In a previous post, I talked about how you can view your company’s systems in order to have a more focused and detailed look at the workflows and services of your organization. From this, you should have a better idea of how your services and workflows interact with each other.
Painting the picture
First, we need to paint a more detailed picture of the phase you decided to focus on. Phases are made up of several step definitions that are just short descriptions of what is happening. To start painting the picture of your phase you must take into consideration the following variables.
- Touchpoints – What is your client or employee interacting with?
- Actor – What users are involved in the step?
- System – What technology, hardware, or processes support this step?
- Policy – What rules and regulations dictate why the step has to be the way it is?
- Information – What observations and explanations are important to understanding the step?
- Metric – What data or statistics will help you understand the step better?
- Questions – What are questions about the step that requires follow up?
Your Team of Experts
This is a great time to bring in people from your team that is directly involved with the scenario phases. They are the experts and will be able to fill in details you may not think about. It is also a great time to bring in an outside observer or facilitator, someone who is not influenced by the company’s procedures and habits. They will be able to see and add impartial aspects to the variables that your experts may take for granted.
I like to call it the pinch of salt phenomenon. It’s that pinch of salt your grandmother adds to your favorite dish that you don’t know about, because she does it without thinking about it, and you can’t understand why you can’t make it taste the same way.
Unlocking your Teams’ Super Powers
Now we are getting to the good part. This is when the discovery and opportunities start happening. By the time you make it to the information variable, you’ll start to see something happening with your team. They will start to express different observations they have as individuals and realizing their assumptions don’t align.
Congratulations you’ve discovered your first critical moment! A critical moment is a breakdown of the service or workflow and probably a source of pain to your customers and team.
A critical moment is variable eight, your experts will most likely get there before you even have to ask about this variable. You’ve released your teams’ superpowers of observation and critical thinking. Keep going step after step with all the variables and watch the discoveries flow!
But that’s not all. Your team and sometimes the facilitator will see an opportunity in the step that could fix the critical moment quickly. You’ve now uncovered the ninth variable, the opportunity, an ah-ha moment or idea that could improve the step.
Mapping and Visualizing your Scenario
As you and your team progress through your phases’ steps, you will see a map develop. This map is a visual guide to all the details captured within the phase and will be a valuable tool toward understanding your companies systems better.
In the example map, all of the critical moments are colored red in each step. Looking across the phase from left to right you can get an idea of where the bottlenecks are occurring. In this case, most of the problems start at the beginning of the customers finding their way around the pub which also affects their experience when ordering food and drink.
Tactical vs. Strategic
These observations can often enlighten you to what problems to focus on first. But what if there are several problems you want to tackle and you and your team only have so much time? You also want to make sure that the problem you’re working on will give you the most impact for your effort.
The first thing you can do is to collect all of the critical moments and opportunities and break them into two categories. Tactical fixes and strategic directions.
Tactical fixes are problems that can be resolved quickly. For example, moving a trash can so clients are not cutting through another line just to throw away trash or fixing an online ordering error with a quick email to your vendor.
Strategic problems require planning, consideration, and maybe some prototyping and testing. An example would be looking for a way to quickly take orders but also help inform the customer about your beer without holding up the line.
So now you have several strategic problems, which do you tackle first, and how much time will it take to come up with ideas? This sounds like it will take endless meetings and discussions in order to decide on a solution and take action. Normally you’d be right.
What if there was a way to isolate the most important problems, generate ideas, and decide on the best ideas with no discussion and accomplish all this in less than 2 hours? If you’d like to know more, I’ll cover it in the next post.
If you would like to learn even more about this mapping concept visit the creators Megan and Erik over at PracticalServiceDesign.com.