Feature Sprint for Startups​

Quickly ideate and align on key features for your app so your team can start designing and developing with confidence

Created by Justin Mertes – Crema


When should this session be delivered?

Designed for early-stage start-ups, this 3-hour workshop agenda is a step by step process that will help a team align on company purpose, develop a long-term roadmap, and prioritize the feature set of your app or service. 

By aligning on the key features you’ll deliver for you MVP, this workshop can effectively supercharge the process of getting a startup to market and position your organization for success.

This process can help quickly clarify and solve many of the problems young start-ups have, for example:

  • Teams that have been “going in circles” when talking about next steps
  • Have a lot of ideas but don’t have a starting point
  • Lack clarity about the specific value proposition for marketing, web, and social content

As with many design sprint inspired methodologies, the Feature Sprint for Startups sprint can be especially effective if you have a significant challenge which has no obvious or easy to implement solution.

Bringing together your marketing and product teams alongside stakeholders from other parts of the organization for this workshop is a great way to not only understand your goals and customer personas but also articulate what is remarkable about your company or organization.

This workshop is effective in both live and remote formats. Using an online whiteboard makes the collation of materials and learnings easy and the individual work combined with group feedback can be extremely efficient in a virtual setting.    


Who can facilitate it?

While any facilitator can lead the Feature Sprint effectively using the instructions and notes in the template, being familiar with both design sprint methodology and what it takes to bring a product to the MVP stage will be helpful in ensuring the success of this workshop and the strength of the feature sets generated. 

Ideally, your whole team should be included in the process and often, a senior figure or someone with experience facilitating would be a good candidate to lead the workshop. 

Regardless of who facilitates, it’s vital to designate a decision-maker to break ties and ensure company purpose reflects existing mission or vision statements. 

Often, your decision-maker and/or facilitator will be among the founding members of your startup and someone who is best positioned to make those kinds of decisions.

Check out the template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

Justin Mertes is a coach and design sprint facilitator who comes alongside teams and individuals to help them explore the problem they are solving, what their goals are, and how to best achieve them. He has facilitated sprints and intensive workshops for startups, global cyber security companies, major retail chains, global nonprofits, and more, and several of his case studies are featured on Google Venture’s Sprint Stories. 
He has a BS in Digital Media Art and an MS in Business Leadership & Ethics, and he won a foxtrot contest in junior high at a cotillion ball.

Crema is a digital product agency creating web and mobile apps for disruptive companies and industry leaders. They make people’s lives better through design, technology, and culture, ultimately creating a world where individuals and companies thrive.