Service mapping

Show the step-by-step journey of your product or service in a visual way.

3-10 people
2-3 hours per session



You can use service maps to help your team to:

    • quickly identify pain points and opportunities of a user journey or service
    • involve stakeholders and agree how to progress together
    • see the bigger picture of your product or service


People with a range of different perspectives and knowledge which usually includes:

    • a facilitator
    • team members with an understanding of the service
    • subject matter experts
    • people that input into the service
    • service users


You can do service mapping at all stages of product and service development.

Things you need

    • Post-its
    • Large roll of paper
    • Sharpies/pens
    • Blue tack
    • Wall space
    • Any reference, data or other context that could help

Tips on running the session

    • Be as open as possible and make it clear that there is no wrong answer
    • Get the team stood up and involved as soon as possible
    • Provide handouts with clear instructions if you think it will help
    • Provide visuals of what a service map looks like
    • Provide copies of existing research if it is relevant
    • Be specific about what you want people to do, for example, where you want people to stick something on the wall
    • Provide time limits for each activity
    • Close the session 10 minutes before the end so that people have time to ask questions


  1. Welcome and introductions
  2. Welcome everyone to the workshop. Ask everyone to introduce themselves if the group don't know each other.

  3. Introduce the aims for the session with your team, for example:
  4. “We’re here to create an understanding of how users experience [the service] that we are working on.”

  5. Discuss any blockers or limitations, for example:
  6. The service map might change as you go through the project - it takes a few versions to get the level of detail and format right.

  7. Introduce the service mapping method using a visual example
  8. Explain that it is important to do the top row first, which is usually the ‘steps’ of a user journey or service.
  9. It’s helpful if the facilitator asks the group to identify the steps and makes the notes on post-its to get the service map going. All the post-its in each row should be the same colour.

    The top row of steps fall into stages or categories called ‘epics’. If you’re developing a digital product this could be: Awareness, Log on, Task and Log out.

    Some participants have more experience of the subject matter than others. You could ask them to work on the area that they are more familiar with.

  10. Now you can identify the service map rows that sit under the steps, for example:
      • Who
      • Action visible to user
      • System
      • Data available
      • Pain points
      • Opportunities to improve

    You may not need all of these or you might need to add rows that are specific to your project.

    Go through each layer or row type with examples.

    Ask the group if they have any questions before you get started.

  11. Fill in the service map
  12. Get the team to write post-its and stick them up. Don't worry about getting things wrong, that's why we map out the service - to bring clarity!

  13. Review the service map
  14. Ask the team to look over and make any immediate changes or corrections you can. You might then need to do this again with different people that have different knowledge.

  15. Close the session
  16. Review the aims you set at the start of the session - is there increased clarity or knowledge?

    Ask if anyone has any questions or would like you to explain anything.

    Explain what will happen next.

  17. Post session tasks:
  18. Take photographs of the map - they will come in useful for reference

    Digitise the map if you need to so that the steps and layers are neat and easy to follow, then create a PDF/image.

    Transfer all pain points and ideas to a spreadsheet or synthesis board for tracking if it is valuable at this stage.

    Put the service map on the wall in your team area.


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