MzN Sprints

What is an MzN Sprint?

Our Sprints are geared towards professionals who aim to solve a particularly prevalent issue or address an opportunity within their NGO or business with the help of an intensive 2-to-4-day workshop. 

What is it good for?

An MzN Sprint boosts your knowledge about where you want to go, how you might get there and what you will need for the journey. Most importantly, it boosts motivation. It’s a great way to get a team together under a shared vision and pathway to success.

Who should take part?

An MzN Sprint boosts your knowledge about where you want to go, how you might get there and what you will need for the journey. Most importantly, it boosts motivation. It’s a great way to get a team together under a shared vision and pathway to success. 

 

Experience tells us that the ideal sprint team consists of 7 to 10 individuals, where each one has a specific contribution* to the final results.

  • The programme expert: someone who knows the customer or beneficiary, usually a programme leader, who has significant daily exposure to the people we work for.
  • The business expert: someone who understands the organisation, usually makes decisions at C-Suite level.
  • The money manager: someone who understands the financial situation and performance of the organisation, and its key programs or profit centres.
  • The people manager: someone who understands the team and culture, what skills they have, what drives them and what they want to do.
  • The newbie: someone who has not been in the organisation very long, has little or no experience in the sector and is happy to insert some fresh thinking.
    *one person can have multiple roles

“MzN Sprints attempt to make the (seemingly) impossible possible.” – Chris Meyer zu Natrup

How does it work?

Once the Sprint team has been assembled, we will contact you for a 1-hour briefing in which you describe the challenge your organisation or company is facing or an opportunity you would like to address.

A couple of weeks before the Sprint, we will conduct a 2-hour online workshop to get an even clearer understanding of the challenge or opportunity using the MzN-Solution Map, a MzN model combining the Theory of Change approach with a Startup-Canvas.

This initial workshop is also a good way to align the team and get everyone up to speed. By the end, we sum up the challenge or opportunity in a single sentence.

Then the Sprint begins! On day 1 of the Sprint workshop, we develop our strategy with the end in mind, set milestones and explore the route to success with “how” questions.

On day 2, we narrow our focus, use our imaginations to list everything we need for the journey, and share our findings with stakeholders, investors, partners and friends, observe their reactions and adjust our plan accordingly.

If necessary, the workshop can be extended by a few days.

Can you give me an example of a successful Sprint?

International NGO, regional office Sprint

The goal: becoming a commercial contract implementer

Over the course of three days, the team developed a roadmap outlining what needed to happen to achieve their goal of becoming a successful commercial contract implementer by 2022. The team could previously not agree on a SMART set of goals. In the Sprint format, driven by a tight deadline, this was set within 45 minutes on Day One.

In order to get there, the group developed three work-streams and set six milestones. Each of these milestones was broken down into individual tasks (all SMART) that were listed and tracked on our Project Management Tool (to which all participants continue to have access).

The organisation now pursues each target simultaneously and has already secured the first two targets, one of which was their first commercial contract.

Automotive and industrial production supplier (EU and US)

The goal: creating a net-positive company

The company has decided in principle to become more sustainable and make all their products circular. Beyond the significant competitive edge that this would mean, Management was keen to not just eliminate its environmental harm but to become a net-positive company for the sake of society, suppliers and staff.  

The problem was the lack of time and dedicated point person for investing in a challenge of this magnitude. Achieving it seemed overwhelming, expensive and, at times, elusive. 

A 4-day Sprint meeting was called with a deadline to deliver a project plan that would attain this goal within a pre-set financial budget, which was prepared beforehand. The plan was to be presented to the Board’s sub-committee at 10 am on Friday, the fifth day of the Sprint, and either accepted or declined in whole.  

Over the course of the four days, 16 staff members including engineering, procurement, human resources and sales worked together, at times in parallel, at a location outside the main office without access to phones, distracting messages or interfering colleagues. A plan with over 400 action points spanning the entire supply chain, production and operations, and sales operations was presented at exactly 10:07 am on Friday. By 12:45 pm, just in time for lunch, the plan was accepted in its entirety, and kicked off on Monday, at 9 am.  

What other kinds of challenges can our Sprints help address? 

  • how to curate income streams
  • how to create a net-positive business
  • how to restructure your organisation 
  • risk management at a global scale
  • other topics related to funding, organisational change and sustainability

MzN Sprints

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