Dissecting the Design Sprint Event


A design sprint’s ultimate goal is to improve a situation, whether that means improving an existing process or developing a new product. Not acting on the solutions a team suggests means a design event has not fulfilled its purpose. AF CyberWorx continues working beyond the sprint itself to help the results of a design sprint reach implementation.

The last step of the event is the outbrief where participants present their findings to the stakeholders. With team suggestions in mind, AF CyberWorx uses their own crack team to work with stakeholders to determine the next steps.

Greg Bennett, AF CyberWorx Relationship Manager, explains, “Every single sprint is going to be different. The outcomes are going to be different. The resources required on the back end are going to be different.” As such, AF CyberWorx customizes a roadmap to the end result according to the needs, limitations, and available resources of the problem owner. “We will continue to stay engaged as they want us to stay engaged,” Greg reassures. However, “We will not fight the fight for them.” Even with CyberWorx assistance, “Transition will not happen without [the champion’s] direct involvement and advocacy.”

Each champion and problem owner has different levels of capability and needs. As such, AF CyberWorx has different tools at their disposal to help. While some projects proceed best after transitioning to a different Air Force agency (which is an option), others are best served by going through a research and contracting process to get industry assistance. AF CyberWorx acts as a bridge between the problem owner and the contracting office to assist with that.

Once the problem owner and AF CyberWorx decide to pursue contracting options, Erica Wilson, Contracting Officer, and Casey Pehrson, Contracting Specialist, go to work. Erica explains that with AF CyberWorx acting as their technical point of contact, “we connect market research to figure out if anybody’s doing what they’re wanting done, who’s doing it, and what types of businesses are doing it. From there, we decide on a contracting vehicle.” The contracting office looks for the most streamlined avenue based on available information, resources, and the problem owner’s timeline. To best do that, as Casey says, “We just need to come together as a government team and find the best way forward.”

The problem owner can help that process most by clearly defining their wants and needs: what they need, what they’re trying to buy or do, and what their limitations are. Information from the design sprint really helps with this, but the more specific the project parameters, the better the contracting office can find the best paths forward.

“Transition [to the end result] requires continued involvement with the customer,” Greg stresses, “to formulate strategies…and advocate with leadership, program offices, and sustainment functions.” It takes a dedicated team to champion a solution and transition it from the idea stage to implementation. From the discovery call laying the groundwork through the problem solving process to drawing out a roadmap to implementation, AF CyberWorx helps guide the process by connecting the right people at the right time. While we don’t do the fighting, we coach problem owners as needed to refine and mitigate Air Force challenges.

*The postings on this blog reflect individual team member opinions and do not necessarily reflect official Air Force positions, strategies, or opinions.

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