Design Value Propositions Like User Stories: The 3WH Method

By Ben Snipes July 09, 2015

Value propositions are big-picture positioning statements that explain the benefit your product provides customers. They can also help your marketing team understand what resonates with your target audience. But how do you document and share these value propositions? My suggestion: Take a page from the agile playbook and apply user stories.

User stories are used in agile, lean startup and scrum for software development and normally follow this template:

As a <role>, I want <goal/desire> so that <benefit>.

Product development teams complete this template to clarify the end user, the desired objective and the benefit to build. The role is the who, the goal is the what and the benefit is the why. By understanding the customer’s fundamental motivations, developers can ensure they are serving customer needs and delivering satisfaction.


This same format can also be used to write value propositions that provide clear messaging around customer needs to sales and marketing. For that, I use the 3WH methodology, which incorporates <who>, <why>, <what> and <how>. Done early in the process, it can help guide the entire project.

Ben Snipes

Ben Snipes

Ben Snipes is the product line director for tax at Wolters Kluwer, where he is responsible for the overall product management, strategic vision, financial performance and growth execution of the tax product line in the legal and business markets. Ben earned an M.B.A. at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and an LL.M. in taxation at the Georgetown Law Center. He earned a J.D. with International Law Certification from the Florida State University College of Law. Prior to earning his law degree, he earned a B.A. in political science and business administration from the University of Florida. He resides in New York City. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminsnipes.

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