journey maps are tools not outcomes

Sadly, many executives have been trained to think the journey map is the deliverable.

Sometimes it is, just like an architect would deliver a blueprint, but your ultimate goal isn’t to pay for blueprints for the fun of it—your goal is to build a building. That’s the outcome; blueprints just help you get there successfully.

Same with journey maps.

Journey maps help people visualize and understand the complexities of a system or service, which then helps identify areas in need of improvement. By zooming in and zooming out—something I’ve started calling zoom-in-zoom-out thinking—journey maps help uncover those critical opportunities for improvement which can then be focused and iterated on in ways that leave things better than they are displayed on the original journey map.

When you present your journey map to stakeholders it’s important to have research-informed recommendations regarding what you believe is worth further exploring. “Here’s what we learned and here’s what’s next.”

Also, it’s important to know the difference between data and insight. Data ≠ Insight though most people will present data as insights, which really misses the mark.

Journey maps help you see from different perspectives, which is a fantastic way to generate insight.

That said…

Journey maps should inspire action on top of providing insight.

If you’re not taking action on what you learn from a journey map there’s a good chance stakeholders were not taught why the journey map is being made.

Further upstream in the process of stakeholder alignment it should be made clear that the journey map is a launching pad for further investment and continuous improvement, not an endpoint.

🚧 ⚠️ Rough Terrain Ahead ⚠️ 🚧

🛑 What’s this? ✍️ This whole note is a work in progress, but the below part is really rough. So why’s it here? Share ideas before they’re ready.

Related: think in terms of inputs and outputs to design better processes

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