Dogma is comforting, and in this business it goes by many names.

So says Erika Hall of Mule Design in her recent Medium piece: Design Sprints Are Snake Oil.

What promised to be a vicious takedown of the institution of agile methods like design thinking, was really a takedown of the idea of design sprints as the One True God.

Agile processes can be useful. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have taken hold in business to the extent that they have.

The problem is that not all problems can be solved by the same silver-bullet process:

… many methods start out as legitimate tools to promote better, clearer thinking faster and end up as activities substituted for thinking.

Yes, sprints can be useful. As can Design Thinking and agile processes and all of the rest.

We teach them at the Brandcenter because they are useful and students need to have an understanding of how it all works.

But they are only one arrow in the quiver.

Let’s use them that way.

The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This article from HBR gets a little life-hacky for my comfort, but I thought this bit was smart:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.