How Rootstrap Taught The Google Opus Team Design Sprints


Google Opus

Google Opus wanted to transform both business processes and software systems with a new product suite called Opus that would make work more efficient and agile.


Objective 01:
Find innovative ways of transforming both processes and tooling, to allow operations teams to meet team work order goals.
Objective 02:
Create a product suite that boosts overall happiness and operation teams’ productivity

Rootstrap was brought on by the team to support a design sprint for the new product suite. In early 2018, certain Google datacenter teams determined that switching to a queue-based execution model would improve the work efficiency and throughput rates of build project work.


They were also using software tools to gather relevant information for the same project, which showed that software systems were another area for potential growth. The Google Opus team wanted to create a new product suite that would:

  1. Maximize work throughput
  2. Accelerate onboarding of new products into data centers
  3. Guide all operations teams towards the most important work on the floor
  4. Orchestrate work between teams
  5. Maximize utilization of people
  6. Minimize the number of task-specific tools


With so many moving parts, the team decided this was the perfect candidate for a design sprint. That’s when they reached out to Rootstrap.

The Process:
The Process -- phase 01:
Phase 1:
  • Rootstrap team members worked with Google Opus to define their goals and consider possible deliverables.
  • The goal was to rapidly generate actionable ideas that could be completed in a more leisurely timeframe afterwards
  • The team dove into lightning talks to better understand the product goals, the design evolution of the existing software tools, current user journeys, pain points, and technological opportunities.
The Process -- phase 02:
Phase 2:
  • From there, they further narrowed the main target area for the sprint and moved into sketching.
  • They selected the main personas for this project and mapped the user journeys from start to finish. 
  • The group discussed each sketch and highlighted the best features, ultimately voting on the best solution to prototype.
The Process -- phase 03:
Phase 3:
  • The team broke into two groups, one to create a final storyboard of the winning solution sketch, and another to discuss the technical feasibility of the winning solution and solutions to any of the technical challenges they identified.
  • They had presentations both internally and with members of the Google team who had no knowledge of the project. 
  • The sprint ended with a short talk on next steps for the Opus team.
The Results

During the final discussion of the sprint, Opus needed to test the new solutions they had developed to gather feedback from their core users and understand how to truly improve their daily workflow.

Through the initial brainstorming, it became clear that internal communications and processes within the Google Opus team needed to be codified. Solutions included the introduction of collaboration tools, documentation, and a set engagement model.

At the end of the Sprint, the Opus team felt they had a clear vision and action steps for the coming year in just two days. 

The team began user testing and iterating on their solution from the Sprint. They also used the defined foundation to expand into the greater requirements of the full Opus product suite.

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