February 25

14 Questions To Build A Dominating Full Life Cycle Use Case

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Awad Makkawi

ln our last article we discussed how to create your end user persona template.

Next up is mapping out the full life cycle use case for how the user will interact with your product so that you can engage, enlighten and entertain her at every step of the value creation process. 

The concept is adapted from Bill Aulets, Disciplined Entrepreneurship.

Here's what we'll cover:

  • 5 advantages to your business model for having a full life cycle use case
  • 3 step process for innovation and finding customers desired outcomes
  • 4 categories of questions to create a smashing life cycle use case

What Is The Full Life Cycle Use Case? 

Defining your customer is the first step to answering the question:

"Who are we serving?"

On the other hand, the full life cycle use case answers a different question:

"How will this end user interact with our product?"

It is a detailed description of how your customer will:

  • Find out about your product
  • Test and evaluate it
  • Buy it
  • Use and get value out of it
  • Tell others about it
Full life cycle use case

The bulk of the your use case document will be the result of your customer discovery efforts where you gather insights about your:


  • Customers: what are their goals in relation to your product
  • Their problems: the biggest challenges that they face
  • The solutions they are seeking: including the features that are most important to them, what solutions they are currently using and why.

Before diving in any further,

What are the benefits for creating this document?

What's in it for you?

The full life cycle use case plays a pivotal role in your business model development because it brings clarity to the strategies you'll develop for your:

  • Go-To-Market
  • Pricing frameworks
  • Value proposition
  • Competitive positioning
  • Product growth plan
  • Others

Moreover, mapping out the entire customer journey in relation to your product means that you will identify, and in turn proactively resolve, stumbling blocks for your startup that aren't obvious.


It allows you to design a product aligned with the users perception of value creation.

Have a look at this diagram on value proposition cycles in a study by Laura Anne Phillips et al.

Full life cycle use case for customer value

But What If You Don't Use It?

On the flip side:

What happens if you don't build your full life cycle use case?

You end up wasting time and resources making corrections to your model that could have been easily avoided through a few hours of planning and research.

Here's an example:

The first part of the use case is to determine how the user first recognizes that she has a problem that needs to be solved.

Nobody will search for a solution to a problem that they don't know they have.

By understanding how the user comes to the conclusion that she has a problem worth solving you have the upper hand in triggering the user into action and crafting a value proposition baked around what resonates with her most.

How To Create Your Full Life Cycle Use Case

Now that we've covered the why.

Let's get to the how.

How do we construct a use case journey that captures a detailed illustration about how the customer will use the product?

It's a 3 step process that starts by understanding the Job To Be Done by the user i.e. the end result.

Second, is framing every step the user must go through to reach this end result i.e. build a "job map".

Finally, you define the desired user outcome(s) at each step of the job map in order to understand the metrics involved for creating measurable value for the your user at every step of the way.

Job to be done and full life cycle use case

Full Life Cycle Use Case Example

Let's look at an example to make this easier to digest:

Say your Job To Be Done is: "Find new apartment for rent"

The job map would look like something along the lines of:

Notice that current rent being paid is high - Go online - Select a property platform - Filter search results - Screen results - Star interesting results - Contact realtors - Arrange site visit - Go for site visit - Select new apartment for rent.

With this in mind, you would then put together a list of desired outcome(s) that the user expects for each step in the above job map.

The information you develop here then supports your next steps for creating innovative new solutions.

Of course, you could get even more granular with your job map and add more steps. 

In fact, you could also have multiple maps associated with a single Job To Be Done statement.

The important thing is to paint a picture of how the user will interact with your product from start to finish.

For the purpose of reducing assumptions you have about customer excitement and shift your focus towards pointing out all the obstacles, effort and risks that she might experience.


What are the questions to ask when developing your full life cycle use case?

4 Categories To Uncover Your Full Life Cycle Use Case

Earlier we mentioned that you'll validate your job map through customer interactions.

But what questions will reveal what you need to know about how users will interact with your solution?

The questions to ask can be divided into 4 groups:

  • Awareness 
  • Interest and Desire 
  • Acquisition and Activation 
  • Retention and Referral

Take a look at this adaptation from Dave McClure's AARRR framework.

Using the AAARRR framework for full life cycle use case


The following questions help to develop you value proposition and your go-to-market strategy and as a result your customer acquisition cost.

  1. How will the user discover she has a problem that needs to be solved or and opportunity to do something differently?
  2. What triggers her to look for a solution?
  3. Where and how will she search for find your product?
  4. Her areas of focus when searching for solutions?
customer journey map

Interest And Desire

These questions help with creating your minimum viable business product, your value proposition and competitive positioning.

  1. What does the user value most i.e. benefits and features?
  2. How will she analyze and assess the value she will receive from your product?
  3. Her process to compare the product to existing solutions both direct and indirect?
Full life cycle use case for understanding competitive position

Acquisition and Activation

The below questions help with refining your business model, pricing framework, value proposition and customer satisfaction.

Ask how will the user:

  1. Acquire the product? A note here that this is not the same as paying for the product. Are they purchasing a monthly online software subscription? An annual one time payment? A physical product delivered to the door? These are all points of friction that arise once a user has decided to make a purchase.
  2. Pay for the product? I.e. is it cash? Credit card? Apple Pay?
  3. Sign up, Install, setup or integrate the solution into her workflow?
  4. Use and get value out of it?
Product acquisition growth loop

Retention and Referral

Here the information received helps develop the customer service program and incentives, your product expansion plan and the business model.

How will you: 

  1. Engage with the user to keep them coming back and using your solution?
  2. Provide support for her so that her experience after purchasing your solution is as delightful as when she bought it?
  3. Create the opportunity for her to tell others?
Full cycle use case helps with customer retention

When To Build The Full Life Cycle Use Case

At what point do you create your full life cycle use case?

This is done after you've completed your market segmentation analysis and built your user persona profile.

It's not a document that you use to begin coding and adding features to your product. 

Consider it a road map that guides you on what to validate with your customers in order to uncover the true route that they will take when purchasing your solution.

In turn, this will bring all the team behind a clear vision of what is being built, why it's being built that way, for whom it's being built and where improvements can be made.

Full life cycle use case for team alignment

For a dive into how to tackle meeting and interviewing customers in as little as 4 days check out the following article:

Customer Discovery: How To Find Customers And Build Products They Want


The full life cycle use case is an extensive map of how the user will interact with your solution.

From the moment the user realizes she has a problem to be solved, to how she seeks out a solution, compare alternatives, measure value, buy the product, get value out of it and even tell others about it.

The purpose is to draw a clear path of the customer journey and proactively present the friction points that a user might go through preventing them from purchasing your solution.

It allows the design of optimized business models for your startup by revealing go-to-market strategies, product expansion, customer acquisition strategies that are aligned with what your customers already do.

Design your life cycle use case.

Optimize for the desired outcomes your customers want.

You already know you want to please your customers.

Now do it.

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