The Research Sprint, also called Design Sprint, was developed at Google Ventures as a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.
Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single iteration or sprint.
Instead of waiting to launch a minimal product to understand if an idea is any good, you’ll get clear data from a realistic prototype.
The sprint gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to see your finished product and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments.
At the beginning of any project there are a host of unknowns.
Teams often brush these aside under the guise of "we'll figure it out when we get there."
This is a dangerous approach.
Agile is not waterfall, so not everything needs a firm schedule, but to plow ahead into certain uncertainty is foolish as the answers may fundamentally change the product or platform.
Research Sprints are designed to take a step back and say "Let's figure out how difficult this stuff is going to be."
They're not about doing the tasks. They're about understanding how to figure out how to do the tasks.
At Gunner, all but the most rudimentary of projects begins with at least one research sprint that is designed to break the unknowns into concrete user stories, which are unfulfilled, but at least we know how to go about implementing them when the time comes.