Solve Problems, Test Ideas, and Deliver Results

Ever felt like solving big problems takes forever? Enter the Sprint method, a five-day miracle cure for tackling tough challenges and testing new ideas. Inspired by Jake Knapp’s book “Sprint,” this process helps teams move from problem to prototype in record time. Here’s a light-hearted guide to this speedy problem-solving approach.

The Process of the Sprint

Mindmap (Map in the book)

First up, the Map phase. Grab a piece of paper or your favorite note-taking app and start drawing boxes and bubbles. These shapes will represent your inputs (bubbles) and desired outputs (boxes). Connect them together and, voila, you’ll see the process and any missing pieces. Don’t worry if it looks chaotic—this is just the beginning!

Blueprint (Sketch in the book)

Next, it’s time to Sketch. Take your mindmap and start pulling on those threads. What does each input affect? What are the dependencies and outputs? Draw out each process step-by-step. This will give you a clearer, more organized blueprint of your solution. And don’t be shy—get feedback from a trusted colleague or friend over coffee to refine your ideas.

Decision (Decide in the book)

With your blueprint in hand, it’s time to Decide. What’s the best way to follow this plan? Whether it’s using Excel, coding, or another tool, aim for simplicity. As Albert Einstein said, “Everything should be made simple, but not simpler.” Gather your inputs and dependencies, and you’re ready to move forward.

Build (Prototype in the book)

Now comes the fun part: building your Prototype. This is where your hard work starts to take shape. Whether it’s a market model, an automated financial sheet, or a training presentation, roll up your sleeves and get building. It’s all about turning your blueprint into a tangible, testable product.

Review (Test in the book)

Finally, it’s time to Test. Let others take a look at your creation. Encourage them to review it, play around with it, and even break it. Gather their feedback and use it to make improvements. It might be tough to hear criticism, but it’s essential for refining your work and making it the best it can be.

Benefits of Sprint

The Sprint method comes with a bunch of benefits:

  • Speed and Efficiency: Compress months of work into just five days. Get things done fast!
  • Focus and Clarity: Spend a week focused solely on the problem, leading to clearer insights and better solutions.
  • Collaboration: Bring together diverse perspectives and expertise, ensuring everyone’s on the same page.

Practical Applications

The Sprint process isn’t just for tech startups. It’s versatile and can be applied to a range of problems across different industries:

  • Product Design: Quickly iterate and improve new features and user interfaces.
  • Marketing: Test marketing strategies and campaigns before a full-scale launch.
  • Business Strategy: Explore new business models and streamline operations.
  • Non-profits: Develop effective programs and maximize impact.


And there you have it—the Sprint method in a nutshell. It’s a powerful framework for solving big problems and testing new ideas quickly. So, the next time you’re faced with a daunting challenge, give the Sprint a try. You might just be amazed at what you can achieve in five days. Now, take a breather, celebrate your progress, and get ready to do it all over again!

This is inspired by Jake Knapp’s Sprint book. I have used this method since 2016 as a problem-solving methodology.
You can get the PDF template that I use with note taking app on my tablet.
Not affiliated with Jake Knapp in any way. Not for commercial use, only for personal use.

JPS Nagi
June 2024 


Sitting with Myself: Uncovering Cultural Influences on Who I Am

I’ve embarked on a journey of self-reflection during the last few years. During these moments of introspection, I began to delve into the intricate ways I approach my tasks and responsibilities. This process uncovered profound insights, particularly regarding the cultural dynamics that shape our formative years, much like the food we grow accustomed to eating.

In competitive cultures, the narrative often starts early: to receive recognition, one must work twice as hard. Achieving an eight out of ten on a test is seldom celebrated; instead, the focus fixates on the two missed points. This relentless pursuit of perfection ties our self-worth to our achievements, overshadowing the importance of celebrating successes, especially those linked to our physical and mental health.

From a young age, many of us are conditioned to prioritize others above ourselves, even if it means giving from an empty cup. This ingrained mindset teaches us to suppress our feelings, to navigate our emotional landscapes alone, and to avoid seeking attention for fear of being labeled an attention seeker. Consequently, we learn to internalize our struggles, often at the expense of our well-being.

The nuances of these cultural dynamics run deep, profoundly influencing our mental and physical health. Addressing the mindset shifts required to maintain consistency in self-care is crucial. It’s not about rebelling against these ingrained patterns; rather, it’s about acknowledging the multitude of ways they shape our lives and finding balance.

What we need is education centered around fostering a positive mindset and promoting physical and mental well-being. By embracing and teaching these principles, we can begin to untangle the complex web of cultural expectations and create a healthier, more balanced approach to life. This journey is about learning to celebrate our achievements, understanding our worth beyond external validation, and prioritizing our health without guilt or hesitation.

JPS Nagi
May 21, 2024

Leadership Lessons from Dungeons & Dragons

During my upbringing in India, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) or role-playing games were unfamiliar to me. However, over the past five years, I have had the pleasure of immersing myself in this captivating game. In this blog, I am sharing some valuable leadership insights gleaned from my experiences with D&D.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game that has captivated the hearts and minds of players for decades. While it’s known for its storytelling and epic battles, D&D also offers valuable insights into leadership. Surprisingly, the lessons learned in the imaginary realms of dungeons and dragons can be applied to real-world leadership situations. Let’s explore some of these leadership lessons from the world of D&D.

  • Collaboration and Teamwork:
    D&D is a team-based game where players form parties to achieve common goals. Leadership in D&D often means bringing together a diverse group of characters with unique abilities and personalities. Similarly, in the real world, effective leaders know how to foster collaboration and teamwork among their team members, recognizing that diverse strengths and perspectives can lead to success.
  • Adaptability:
    In D&D, dungeon masters create dynamic and ever-changing scenarios, forcing players to adapt and make quick decisions. Leaders must also be adaptable, especially in today’s fast-paced world, where unexpected challenges are common. Being able to pivot, adjust strategies, and make informed decisions on the fly is a valuable trait.
  • Decision-Making:
    D&D players face numerous decisions throughout their quests, some of which can have far-reaching consequences. Leaders are often tasked with making critical decisions that impact their teams and organizations. D&D teaches the importance of considering various options, gathering information, and making well-informed choices.
  • Communication:
    Effective communication is vital in D&D. Players need to convey their intentions, share information, and work together seamlessly. Leaders must also be skilled communicators, conveying their vision, goals, and expectations clearly to their teams. Moreover, active listening and fostering an open dialogue are essential leadership traits.
  • Problem Solving:
    D&D adventures are rife with puzzles, challenges, and obstacles. Players must think creatively and use their resources to overcome these hurdles. Leaders often encounter complex problems in the workplace. Learning from D&D, they can encourage innovative thinking, resourcefulness, and a willingness to tackle challenges head-on.
  • Empowerment:
    D&D empowers players to take ownership of their characters and decisions. Likewise, successful leaders empower their teams, granting them autonomy and trust to make decisions within their areas of responsibility. Empowered team members tend to be more motivated and engaged.
  • Resilience:
    In D&D, characters face setbacks, injuries, and defeats, yet they press on. Leaders, too, must display resilience in the face of adversity. It’s essential to bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and maintain a positive outlook.
  • Vision and Strategy:
    Dungeon masters in D&D create grand narratives and worlds for players to explore. Leaders also need a clear vision and strategy to guide their teams and organizations. A compelling vision can inspire and align team members toward a common purpose.

Dungeons & Dragons is not just a game; it’s a source of valuable leadership lessons. From teamwork and adaptability to decision-making and resilience, the principles learned in the world of D&D can be applied to leadership in any setting. Aspiring leaders and seasoned professionals alike can draw inspiration from the adventures of their favorite characters, both in fantasy realms and the real world. So, roll the dice and embark on your own leadership quest!

JPS Nagi
November 30, 2023

Everything in life is an RC Curve!

My mentor from my last job, David Lee Rutledge, held two significant positions as a head of R&D and later the CTO. Although I never had the opportunity to work directly under him, we collaborated for 15 years. One of the best lessons I learned from him is “Everything in life is an RC curve”.

For an ELT presentation, I realized that I needed to make some last-minute changes, but when I found out that he had already sent a copy of the presentation to the ELT members, I started stressing out. Observing my worry, he drew an RC circuit and curve on the whiteboard and asked me if I had ever seen one before. I nodded and he said, “JP, everything in life is an RC curve.”
“When you are charging, you charge at a much fast rate. It’s like efforts on x-axis vs. returns on y-axis. As you get closer to the getting fully charged, a lot more effort is required to get a good return. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile to get the last ounce of returns, and it’s essential to know whether the return is worth the effort.”
He continued, “So relax, you made a great presentation. The additional changes you’re worried about are just noise. Focus on the signal.”

That was one of my great moments with David. Since then, I always plan and think before jumping in to ensure that I put in the right amount of effort to get the right returns. I’m still learning and seeking advice from others when needed.

So, remember the RC curve, know when to stop, and when to keep going. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask. After all, “Everything in life is an RC curve.”

JPS Nagi
April 18, 2023