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I’ve written before about how important use cases are when selecting technology. The basic idea behind them is that choices about technology should be driven by the desired user behavior and outcomes. What should a user be able to do when using the technology and why? Only once the desired behavior and outcomes are clearly established should you move to considering the technical features and functionalities that might support them.

Last week, a colleague shared with me a learning management system RFP he had received from a large association. It was the type of thing I have seen many times before – a very long list of features and functionalities with almost no clear connection between the list and actual user experience. I was heartened, therefore, when I received the following from Amanda Beckner, training director for a 5000 member trade association:

As you advised, my team and I spent several weeks documenting and categorizing our use cases.  The results were so robust, we did not need an RFP.  Armed with the use cases, we met with several CMS/LCMS/LMS vendors that met with our prequalification.   These vendors were invited to demonstrate their product against our use cases.  Long story short, we selected ________________.   We are in the midst of configuration workshops and integration.

That’s right: no RFP. And I haven’t the slightest doubt that Amanda got much better internal alignment by going through this process and was able to make a much higher quality choice in the end. And Amanda’s needs were very complex – most organizations will not need to spend several weeks going through this process.

Now, you may still feel more comfortable sticking with a RFP process, but whether or not you go that route, take the time to think in detail about the user behavior and outcomes you are trying to achieve, write these down, and use them as a primary driver for your technology selection process.

Jeff

P.S. – If selecting a learning management system is on your list for this year, be sure to attend our free Webinar “Essentials of LMS Selection: Getting It Right the First Time” on March 17.

2 thoughts on “What’s the use?”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Value of Use Cases for Technology Selection -- Topsy.com

  2. Very insightful – and I agree with the use of Use Cases in this process. I have been through many selection processes (mostly ERP with large companies) and few utilize Use Cases outside new application development.

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