Tech Selection Series: Testable Scenarios

  • 1-Oct-2019

Welcome to the latest segment of RSG's "Real Story Vendor Procurement" (RSVP) best practices series.

The next step in a more agile selection process is to develop testable, narrative scenarios. Since these use cases are foundational to the process, you'll want to spend a goodly amount of time and resources here.

What is a Scenario?

A scenario is a narrative description that represents the actions that are required to support a business objective within any system Sometimes scenarios are referred to as journeys, use cases, user journeys, or visitor journeys. Worry less about the nomenclature and instead ask: what are the top tasks that key individuals are trying to accomplish? But since you want this to a human-centered endeavor, consider your answer based on the user journey rather than a checklist of those tasks.

Testable Scenarios

Building Personas

Start the process by creating a description of the individuals required to navigate your system. Next identify what is required for them to accomplish goals and complete tasks. One persona might be Jim, the Graphic Designer, and maybe Jim works from home using a Mac. Another persona might be Mary, the Email Marketer, who has particular assignments she needs to complete. And of course, never forget Consuela the Customer!

Scenarios for RFP, Demos, and Bake-off

Subscribers frequently ask me: how many scenarios should we have? It's not uncommon to have as many as five or six because you may have multiple personas, who each have journeys and tasks to accomplish. Start with high level scenarios for your RFP and then select some of the more important ones and make them more detailed and rich for the vendor demos. Take the scenarios from the vendor demos and dive even deeper in richness and detail for the bake-off phase.

The key thing is that your scenarios should be testable. Selection team members should be able to recognize (and at times impersonate) these key personas as the central activity within your vendor due diligence.

Next Steps

In RSG's evaluation research we dig into which vendors address certain standard scenarios better than others. While not always by vendor design, some products will fit better — or worse — for different use cases. No single product will fit every scenario; in fact, most tools excel at only one or two primary use cases. If you work for a large, or global, or complex enterprise, RSG's vendor evaluations are designed to address the specialized strategic considerations you face.

See for yourself by perusing a complimentary sample.

The next part of the RSVP selection series covers how to Conduct Market Analysis. Stay tuned...

Other Posts in the RSVP Selection Series

Establish Business Foundations

Identify Needs and Opportunities:

  • Testable Scenarios (you are here)

Conduct Market Analysis:

  • Researching the Marketplace (coming next week)
  • Creating a Target List (coming later)

Communicate with Suppliers:

  • Developing your RFP (coming later)
  • Issuing an RFP Tender (coming later)
  • Bidder Questions (coming later)
  • Evaluating Vendor Proposals (coming later)

Try Before You Buy:

  • Conducting Demos (coming later)
  • Filter to Final Lists (coming later)
  • Run of Competitive Proof of Concepts (coming later)

Make the Right Choice

  • Pilot Solution (coming later)
  • Negotiating Pricing and Contracts (coming later)

What's Next

  • Implementation (coming later) 
Our customers say...

"I expected the quality and RSG absolutely delivered. What I did not expect are the laugh-out-loud moments of your humor shining through. Your report is a masterpiece of technical writing liberally laced with truth and a dash or two of snark. The vendor evaluations are FUN to read. I can't remember the last time I had fun reading technical information. Thank you for this awesome experience."

Leona Coffee, Director, Central Web Office National Academy of Sciences

Other Marketing Automation & Campaign Execution posts

MD