How can you possibly design your service effectively without these?


I'm working with a large, household-name technology company right now on a large project, and they struggle with one of the same things so many of my clients struggle with. Today's topic is articulating use cases and goals in an effective manner that allows your design and development to proceed with clarity and accountability.

If your service's strategy, use cases, and goals are not dictated clearly (or at all) and you're doing "feature-driven" development, you have a lot less chance of succeeding, and a lot greater chance of building stuff that has low utility to your customers. You also take on the code and design debt that comes with building junk that has to be refactored (or worse, a small handful of noisy customers likes what you did, and now you have to justify pulling the plug on their value so you can focus on the majority of customers who will sustain your service.)

Your goal as a product owner/manager in the data/analytics space is not to "display the data we're collecting." The job is to figure out how the data can be turned into a user experience that provides customers with value (as perceived by them). A big red flag for me on a consulting engagement is when the stakeholders I'm talking to cannot articulate the top 5-10 goals and use cases the service is supposed to facilitate. I call these the benchmark use cases, and if you can't state yours, and you're the business stakeholder, how can your team possibly be successful?

How can you know if your service's design is right?

How can you even measure the design / service for effectiveness when you don't know what a pass/fail UX looks like?

You can't. 

If your team doesn't know where the goalpost is, or the difference between good and bad UX, you're not likely to succeed. Your product/business/UX team need to be able to clearly state these benchmark use cases if you want to have a design that is obtainable, useful, usable, and measurable. If you skip this and just start making stuff, you'll just pay for the mistakes on the backend in the form of rewriting code, dealing with customer complaints, or in many cases: SILENCE. It costs more, takes more time, and is more frustrating for everyone.

Spend the time to make sure the top of your product development process begins with clear benchmark use cases and your engineers and designers will have a much better chance of delighting your customers.

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