Working with use cases

Sourcegraph has a shared set of use cases that flow through much of what we do, and this page is intended to describe how we use them.

What is a “use case”?

At Sourcegraph, we aim to understand software development workflows and what matters most to allow us to make decisions about how to best serve our customers. Think of a use case as a common scenario or problem for which Sourcegraph brings forth solutions, they are the value we bring to our customers by solving a particular challenge. It is what they experience or do on our platform that makes their workflow better for managing any and all of the following: code health, code reuse, dev onboarding, code security or incident responce?

Each use case is a challenge our customers face for which they use various processes, tools, and solutions with the ultimate goal to be more effective and efficient in building their products. Sourcegraph provides capabilities that solve these problems in a delightful, innovative way so we can inspire positive behavior change that benefits their teamwork.

One common misconception about our use cases is that they only impact Product Management, Sales, Marketing, or any other single department. The reality is that our use cases have been chosen with end-to-end customer flows in mind, and traverse not only multiple feature areas within the product, but different departments as well. By aligning our thinking around these important solutions, we deliver valuable features and can tell a consistent story that resonates with our customers.

Applied in Marketing

Centering our work around use cases allows Marketing to focus efforts based on the most compelling solutions for our target personas. They help us to break through ambivalence to create a sense of urgency for customers, making Sourcegraph a need to have, not a nice to have. They ensure that there is consistency of messaging across the organization—from marketing to sales to CE to the product experience, we pull people in with a promise we can deliver.

Use-case driven content can be tailored to each persona or account, letting us test and find the best messaging. They help us build solution-based journeys, supported by customer stories, white papers, etc., and provide a clear foundation for go-to-market content that can educate, guide, and generate interest/leads. Defined use cases also map to value drivers that can improve how we represent our value in business cases and ROI analysis.

Applied in Sales & CE

Sales and CE leverage them across the entire funnel:

  • PipeGen - to create clear interest/need from our prospects by showing them how we can solve the problems that they are currently facing in their business
  • Active Opportunities - as the basis for establishing the value of solving those problems, proving our ability to solve them through POCs, communicating why they need to solve them now, and why Sourcegraph is uniquely able to solve them better than any other option
  • Expansion/Retention - to broaden our adoption and usage within existing customer accounts, by showcasing all the ways in which customers can realize value from Sourcegraph

For Sales & CE, a good use case is:

  • Value driven, and aligns to quantitative and/or qualitative benefits
  • Aligns directly to the biggest issues our target market is currently facing and ideally drive urgency (i.e. need to have vs. nice to have)
  • Demonstrable; tell a cohesive narrative by tying together all parts of our product
  • Able to be tested discretely and completely (timeboxed) by a customer to prove out the value

Applied in Engineering

See Product use case sponsorship guide for details.

How do use cases fit within our platform?

Companies have different workflows for each theme, for example how they monitor and fix security vulnerabilities differs depending on industry, code size and distribution. In turn, our platform provides products and features that collectively create solutions for each use case. Our customers leverage Sourcegraph in innovative ways to solve for use cases they care about, that’s how we deliver value! This is how it fits together:

  • Platform : the overall Sourcegraph offering
  • Product : one of the vertical products in our offering (e.g. search, code monitor, code insights, batch changes)
  • Feature : a capability within a product
  • Solution : any collection of products and features that solve a problem or use case

If a customer cares about code health, they may use code monitoring differently than one that cares about monitoring for Security Vulnerabilities. Our focus is to enrich our offering in each one of these products to support solving for each use case. This will make it easier for our users to recognize where Sourcegraph could prove useful within their workflows.

How do we apply them when we build products and features?

At a strategic level the use cases are the narrative under which we connect our customer’s needs to our product. Our approach is to think about the whole user journey, identify challenges and gaps where we can deploy solutions. It is true that they are not mutually exclusive, some of our products and features will solve multiple problems! Essentially we can think of a use case as a filter in our product prioritization process; we know that there is so much opportunity to create innovation in this space, we have so many ideas and solutions on how to do that. Putting them through the lens of a use case lets us choose the thing that will make managing Code Health better thus making our users more productive and happy at their jobs. We use them in product research and validation, segmenting customers that feel these problems acutely and are focused on improvement gives us a way to have deeper impact and measure our success.

How will we measure our success in the context of a use case?

We aim to increase the relevancy of our product for technology organizations that care about these challenges and want to solve them at their company. Our business measure of success will be identified through Revenue growth while on the product side this will exhibit through better engagement in our products; especially around the features that provide solutions for these use cases. By taking a more focused approach we will be able to move fast and prove the efficacy of these use cases to our growth.

Are these the only use cases?

No, there are many challenges and themes in the software development space! We are being intentional in choosing five common use cases where we can partner and innovate with our customers by developing depth in our solutions. Although these five problem spaces are the ones we’ve chosen to focus on at this time, we will continue to discover ways to support our users and every technology organization out there. We are not only focusing on the individual developer workflows, we’re looking at the bigger picture and tackling code quality, developer productivity and happiness within organizations. We are well positioned to truly revolutionize how software is developed and give super-powers to those developing it.

What will we do in ?

This is a shift in how we think about developing products for our users and customers so we want to spend this quarter getting better at practicing this across our org. We’ve commited to this in our OKRs. We already have products and features that create a ton of value here AND we want to become an embedded solution for our customers in these five use cases. In the near term we aim to create the narrative under the Use Case umbrella: (for example) what are the features that make managing code health more efficient and making dev onboarding more efficient so new devs can be productive faster. How, where and when do our users expect to interact with our solutions within their work? Since each use case is serving a higher level need, we will define the user experience that makes access to this value easier and faster. We will collaborate across the business to tell the story of how Sourcegraph helps organizations manage each of these use cases. We believe this will pave the way for scaling our features in a way that’s super relevant and grows our business faster.

What will we do in ?

Our company strategy this year is centered around leveraging 5 use cases for existing customers to grow ARR. We will continue to build empathy for our enterprise partners and their challenges within these problem spaces. Inevitably we will discover more, different opportunities where Sourcegraph can bring forth solutions and iterate on our product-market fit.