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Discovery Sprint Training

What is a discovery sprint?

Discovery sprints are a useful method to quickly build a common understanding of the status of a complex organization, system, or service. They create paths toward solutions by identifying specific, actionable next steps for the people at the organization who will carry that work forward.


When we say “quickly” we mean that almost all of the work is completed in 2-4 weeks. Often a small cross-functional team of engineers, designers, product managers, procurement and subject matter experts will partner with an organization’s personnel to quickly explore an issue or challenge. While it can be enormously helpful to have an outside perspective on an existing ecosystem, it is also a tool that can be used internally by a team.

Workshops for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

In 2022 the Office of Information Technology built an in-house user experience curriculum as part of the workforce resilience effort at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This series of classes taught human centered design and product delivery to multiple cohorts throughout 2022 & 2023.


CMS was interested in their staff understanding and developing in-house discovery skills. Based on our previous work running and writing about Discovery Sprints, we were invited to develop and facilitate a series of 2 hour workshops to expand their course work.

How CMS Presented this learning module

“The Discovery Sprint Workshop is a 2 hour learning experience led by a United States Digital Service Alumni and the authors of the Discovery Sprint Guide. The workshop is designed to provide learners with practical knowledge and experience for using discovery sprints in their work. By the end of this workshop, learners will:

  • Understand what discovery sprints are, when to do them, who’s involved, and how to conduct them
  • Use the discovery sprint process in their day-to-day work to better define problems and understand their customers/users
  • Prepare for and conduct discovery sprints in their own teams”


“I thought the discussions were very effective and put into perspective how HCD can be applied at CMS”

- Workshop participant, November 2022
“Content phenomenal; Helped me put a framework around this essential discovery step I've been trying to implement; It's a step that gets missed far too often at CMS”

- Workshop participant, June 2022

We developed and customized these workshops as a companion to the Discovery Sprint Guide which was compiled and co-authored in 2020 by our co-founder Kat Jurick and design strategist Jenn Noinaj. The guide was based on documentation and methods used at the United States Digital Service as well as learnings gleaned from running blameless retrospectives at the conclusion of many Discovery Sprints. You can read more about the development of the Discovery Sprint Guide here.