Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning Definition

Understanding a customer’s journey is critical when trying to improve their experience. To do this, you need to outline what they go through and where their needs are not being met. Creating a complex customer journey map is a great way to do this, but starting smaller can help reveal the same solutions more efficiently. Using a board like a scenario planning template is a great way to map your customer’s journey while considering where you can improve their experience.

The scenario planning template analyzes your principal user’s journey to brainstorm solutions that help alleviate their pain points.

Scenario planning is the perfect way to look at your customer’s experience and analyze the specific actions of their journey. This template breaks down their experience into sections based on what they do, what they think, and how to address their concerns.

This template is unique compared to some of our other customer journey maps like the experience map or 5E’s journey map because it focuses on each action and each thought. The scenario planning template isolates the user’s experience and lets you focus on how their actions relate to their thoughts and feelings. 

Cross-referencing the customer’s needs with their thoughts is beneficial because it helps highlight where their experience is disappointing or underwhelming. This will highlight where their experience can be improved. Each step in their experience that is either neutral or negative is a potential place to improve, which can be easier to see once organizing their journey into the scenario planning template.


Scenario Planning Template

The scenario planning template is relatively straightforward and provides ample room for analysis, which is where your team will find the most value. Here is a walkthrough of the steps your team should follow.

Step #1: Set the example scenario

The first step in completing this template is setting the scenario you’ll analyze. Make sure everyone on the team has a shared understanding of the situation, and there are clear parameters on your focus. Setting boundaries ensures you can avoid problems that aren’t part of this scenario.

Step #2: Formulate your user persona

After documenting a clear scenario, you must clarify a specific user persona. If you haven’t created a persona for your business, this is a great place to start when analyzing the customer experience.

Looking at a specific persona helps create empathy and narrow the focus to ensure you’re addressing real customer concerns.

Step #3: Steps/Doing

The next step in the process is diagramming all the steps the user takes in their journey. This analysis is broken into two sections, each focusing on something slightly different.

The “steps” section should look at the macro level steps the user takes to achieve their goal. These are groups of actions that can be generalized across most user journeys.

After mapping the steps, look deeper into each action they take during those steps. These notes will go in the “doing” section. The doing section helps expose small inefficiencies of inconveniences within the user’s journey that can be improved.

Step #4: Thinking

The “thinking” section is a critical part of understanding how the customer feels throughout their experience. In this section, map out what the user thinks during each phase of their journey.

The best way to map the user’s thoughts is by collecting direct feedback from them. After collecting this data, you can really analyze what they think throughout their journey.

When analyzing the customer feedback, try to map each thought or feeling to specific actions in the “doing” section. Linking these actions can help find the root of the customer’s pain points.

Step #5: Problems to focus on

The final step is analyzing the main problems the customer experiences. When mapping out the issues they face, you are given insight into where their experience can be improved the most. Look into how you can improve specific micro-interactions but also change patterns of interaction to improve their journey holistically. 


Advantages of the Scenario Planning Template

Using a customer journey map is very advantageous, and the scenario planning template is beneficial for similar reasons. Here are some of the main benefits of using the scenario planning template.


  • Creates Empathy: When incorporating a user persona into the scenario planning process, you are able to visualize how real users interact in the example scenario. This helps create empathy for the user, which gives your team better insight into the solutions that will positively impact them.
  • Connects Feelings to Actions: By breaking down the customer’s experience into large-level actions, individual actions, and thoughts, you are able to map the user’s thoughts and feelings to specific actions. Tracking feelings throughout their experience allows you to target specific actions that can be improved.
  • Highlights Problem Areas: The last section of this template targets the issue areas that need to be resolved to improve the customer’s experience. The addition of this section makes the solutions a priority throughout the exercise, allowing you to gain a nuanced understanding of the problems that need to be solved. From there, you can create informed solutions to improve the user’s experience. 


Fresco Scenario Planning Example

The scenario planning template can be applied to many different physical and digital situations. In our example, we walk through the experience of a customer buying a plant from a store.


Example Scenario: Customer comes into the store and is deciding if they want to buy a plant.


Steps: The main steps the user takes on their journey are getting to the store, looking around, and purchasing a plant.

  • Getting to the store, deciding they want a plant.
  • Perusing the options, seeing what they like/what fits.
  • Buying one or more plants and taking them back to their place.


Doing: Within the larger steps, there are multiple actions they take throughout their journey that affect their experience. These include navigating the store, asking employees questions, and reading about each plant.

  • Checking each plant visually, seeing which ones they like.
  • Getting hands-on with the plants, allowing them to get a better idea of their needs.
  • Looking at specific differences between plants.
  • Asking questions to employees to gain more info.
  • Eventually taking the plant to checkout and purchasing it.


Thinking: Their thoughts throughout the store mainly revolve around how the plan would affect their space at home, how it looks, and which is most realistic.

  • Think about how plants can improve their environment.
  • Considering which plants they think are best looking.
  • Pondering the plant that make the most sense.
  • Thinking about budget.
  • Feeling unpressured to choose their favorite option.


Problems to focus on: Based on the thoughts and actions, it seems like the customers can have issues with the layout of the store and the information they’re presented with.

  • Need to declutter the environment to allow people to feel in charge.
  • Need to add info about plant upkeep and facts.
  • Create more information pre-purchase.
  • Provide staging images of plants for reference.

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