Let Customers Co-Design Your Customer-Critical Initiatives

How and When to Use Customer Scenario® Mapping

May 26, 2005

What’s the best way to gather customer requirements? Invite customers to co-design their ideal processes with your cross-functional team. Design your requirements to meet your customers’ future requirements. Learn why and when to apply Customer Scenario® Mapping to your own company’s initiatives and projects. Shave months off your projects while making your organization more customer adaptive. Gain benefits from immediate quick hits.


Customer-centric organizations involve customers directly in co-designing virtually every aspect of their business. They don’t simply infer customer requirements from customer feedback, surveys, and focus groups. They go to great lengths to get customers’ active participation in redesigning their internal systems and processes to be more customer adaptive.

Customer co-design and customer-led innovation are two “secrets” of many of today’s most successful companies. Best practitioners focus first and foremost on understanding and transforming their customers’ business processes. They derive the prioritized requirements for their own internal initiatives and projects by first redesigning their customers’ most critical processes. Then they redesign and adapt their own internal systems, processes, and metrics to support customers’ optimized processes.

If you’re about to embark on any new customerimpacting initiative, you should seriously consider the benefits of kicking that project off with customer co-design using Customer Scenario® Mapping. It’s a mature methodology developed specifically to support customer codesign and customer-led innovation.


Problem: Focusing on Internal, Not Customer, Requirements

Virtually every business project begins with requirements-gathering. Whether the project involves the redesign of one or more business processes, the launch of a new product, the integration of an acquired business, the design and implementation of a new IT application, the planning of a major marketing campaign, or the specification of key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business, many companies use similar approaches.

The project planning team gathers business requirements from the top of the organization down. They scan the external environment for important trends and shifts. They analyze competitors’ strategies and activities. They review marketing data. They analyze customer feedback and input. They try to understand and to anticipate customer behavior. They often benchmark against competitors and organizations in other industries. They formulate a plan with a set of options. They run the numbers. They perform a risk analysis. They build consensus and buy-in. Once they’ve “sold” the project, either the same team or a different team goes into implementation and execution modes. Then they rely on continuous improvement to refine and improve over time.

What’s wrong with this typical holistic requirements-gathering approach? Why does it fall short for organizations that are committed to being customer friendly and customer focused?

The traditional business requirements-gathering process doesn’t actually mitigate customer experience risk, nor does it necessarily deliver prioritized requirements that address the most customer-critical issues. The traditional requirements-gathering process consumes valuable time and other resources. Yet, over and over again, carefully planned projects miss the mark with customers, partially or entirely...



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