Case Studies


Employing Scenario-based Development in Ecommerce Scale-up


In this case study, we examine the journey of implementing scenario-based development in an ecommerce company specializing in developing ecommerce solutions for other enterprises. The company experienced significant growth during its scale-up phase by expanding its client base and venturing into new markets. 

Growth Trajectory and Expansion: As the company acquired more clients, it concurrently developed new ecommerce applications and functionalities to meet their diverse needs. The scale-up involved managing live products in production, delivering enhancements and fixes to existing clients, as well as developing solutions for new clients.

In this case study we will focus on the improvement of the development lifecycle by implementing a scenario-based development framework to address their challenges.

Key Challenges: 

The ecommerce organization encountered several challenges during the scale-up phase. These challenges included:

  • changing or evolving client requirements during the development phase
  • miscommunication leading to different client expectations
  • client dissatisfaction with the delivered products
  • and extended project timelines due to rework during development
  • loss of business from existing customers

Solution identified: 

While the company was using agile development, we focused on the testing phases of the development to discover the pains. We involved the development teams as well as product and scrum teams to create a more comprehensive understanding of the issues the product teams were facing. 

We soon discovered that the majority of the rework was due to changing requirements too frequently. While it is generally fine to change directions, in this case, the requirements were actually misunderstood by both the development teams as well as the customers.  

To tackle these challenges, we recognized the need for improved communication of requirements and expectations from clients. 

Based on the team’s skills and preferences we implemented a scenario-based framework.  Looking at the entire portfolio and discussing with team members and sales and customers, we created the following: 

  • different templates for scenarios – focusing on a few key functionalities of their applications
  • we tested these with additional teams teaching them what paths needed to be included and what level of detail is necessary
  • we refined the framework based on their feedback 
  • we shared it with customers and product to employ

Additionally, with the customers involved, we introduced wireframes to provide them with a visual representation of the expected user experience. 

This approach enhanced their understanding, encouraged active participation, and facilitated a comprehensive review of the ecommerce applications.

Product, development and testing teams utilized the scenarios in the analysis and design phases and continued to refer to them throughout the development cycle. 

They were used in the communication with the customers as well to align development with client expectations, minimize assumptions, and identify any gaps in requirements early on.

The implementation of scenario-based development framework resulted in notable cost savings and operational efficiencies for this ecommerce organization. By identifying issues early in the analysis and design phases, we prevented major system failures from reaching the development stage. This proactive approach reduced the need for costly post-production fixes and shortened the time to market for fixes and updated functionalities. Additionally, the streamlined testing process allowed teams to allocate more time to testing delivered functionality, resulting in higher quality products and increased operational efficiencies.

Key Lessons Learned and Future Recommendations: 

This experience taught us lessons we added to our current scenario-based development approach:

  • different skillsets had completely different assumptions when considering the same functionality
  • identifying issues early in the analysis and design phases, we prevented major system failures from reaching the development stage
  • the introduction of visual representations in the scenario-based development framework facilitated clarity and alignment throughout the development cycle
  • automation using the scenarios resulted covers the relevant functionality and it is easy to maintain
  • testing and development efforts focused on quality once the functionality was clarified enough by the scenarios resulted from the scenario-based development

For future scale-ups, it is imperative to embrace comprehensive communication practices and actively involve clients to ensure a shared understanding of requirements and expectations.


Collaborative efforts enabled by the scenario-based development, led to enhanced quality and reduced frustrations, resulting in improved client satisfaction. By addressing communication gaps, we significantly reduced rework and shortened delivery time for clients from over a year to less than six months. 

Moreover, the implementation of scenario-based development instilled confidence in customers, attracting more business and contributing to the company’s expansion into new markets.

Finding a scenario-based development framework that suits both your organization, teams and customers is fun and challenging and so worth it.