Tag Archive | agile

What’s the secret recipe to becoming an agile and customer-centric company?

Futurice hosted Service Design Network Finland’s event in Helsinki in January 2020 where Marc Stickdorn* talked about how companies can use journey maps as a management tool. Stickdorn explained three different situations where journey maps can be used: in workshops, projects or as a management tool. Workshop journey maps are used only once and they will not live after a workshop. Project journey maps are used throughout the project and they can be research, assumption or future based. Journey Map Operations is a management tool that combines different projects and business units in a company and supports companies to become agile: it builds relationships across silos, collects information and the most important – manages customer experience across departments.

Journey Map Operations, Marc Stickdorn

The reality in many organizations is that different departments are working with different projects and processes. There might be lots of handovers, various targets, expectations, practices and end solutions. This is because departments have different ways of documenting, they use different tools, terms, and language in their projects. The focus of the projects might be different depending on if it’s a legal, IT, sales, product innovation, marketing, or finance project. But in the end, all the internal and external projects impact also directly or indirectly on company’s customer experience. Many projects might also overlap and from the customer’s point of view there may be shared the same steps in the journey but then the journey continues for different directions which might be really confusing and frustrating for the customer. For a company it is difficult to operate and manage this kind of complexity.


How to get a shared perspective and language across departments?

Companies talk about being customer-centric and agile, but few companies really are because it is impossible to be agile in practice without a shared perspective and tools. According to Stickdorn journey maps would support companies be agile in operations by offering a common visualized language and understanding across different departments and levels in the organization. By mapping and combining different internal and external projects from customer’s perspective organization gets better transparency and understanding what’s going on in different parts of the organization that have an impact on customers or employees’ experience. This helps employees and management to see what are the ongoing initiatives where the organization needs to align? Is there an overlap in the processes? What ongoing and planned projects are around the organization?

I like how Stickdorn compares journey maps for maps in geography: by zooming in and zooming out it is possible to see different levels of the journey. By zooming in the company can see details and understand micro-interactions while zooming out helps to see the high-level journey, the bigger picture.

Different level of journeys zoomed in and out


A recipe for the secret sauce

Stickdorn proposes that there should be specific roles or teams in charge of the journeys. These would be called journey map coordinators. Coordinators are responsible for different parts and levels of the journeys. Somebody on the higher level, for example, CXO, is responsible for the highest-level customer journey. When zooming in the highest-level journey there might be different teams and departments responsible for other parts and experiences of the journey.

Journey map coordinators are split around the organization into different departments and they should meet regularly – once per quarter, month or once per week depending on how close the organization wants to be with the customer, how quickly they want to react and adapt to change. In these meetings, information is shared from microlevel customer interactions to higher levels. The power of the meetings would not only be in sharing information but they would help to see what kind of qualitative and quantitative information organization has from its customers on different levels. And when you add customers’ and employees’ pain points and KPIs there, soon a company might have a dashboard of customer experience!


The value for business

I think that Journey Map Operations is a perfect example of service design method – it brings people from different parts and levels of organization together, focuses on collaborative problem-solving, offers a holistic view, brings clarity in complexity, creates a common language by visualizing things and shares information between different departments with a common target – the customer. At the the same time Journey Map Operations provides a lean way of working and supports company to become more agile.

In overall, journey maps are helpful when company wants to get a holistic understanding of customer or employee experience, recognize their needs and pain points and seek opportunities for innovations. We just need to keep in mind that it’s not about the tool but what the tool can deliver for employees, customers and business. “Journey map isn’t a f..inkg deliverable” as Marc Stickdorn would say.



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You might be interested also:

How to co-create journey maps https://www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com/methods/journey-mapping

How to map journeys https://www.thisisservicedesigndoing.com/methods/mapping-journeys

*Marc Stickdorn is co-founder of More than Metrics, and editor and co-author of the award-winning books This is Service Design Thinking and This is Service Design Doing. He regularly gives talks and workshops on service design and innovation,and teaches at various business and design schools.


Can big organizations be agile?

For big companies, change is hard and slow. No news here. However, corporations that are successful, keep up with the change. How is it done? A few quite interesting points were raised at an event on how to engage your customers in developing digital services organized by Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce. The event was held on December 10th, 2018 and we heard keynotes from Harri M. Nieminen from Kesko and Mirette Kangas from Yle. In both organizations, service design or design thinking methods were adapted in order to drive change and develop value for the customers. I was keen to hear how change is driven in big organizations, like Kesko and Yle.

Kesko’s Lead Service Designer Harri M. Nieminen shed a bit of light to the way Kesko has started to utilize Service Design methods. As digitalization keeps accelerating, the role and power of the customer grows ever more – and in order to stay in the game, corporations, both big and small have to understand the customer. Understanding the customer is the key to provide excellent customer experience, always and everywhere. This is what Kesko is also aiming for. With his designer team, Nieminen is supporting the organization in building up winning customer experience and a seamless connection between the brick and mortar business and digital services.  

Founder of Agile Company Culture Accelerator Mirette Kangas talked about how YLE has transformed their company culture. At YLE, developing company culture is tangible and practical everyday work. Not a program or a project.  It’s all about learning together and curiously utilizing different models and methods. Part of their mindset is also to share the tools used for others to try as well.

Keep the processes light

To me it seemed that at Kesko, they cherish agility throughout their design processes.  To start with, they emphasize the importance of framing the problem in every project. The key question always is: What are we trying to solve and are we actually looking at the right problem? After the framing and solutions and ideas, they proceed quickly to prototyping. Instead of making it a huge and time-consuming project, the testing phase would, ideally, come in the third day of a three-day sprint. Experience at Kesko show that people are surprisingly willing to give their time and participate in developing new services. So, instead of waiting for the investment decision for a prototype, the insights can be gained through light means as well. The idea is to get things rolling quickly.

At YLE the agile company culture is built on experimentation too. And as Kangas emphasized, it’s not just building it, the culture is also changed through experimentation. However, it has to be systematic, not just experimenting for the sake of it. The point behind all these activities is to ensure YLE’s competitiveness in digitalization. The focus is in the future and innovative methods are implemented in everyday work.

How to succeed?

Design methods, experimentation and keeping your eyes in the future. What else is there to keep in mind, when transforming a large corporation? Both Nieminen and Kangas had some useful tips to share. Here’s my summary of their most valuable points.

  • Ensure things get done. When starting a project, make sure there’s ownership in the organization. Otherwise things might just hang loose in the air.  
  • Keep the customer in mind, always. When developing a new service, keep asking how the customer has been involved and what’s the feedback.
  • Base the change of an organization on voluntariness. It’s the basis for growth and mutual learning.
  • Leadership matters. The leader must reflect every day whether s/he is a preventer or promoter.

By the way, if you want to read more about the event, there’s another blog post about it here.