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One Jump at a Time

Method: Critiquing | Deliverable: Jump

A Jump is a simple and robust feedback loop that drives design forward in a plan. Think of it as the building block of iterative design. They bring uniformity and consistency to the feedback collection process across cross functional teams, stakeholders, customers and a target audience.

Guide Objective 

The guide objective of this section is to bring all the design methods and actions together in a Jump. 

Goals of a Jump 

There are four actions in one Jump: Create, Show, React and Shape. 

In each action, there are specific tasks that push the Jump forward. The goal of this section is to summarize the important ideas in a Jump. 

  • Create: Design is a craft and encompasses a lot of doing, less saying. In order to realize the  potential of this creative output, we must consider how these creations will influence our audience. The foundation of design is based on a high-level execution of deliverables using solid design methods. This could be needfinding, wireframing, prototyping, coding,  etc. In each Jump, a design deliverable pushes the feedback process forward.  
  • Show: We might just throw work into a slide deck, and linearly work through ideas in a traditional business presentation. In design, however, we need ways to carry conversations  toward possibilities in divergent ways. Linear presentations are often too stiff to elicit the type of feedback that is necessary to create something truly amazing.  
  • React: The collection of feedback can be exciting or belaboring. But it needs to happen  and designers are in a position to drive this across the design process. Soliciting and giving feedback happens across your team, customers, users and your target audience. The right type of feedback happens with the right presentation.  
  • Shape: Synthesizing ideas drives design work forward. Overlook feedback and the entire loop falls apart. When all parties are happy with the  result of the design work (or some other constraint limits time), it’s then possible to move  on to another phase or method. The goal of the Shape action is to surface Design Insights  from the design work.


A Jump is the building block of Progressive Design. It brings uniformity and consistency to the feedback collection process across cross-functional teams, stakeholders,  customers and a target audience.  

This illustrations show how the four actions work in concert with one another.

A Jump method diagram.

A jump emphasizes doing and making a lot of small decisions that together move projects forward. People-centered design requires active participation, collaboration and iteration. All within a predefined Flight Plan.

A design leader might facilitate 20-30 Jumps with the entire project team over 10 weeks. 

A Jump typically happens over a 2-3 day period. But can extend up to 5 days depending on the  complexity of the design work within that Jump. Small deviations in Jump length will occur over a Flight Plan due to the complexity of the work or the availability of team input.

In addition, some design methods and deliverables might require multiple, iterative Jumps to provide more clarity in  the design work.

In each of the four actions, there are 3 parts to insure successful delivery:

The four actions of a jump.

The interplay of a Jump with an overall Flight plan helps us create the right trajectory. However, it takes many Jumps to make a solid design plan.

The interplay of a Jump.


As a project progresses, it is important to make sure each Jump is focused and embraces the key  ideas in Progressive Design. 

Designer led 

  • Design projects are not limited strictly to designers, but they must be led by someone who  embodies the qualities of a leader who uses the principles of Progressive Design to lead. 
  • Great products don’t require project managers or program managers — they require owning  the project. 
  • Companies have project managers, account managers, and specialized front-end people  to provide services with segmented, specialized skills sets. Our approach is more nimble  — we remove project managers, invest the team into the work and focus on smaller  deliverables to create momentum. 
  • Encourage team members to take responsibility and manage themselves. Letting go and trusting employees plays an important role in building products. When you  are surrounded by talented, passionate people, it’s a shame to hold them back and keep  them under the heels of a manage

Small teams 

  • A Jeff Bezos concept: If your team can’t be fed on two pizzas, then cut people from a  project. 

24 hour feedback loops 

  • Collect feedback and aggregate the ideas. 
  • Prioritize feedback based on user needs, business goals and technical feasibility.  
  • Don’t get stuck. One day of feedback won’t set the project in the wrong direction.
  • Use your intuition and blend the team feedback accordingly.  
  • Focus on the end goal and don’t allow yourself to get caught up in minutiae. Focusing on the goal helps push through anxieties and create amazing work. 
  • Instead of waiting for every decision to be thought out and validated over the course of weeks, months, years — it takes mere hours to come to decisions that help us move  through a design process.  
  • Learning how to make problems smaller helps teams move through problems and  feedback much quicker — thus creating momentum. 

Five-day forecasts 

  • Don’t stress about the end of the project or tomorrow’s deliverables, adjust as necessary. 
  • It’s about momentum! Prioritize momentum. Momentum wins projects! 
  • Plan ahead, days move fast. Anticipate when your team will get stuck. 
  • Complete homework keeps momentum. 
  • After a decade of working on projects with highly motivated founders and product teams that want to get stuff done, we’ve come to a simple conclusion: schedules can be the death  of team morale and great products, unless you balance them by staying nimble and  opportunistic. Great things happen when a highly motivated team gets to play a little to discover new ways to do things better. 
  • Set expectations on a rolling five days. It removes stakeholder uncertainty without locking  in early decisions. It leaves the flexibility to turn on a dime — dodging problems and seizing  opportunities the team discovers along the way. 
  • A rolling five day outlook keeps stakeholders focused on immediate results without  freaking them out. Small decisions tied to long schedules are easy to project across the  entire project. You need to leave room for little failures without fearing the entire project is going in the wrong direction. People get too concerned about tomorrow and the end.

Jump Jump 

Using these tools will allow you to jump without fear because you won’t be doing so into the unknown. Soon you’ll be like Kris Kross. 

Next Up: Flight Plans