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The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Collaborative research in academic medicine is often inefficient and ineffective. It often fails to leverage the expertise of interdisciplinary team members, does not seek or incorporate team input at opportune times, and creates workload inequities. Adapting approaches developed in venture capital, we created the ‘sprint model’ for writing academic papers based on the analysis of secondary data. The ‘sprint model’ minimizes common barriers that undermine collaboration in academic medicine. This model for team science collaboration begins with team members convening for a highly focused, guided session. In this session, a facilitator moves the group through a structured process to create the study plan. This includes refining the research questions, developing the study design, and prototyping the presentation of results. After adopting this model, our team has drastically reduced time from idea inception to final product submission through increased efficiencies and reduced redundancies. From December 2016 to April 2018, our team has initiated 15 paper sprints. The median time from sprint to submission for paper sprints has been 1.7 months (minimum: 0.5; maximum: 9). Although our current ‘sprint’ approach has already demonstrated a substantial improvement in our ability to rapidly produce high-quality research, we believe the ‘pre-sprint’ preparation and ‘post-sprint’ processes can be further refined. Finally, we discuss the limitations of this model and our efforts to adapt the process to meet the evolving needs of research teams.