10 benefits of Sprints

You have a business challenge that needs to be addressed quickly. From experience you know that it will take weeks- if not months- to mobilise the business into action. But instead of creating a massive programme and stretching out the work, you launch a proposition in days. You adopt a mission mindset, make decisions quickly and within ten days, you move from idea to prototype. From a prototype you find rapid ways to go live and experiment. You learn from real customers, with real data. This saves your business time and unnecessary cost. And it gives much needed confidence to invest before you scale. What’s more this new way of working starts to change the way you do ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU).

Welcome to the world of sprints, a concept that is gaining traction in both the UK and US since three partners from Google Ventures published, “Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days”.

We've been using the sprint technique with some of our clients over the last year and these approaches to business challenges have transformed the way we deliver projects and launch new propositions for our clients. For big businesses, sprints bring together the best of both worlds; the tools and ways of working that digital pioneers such Spotify and Google Ventures apply with the scale and deep domain expertise of big companies.


10 benefits of Sprints:

1. Reduced costs
Small teams working to tight deadlines minimises investment cost. They simplify decision making and are more likely to deliver real impact versus large big project teams that generate lots of process, governance and PowerPoint presentations.

2. Rapid growth
Organising sprints and small teams around growth opportunities as they present themselves allows businesses to quickly go after new opportunities.

3. Improved team morale
Removing hierarchy and empowering people to get things done creates a feeling that they can affect change in their company, despite how big it is.

4. High productivity
Time boxing responses to business challenges simplifies decision making and focuses the team on an outcome, not a process.

5. High energy levels
As team morale improves, adrenalin kicks in and everybody focuses on getting the job done within the timeframe.

6. Less risk
By creating a culture and environment that enables teams to experiment before- and as they scale- ensures that decision making is informed at all stages by real customer data, not hypothesis.

7. Competitive advantage
As business environments become faster and more uncertain, the ability to mobilise teams of talented people to start and deliver projects quickly is critical. This helps organisations become more resilient.

8. Better outcomes from diversity
The most successful sprint teams embrace diversity. Diversity of culture, experience and expertise. This helps them solve modern, complex challenges.

9. Seed cultural change through delivery
Sprint teams are empowered to define their own working practices and make their own decisions, stripping out layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and reporting that can slow progress down.

10. More agility
Being able to pivot quickly to the challenges of our rapidly changing world is vital. Sprints bring talented and diverse people together to solve problems. Once the challenge has been met, they disperse or kick off the next challenge.


Sprints focus on real business challenges- not blue sky thinking- which means that new opportunities and innovations are delivered quickly, refined, validated and tested before they are scaled. We've used sprints to transform ideas into breakthrough propositions at speed whilst unleashing entrepreneurial talent that exists in big companies.

We recently worked with Standard Life on 20-day mission-based sprints which explored ways to increase the retention of one of Standard Life’s customer segments.

Stephen Ingledew from Standard Life said, “We wanted to launch a disruptive solution quickly, but one that would have minimal impact on our core technology systems. By using the sprint method introduced to us and run by the team at Market Gravity, we are able to find one. A small empowered team, or squad as a sprint team is called, was brought together to respond to the challenge we’d set, with a constraint that was time boxed. The result of the experiment was the development of “The Butler”, a new smart chat interface which we were able to get in the hands of a small number of customers, in a real environment with real data before scaling it.”


Get in touch if you'd like to talk about how Sprints can work for you!


NEWS: Exploring AI innovations in finance

A workshop aimed at financial services organisations is taking place in London to help business leaders understand and explore opportunities within artificial intelligence.

The session, ‘AI in finance: exploring innovations in machine learning and automation for financial services’, will be held at Atlantic House, on Wednesday 9th November and will see 15 speakers deliver practical and educational presentations and facilitated discussions.

Expert speakers include Peter Sayburn, co-founder and CEO of proposition design consultancy, Market Gravity, who will deliver a facilitated discussion on robotics for manual process automation. He will lead debates on where the human touch is and isn’t needed, outlining potential cost-savings associated with robotics and how it can improve service quality, accuracy and scalability. He will also consider how it can become an alternative to standardising business processes and facilitate integration among disparate systems.

Peter is an entrepreneur, investor and author who has worked with some of the world’s foremost financial services businesses. He is passionate in the belief that if large companies are to live and grow in the digital age they must create a culture of innovation and embrace new technologies, such as AI, to stay ahead in the competitive marketplace.

Peter says: "Artificial intelligence represents a huge opportunity for the finance sector and it’s important for organisations to get involved and embrace the technology. It can improve the efficiency of their processes, meet consumer demand for speed, personalisation and convenience, and allows businesses to launch innovative new products and services to compete with new challengers and entrants to the financial services sector.

“This event brings together experts to share knowledge, experience and predictions on what’s coming up in the near future for AI and where the market is going. I’m delighted to be presenting alongside leading innovators from the financial services and tech sectors and look forward to some lively discussions.”

Marie Walker, director and co-founder of Event Creation Network, designed and organised the AI in Finance event. She says: “London is a hub of fintech innovation with hundreds of organisations developing exciting new products and services and AI is one of the technologies driving these innovations forward. Research from TABB Group Services highlighted that over two thirds of financial service firms believe AI will become hugely important in the coming years and around 34 per cent of businesses are carrying out proof concepts in the space. The event promises to be informative and compelling, giving attendees practical steps to explore regulatory compliance, customer service, financial forecasting and manual process automation.”

The workshop will feature an impressive line-up of additional speakers including Devika Thapar from IBM Watson, Hamish Leiper from Standard Life, Guillaume Vidal from Walnut Algorithms and Clara Durodie from Cognitive Finance.

The AI in Finance workshop takes place on Wednesday 9th November at Hogan Lovells, Atlantic House, London EC1A 2FG. For a list of sessions and workshops and to book your ticket, visit http://ai-finance.com.