What I learned during the Sprint

[At the time of writing] It has been almost a week since the last day of the Digital Wellbeing Sprint (DWS). The Sprint seems almost like a far away memory, but still I can´t really wrap my head around it and understand what really happened.  This blogpost will serve as a reflection on my learnings and hopefully inspire you dear reader to perhaps participate in a DWS yourself.

The sprint was very intense. It would have been very difficult to attend this sprint if I had had a fulltime job. I started my Master’s studies in August 2020, so this course took place at the end of my first year. I’m sure this has been the best course I have attended this far. I learned so much! It really combined the wellbeing aspect, service design, the digital world and remote working tools and methods.

My role was to be a tutor. I didn’t have much previous experience as a facilitator. I would have been so lost without a course I took which just ended a week before the Sprint started. The course was all about enhancing your coaching and facilitation skills. I got to rehearse my learnings in real life, and it was perfect! (By the way, I warmly recommend attending that course as well).

So, here is a few things I can say I learned. I learned that groupwork can be challenging but rewarding. The teams excellence is so much more than only one individuals talent. Our tutor team for example had much talent from different fields and we were able to divide tasks accordingly. But there was still always room for practicing and learning new things. The whole team was also committed to the process and always ready to support each other and we had the best project manager ever! She really knew what she was doing, at least it felt that way. She kept the atmosphere positive the whole time, she didn’t tell us what to do, she just asked very good questions that guided us to the right direction. The best part was, that she had also attended as a tutor at the previous year’s Sprint, so she remembered the stress of her own and was able to reassure us, that everything will work out just fine. It was great to see how she facilitated us tutors and by doing that she also gave us a very good example on how to work with our own teams during the sprint.

The planning for the Sprint started already many months before the Sprint took place. To plan the sprint is a totally different thing than running the sprint. But of course, planning is necessary, but it is impossible to plan every detail in advance. I´m sure I would know better on the second round. One of the best phrases: “Trust the process” was almost a joke already, but it is so true!! All kinds of emotions run through your head during the Sprint process, and it is totally normal. I must confess, that there were a few times during the sprint that I almost questioned that trust. But I kept telling myself: trust the process.

I felt that one of the hardest things for me was to stay as an outsider when my team was talking about the challenge assigned to them. I would have liked to take apart in the conversation and add my own eyesight, but it wasn’t my role to guide them in any specific direction or affect in their decision making in any way. I needed to stay neutral, do my part and cheer the team and keep the ball rolling. It was so amazing to see the team working and solving the “puzzle” and really see how the methods worked in real life. There are many methods that I can see using in the future to enhance and speed up decision making and making sure that everyone’s opinion is heard. I truly am amazed about the outcome of this course. Every team really made amazing prototypes and brought value with their work to the partner organizations. Win, win, win in every aspect. Great concept!

I hadn’t had any previous experience in service design either. I was actually thinking of taking a course at it..but you know what? I don’t think I need to do that anymore. I have lived it, done it, so there is no need to “go back” and learn the theory anymore. I learn best by doing and I’m pretty sure it works best for most people.

So..If you want to feel alive (feel the stress and achievement), you NEED to attend a Sprint!

Sincerely, Tanja