday you will sketch possible solutions on paper. On Wednesday you will make tough decisions and turn your ideas into testable ones
Hypothesis. On Thursday you will create a realistic prototype and on Friday you will test it on real people.

It all depends on the perfect team

We do not give advice from above, we deal with specific details. we
help you put together the perfect sprint team of people with whom
You already work together now. You learn highly demanding things (for example,
how to make the most of the different opinions of your team members and the
Getting a leadership vision out), moderately difficult things (for example, why your
Team should turn off phones and computers for three days) and very simple things
(why you should have lunch at one o'clock). In the end, you don't have a complete, detailed, ready-to-ship product, but you will move forward quickly, and so will you
will know exactly if the direction you are going is in the right direction.

You can discover some methods that you are already familiar with and others that are useful for
You are new. If you are familiar with Lean Development or Design Thinking, be
You will find that the sprint is a practical way of applying these guidelines
is. If your team uses what are known as agile processes, you will find that our
Definition of "sprint" is different but complementary. And if you've never heard of these methods - don't worry, you won't have any problems. This method
is suitable for experts and beginners alike; it is made for anyone who is in front of a
big opportunity or idea or a big problem and somehow the beginning
need to find. Each step has been tested, modified, retested and evaluated in the course of our more than one hundred sprints and based on the feedback we received
our growing sprinting community fine-tuned. Shouldn't the sprint
work, it's not because of this text.

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