Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
Scenario Maps are a simple way we collect, organize, and share user scenarios for a given problem space or technology. They serve as a fast and scannable index of the problems that users face. They are one of the most effective ways to see the forest from the trees. Rather than get lost in a single scenario, they are a step back and a look across all the key scenarios. This helps for ranking and prioritizing the problems for a given space. They are also a powerful way to perform competitive assessments, shape a product, and to drive prescriptive guidance (I’ve used Scenario Maps to create platform Blue Books for patterns & practices.)
Here is a roundup of my most recent Scenario Maps related to building block technologies for building applications for Cloud, Web, and Phone, and for building Web services:
Why Scenario Maps The better the map of the problem space we have, the better we can shape our platform and technologies, improve our tooling, and create more effective prescriptive guidance. The key to an effective map of the problem space is creating a simple lens for the problem space, and getting customers to share their key scenarios. When customers share their scenarios in a Scenarios Map, it helps make sure their problems are heard in a simple and effective way. The better their problems are heard and understood, the easier they are to address.
What is a Scenarios Map A Scenarios Map is simply a collection of user scenarios organized using categories. The categories with the most pain or opportunity serve as “Hot Spots.” You can think of this map as a “Heat Map” of user scenarios where “Hot Spots” bubble up. This helps see show the forest from the trees and to prioritize investments.
5 Keys to Effective Scenario Maps The most effective way I’ve found to collect customer scenarios is to create “Scenario Maps.” The Scenario Map ends up being a highly scannable index of one-liner scenarios. The scenarios serve as test cases that we can measure the platform, tooling, and prescriptive guidance against. An effective Scenario Map has five key attributes: