The Automation Project Playbook

Step 2: Sketching

After setting clear goals in the first step, the second stage of Triggre's Automation Project Playbook focuses on bringing those objectives to life through visual planning.

In the "Sketching" step, you'll draft use-case scenarios and turn them into simple sketches, clarifying your strategy and involving users early to reduce resistance. Continue reading for more on effectively planning your automation project visually!

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Identify the main processes you want to tackle

Begin by identifying and jotting down the main processes of your business application through well-defined use-cases.

What is a use-case?

A use-case describes a system’s intended design and the steps users take to accomplish a specific task within the system. It typically includes who is using the system, the user's goal, and the series of steps they undertake.

Start by writing down the “use-cases” for your business application. You don’t need every single use-case you can imagine, just start with a few use-cases that make sense as a first version of your application.

Use this simple formula to write them down: As a <role> I want to <task>. For example: As a customer, I want to view an overview of my past orders.

Each use-case you define should focus on common or high-impact tasks to ensure that the system's design addresses the most critical user needs.

It's essential to involve intended users in this process as their input can provide invaluable insights into what features are necessary and how they are used in real-world scenarios. By incorporating user feedback early and often, you can tailor the system more accurately to meet actual needs, enhance user satisfaction, and reduce the likelihood of costly revisions later in the development process.

Sketch your application’s workflow with pen and paper

Once you've outlined a preliminary set of use-cases, it's essential to transform these abstract ideas into tangible sketches.

For each use-case, create a straightforward sketch how this process will work in your business application. Use simple shapes:

  • Circles mark the beginning and end of the workflow.
  • Diamonds indicate decisions.
  • Horizontal rectangles are used for process steps.
  • Vertical rectangles define different pages.

Let's take as an example the use-case mentioned above, "As a customer, I want to view an overview of my past orders". This is what the sketch would look like:

Sketching with pen and paper before moving to digital tools can simplify the initial design process. This method allows for quick modifications and fosters spontaneous creativity without the distraction of software complexities. It’s about getting ideas down without getting bogged down.

Select high-impact use-cases

Prioritize use-cases that occur frequently or have a substantial impact on your operations.

When selecting use-cases, aim to choose the fewest possible while ensuring they are used frequently and have a substantial impact. For instance, automating a use-case that only happens once a year might not be the best initial choice.

Don't forget to involve your users in this selection process. Their engagement is crucial for building commitment and ensuring that the automation aligns well with their daily work realities.

Checklist:

Write down the essential use-cases for your application in the format: "As a [role], I want to [task]".
Create visual sketches of your use-cases using basic shapes to outline the workflow clearly.
Select and prioritize high-impact use-cases, involving user feedback to ensure relevance.

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Keep exploring the Playbook

1
1
Goal setting
2
2
Sketching
Building
Testing
Making changes
Demo
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