Focus on Value: How to Gain Alignment With User Value Stories

Roman Grant
Jul 4 · 7 min read
User Value Story — Gaining alignment
User Value Story — Gaining alignment

In 2019 I wrote an article about using Jobs Theory to align product teams. Simply put, “jobs” transcend products, services and internal politics to create a common understanding around value for the user.

And as a follow-up to that article, I have created an activity workbook to help product teams gain alignment around a user’s Job to be Done (JTBD).

The workbook includes 7 activity guides and is designed to help teams create a full picture, and narrative, of the user's role(s), goal(s), and the jobs/tasks they are hiring products and services to help them with.

User Value Story — Activity Guide
User Value Story — Activity Guide

OVERVIEW

User Roles. Roles help us focus on the user’s primary job and functions.

User Goals. Goals are descriptions of end states that users want to reach.

User Jobs. Jobs can be defined as the progress a user needs to make in order to reach a desired end state.

The User Value Story Framework

[User Name], the [User Role], is trying to [User Goal]

In order to [User Goal], [User Name] needs to [User Job(s)/Task(s)]

ACTIVITY 1 — Name the User

User Value Story — Name the User
User Value Story — Name the User

FACILITATION GUIDE

Option 1: Random name generator option (recommended):

  • Click the link -> Name Generator
  • Run the generator
  • Use the name that is generated 😏

Option 2: Group Activity:

  1. Give each participant a stack of stickies and a sharpie
  2. Set a timer for 1 minute
  3. Instruct participants to use the stickies and sharpie to write out at least 2 names during the timed session (1 name per stickie)
  4. After the timer has ended have the participants share their stickies and post the names on a whiteboard/flipchart
  5. Once complete, group similar names together and have the group vote on the name they would like to choose for the user

6. Give each participant a single voting dot and instruct them to vote for a single name

7. The name with the highest number of votes will be used for the rest of the exercises

User Value Story — Name
User Value Story — Name

ACTIVITY 2 — DEFINE THE USER ROLE & TYPE

User Value Story — User Role & Type
User Value Story — User Role & Type

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. As a group you will share the research, insights, and/or assumptions you have about the user’s role
  2. Give each participant a stack of stickies and a sharpie
  3. Set a timer for 2 minutes
  4. After the timer has ended, have each participant share their stickies and post them on a whiteboard/flipchart
  5. Once everyone has shared, work as a group to cluster similar insights/observations about the user’s role

6. Then work as a group to decide on the appropriate role(s) to focus on during the rest of the activities (utilize voting dots if the group is unable to come to consensus)

7. With the role defined, work as a group to decide what the user/customer type is. Specifically, whether they are the end user, buyer, or both

Note: If working solely from assumptions, as opposed to insights gained from research, be sure that it is called out in the notes

User Value Story — Sam’s Role
User Value Story — Sam’s Role

ACTIVITY 3— DEFINE THE CONTEXT

User Value Story — Define the Context
User Value Story — Define the Context

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. Utilizing the output from activity 2, work as a group to identify key insights/assumptions you have about the user’s context
  2. Give each each participant a stack of stickies and a sharpie
  3. Set a timer for 2 minutes
  4. Instruct participants to use the stickies and sharpies to write out the key insights/assumptions they have about the user’s context (1 insight/assumption per stickie)
  5. After the timer has ended, have each participant share their stickies and post them on a whiteboard/flipchart

6. Once complete, begin clustering similar ideas together and work as a group to create a label for each of the clusters

7. Review the clusters as a group and keep them visible during the next activity

Note: If working solely from assumptions, as opposed to insights gained from research, be sure that it is called out in the notes

User Value Story — Sam’s Context
User Value Story — Sam’s Context

ACTIVITY 4— DEFINE THE USER‘S GOAL

User Value Story — Define the Goal
User Value Story — Define the Goal

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. As a group you will share the research, insights, and/or assumptions you have about the user’s goal(s)
  2. Give each each participant a stack of stickies and a sharpie
  3. Set a timer for 2 minutes
  4. Instruct participants to use the stickies and sharpies to write out key observations/assumptions they have about the user’s goal(s) by answering the following question:

What progress is the user trying to make? (1 observation/assumption per stickie)

6. After the timer has ended have the participants share their stickies and begin clustering similar ideas together on a flipchart and/or whiteboard

7. Once complete, create a label for each of the clusters

8. Then work as a group to decide to prioritize the clusters. With the top cluster being the goal that will bring the most value to the user (utilize voting dots if the group is unable to come to consensus)

Note: If working solely from assumptions, as opposed to insights gained from research, be sure that it is called out in the notes

User Value Story — Sam’s goal
User Value Story — Sam’s goal

ACTIVITY 5— FRAME THE USER‘S GOAL

User Value Story — Frame the goal
User Value Story — Frame the goal

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. On a flipchart or whiteboard, frame the activity by writing out the following prompt:

[User Name], the [User Role], is trying to [User Goal].
In order to [User Goal], [User Name] needs to [Activity 6]

2. Work as a group to complete the prompt

Example:

[Sam], the [plant blogging, small business owner] wants to [grow her business].

In order to, [grow her business], [Sam] needs to [activity 6]

User Value Story — Framed goal
User Value Story — Framed goal

ACTIVITY 6— FRAME THE USER‘S GOAL

User Value Story — Brainstorm
User Value Story — Brainstorm

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. With the user’s goal prompt as a guide, work as a group to brainstorm the jobs/tasks the user needs to accomplish to reach their goal
  2. Give each each participant a stack of stickies and a sharpie
  3. Set a timer for 3 minutes
  4. Instruct participants to use the stickies and sharpies to brainstorm observations/assumptions they have about the jobs/tasks the user will need to accomplish to reach their goal(s) by completing the second half of the User Goal Prompt:

In order to [User Goal], [User Name] needs to? (1 observation/assumption per stickie)

5. After the timer has ended, have each participant share their stickies and post them on a whiteboard/flipchart

6. Once complete, begin clustering similar ideas together and work together as a group to create a label for each of the clusters

7. Then work as a group to prioritize the clusters. With the top cluster being the job(s)/task(s) that will be most critical to helping the user reach their goal (utilize voting dots if the group is unable to come to consensus)

User Value Story — Jobs
User Value Story — Jobs

ACTIVITY 7— THE USER VALUE STORY

User Value Story
User Value Story

FACILITATION GUIDE

  1. Utilizing the framing prompt you started in activity 5, complete the second half of the prompt with the jobs/tasks that were identified in activity 6 :

[User Name], the [User Role], is trying to [User Goal]
In order to [User Goal], [User Name] needs to [User Jobs/Tasks]

2. Work as a group to complete the [User Jobs/Tasks] portion of the prompt

Example

[Sam], the [plant blogging, small business owner] wants to [grow

her business].

In order to, [grow her business], [Sam], needs to [Sell goods, connect with customers, and promote her business]

User Value Story — Plant Blogger
User Value Story — Plant Blogger

ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES

Ava, the NICU nurse is trying to provide excellent care for her patients.

In order to provide excellent care for her patients, Ava needs to be able to view patient records, document notes, and record vitals.

Tony, the Social Worker, is trying to provide support for people who are in predicaments that they may view as overwhelming or impossible to cope with.

In order to provide support, Tony needs to be able to listen and interact with people in order to provide tools for them through motivational interview, problem solving therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy.

Jay, the Director of Health Services, is trying to ensure appropriate care is being rendered according to each resident’s individual plan.

In order to ensure appropriate care is being rendered according to each resident’s individual plan Jay needs to be able to access the resident’s healthcare information and manage the training of both med techs and caregivers.

Have questions and/or feedback about this activity workbook, or facilitation of the activities, feel free to contact me:

Email: Always4wrd@gmail.com

LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/romangrant

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Roman Grant

Written by

A former Army nurse that fell in love with product management and human-centered design. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-always4wrd-podcast/id15172994

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +732K people. Follow to join our community.

Roman Grant

Written by

A former Army nurse that fell in love with product management and human-centered design. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-always4wrd-podcast/id15172994

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +732K people. Follow to join our community.

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