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If you want the best fit and the most benefit from a CRM system, we highly recommend creating use cases specific to your organization.

What is a use case? And why is it so important?

You’re going to need a functional requirements list, and you’re going to need use cases. Functional requirements deal with what you need the system to be capable of; use cases deal with exactly how your CRM users will best interact with your selected CRM. Generally, the CRM functional requirements list comes first, then the use cases.   We do find that documenting use cases will bring to focus the key capabilities your better future CRM system will need.

To learn, read "Why you need a CRM Functional Requirements List and How to Create One".

What is a Use Case?

Use cases capture WHO (actor) does WHAT (interaction) with the CRM system for what PURPOSE (goal) without dealing with the system internals.  A complete set of use cases specifies all the different ways the CRM system will be used and therefore defines all the behavior required of the system.  Use cases are written in plain language narrative. The more you can avoid jargon, the better it will work.

Keep in mind that the actor in the use case may or may not be a person. Often, the actor is simply another computer system, such as email or accounting. Human or nonhuman, the actors are not part of the system but are outside it. They are the ones interacting with the CRM system. The use case describes that interaction - what the actor does and how the system reacts. Be careful to make sure the use case describes only how the system reacts. 

While writing use cases, don't worry about the implementation of the system or the exact interface it will have.  This may vary greatly and need to be customized. All in good time. A CRM application like Creatio will be described by many use cases and each might require adaptation to your needs. The exact number will, of course, depend on the size and complexity of the system. The beauty of Creatio is that because of its low-code DNA, that customization can happen as needed. 

15 Reasons to Define Use Cases

  • Use cases describe simply the sequences of events that, taken together, lead to a system doing something useful.
  • Use cases reduce ambiguity by specifying exactly when and under what conditions certain behaviors occur.
  • Use cases show in great detail how each needed CRM feature will work in real life.
  • Use cases are primarily a way to express a system's requirements in behavioral terms.
  • Use cases are essential to ensuring the CRM system is usable.
  • Use cases facilitate an agreement with the stakeholders and will drive the analysis, design, and implementation efforts.
  • Use cases will remove old flows in use cases from the scope of the project.
  • Use cases unify activities of a project into a consistent, solution-oriented focus that keeps the best solution in mind.
  • Because use cases describe how the users will interact with the system, they provide a natural foundation for organizing the documentation that helps users understand how to use the system to achieve their goals.
  • Use Cases help to ensure the correct CRM system is selected and implemented by capturing functional requirements from the user's point of view.
  • Use cases help stakeholders who may not have any direct contact with the system easily understand it and therefore help to eliminate misunderstandings about the scope and functionality of the system.
  • Because use cases are written in natural language, they are easy to understand and facilitate communication with users and customers.
  • Use cases provide an excellent vehicle for testing system functionality and educating users.
  • Use cases help manage the complexity of large projects by deconstructing them into more discreet elements.
  • Use cases provide for objective tracking of the project and define its earned value in terms of use cases implemented, tested, and delivered.

8 Quick Tips to Write Good Use Cases:

  • Describe the goal. What do you want to accomplish and how will you know you’ve succeeded?
  • Identify your actors. Each use case must have one. These could be persons, groups, or other systems.
  • Outline the process and all steps actors will need to take to reach the end goal, including their anticipated behaviors with the system’s functional requirements.
  • Make every step an action. Use action verbs.  A use case is a story that has a beginning and a sequence of events that lead to the end.
  • Keep each use case between six and ten steps. Write it clearly and simply so users can absorb and understand it in a minute or two.
  • Avoid if statements
  • Forget the user interface -- for now.
  • Do not include formulas and rules. Put those in a supplemental document.

CRM Use Case template

Use cases are a way to think of the overall CRM system and organize it into manageable chunks of functionality - chunks doing something useful.

You can think of use cases as short stories/narratives about some way of using CRM to do something useful.  It describes what the CRM system does at a conceptual level so that we can understand enough about the system to decide if the CRM system does the right things or not.

To get the right set of use cases, ask yourself "What are the actors (users) really trying to do with the CRM system".  

Use Case Template
Use Case

Use case identifier/reference number and modification history.

Each use case should have a unique name suggesting its purpose.  The name should express what happens when the use case is performed.  It is recommended that the name be an active phase, e.g. "Create Sales Opportunity". The name field should contain the creation and modification history of the use case preceded by the keyword history.

Description

Goal to be achieved by the use case and sources for the requirement. 

Each use case should have a description that describes the main business goals of the use case.  The description should list the sources for the requirement, preceded by the keyword sources.

Actors

List of actors involved in the use case.

List the actors (users/other systems) involved in the use case. Optionally, an actor may be indicated as primary or secondary

Assumptions

Conditions that must be true for the use case to complete successfully.

List all the assumptions necessary for the goal of the use case to be achieved successfully. Each assumption should be stated in a declarative manner, as a statement that evaluates to true or false. If an assumption is false then it is unspecified what the use case will do. The fewer assumptions that a use case has the more robust it is. Use case extensions can be used to specify behavior when an assumption is false.

Steps

Interaction between actors and the CRM system that are necessary to achieve the goal.

The sequence of interactions necessary to successfully meet the goal. The interactions between the system and actors are structured into one or more steps which are expressed in natural language.  A step has the form

< sequence number>  <interaction>

Conditional statements can be used to express alternate paths through the use case. Repetition and concurrency can also be expressed.

Variations (optional)

Any variations in the steps of a use case.

Further detail about a step may be given by listing any variation on the manner or mode in which it may happen.

< step reference >  < list of variations separated by or >

Non-Functional

List any non-functional requirements that the use case must meet.

The non-functional requirements are listed in the form:

< keyword > :  < requirement >

Non-functional keywords include, but are not limited to Performance, Reliability, Frequency, and Priority.  Each requirement is expressed in natural language

Issues

List of issues that remain to be resolved.

List of issues awaiting resolution.  There may be some notes on possible implementation strategies or impact on other use cases

 


Well-constructed use cases provide the specificity that will ensure your software initiatives deliver the results you need and deserve. Sometimes bringing in an outside expert to ask questions helps to identify the interactions your users will need to have with the system. That’s part of our role as CRM consultants. If we can serve you that way, or if you have questions, contact us today.  Email or call:  269-445-3001

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Topics:   Business success with CRM CRM Implementation Functional Requirements Effective Use Cases

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