Three steps to user-map your everyday productivity.

6 minute read •

July 26, 2019

Workflow

In its most common form, user-mapping is a tool to track the patterns and behaviours in your customer’s user journey with your service or product. It’s a real challenge to improve the things we are most used to doing. Our collaboration tool Hassl was built through analysing hundreds of team’s workflow patterns by applying user-mapping to internal teams.

We can all gain a tonne of value for taking the time to be introspective. Applying a method to critically analyse every day patterns can highlight aspects of your team’s workflow that could be improved. Instead of user-mapping the experiences of your customers, learn how to user-map your own team’s workflow. This method will allow your business to constantly improve, and provide better outcomes to your customers and clients.

So what is user mapping?

project collaboration_usermapping

User-mapping is a visual exercise that helps individuals and teams uncover areas of opportunity that could improve the way they work. By visually mapping out your teams everyday experiences, you can break your workflow into parts and critically analyse what’s working, and what’s not. It allows you to see team member’s relationship with their work and this affected 

Internal user-mapping has three main benefits.

Find the patterns that lead to positive or negative outcomes

Often it’s difficult to understand why a project was delayed or a team unhappy with the outcome, user-mapping allows you to analyse every day work patterns to find out the, often small, events that led to success and/or pitfalls. You’ll also get an understanding for finer details, letting you see the different perspectives on key milestones and events throughout a project. With this knowledge you and your team can implement changes in the future to ensure potentially harmful activities are mitigated. 

Cultivate a culture of constant improvement 

Engaging your team members from all levels of the project or organisation emphasises honesty, openness and inclusivity. User-mapping allows your team to feel involved in strategic planning. It provides a strong framework for positive accountability; team members enjoy providing feedback and gain a better understanding of their role in achieving the collective goal. 

Highlight opportunities to improve

The visual simplicity of user-mapping let’s teams easily see negative experiences throughout a project’s life cycle. By highlighting these negatives, user-mapping gives you the insight to turn these into opportunities. A key deliverable of user-mapping, which we’ll discuss later in this article, is solutions. 

 

Three things you need to set yourself up for success

In theory you can apply user-mapping to any work environment. After facilitating hundreds of user-mapping exercises we have pulled out the key environmental elements you need to get the most out of workflow user-mapping.

1. A project with a clear goal and end date.

Having a project with a clear goal and end date is most vital to the user-mapping environment. Time is a key variable in user-mapping and when workflows are analysed alongside a common goal you get the most out of aggregating individual’s experiences. 

2. A notepad/diary for each team member taking part

In the first stage of user-mapping, nothing beats a pen and paper. Commitment here is key and it’s important individual team member’s document their day or week. 

3. The user mapping template Download

The user-mapping template is used to visually represent your team’s experience. 

Internal user-mapping: The process

Step 1 

1 week of diary entries 

project collaboration_usermapping

We could have come up with a fancy name for this but ultimately, it’s a diary entry. The first stage of visually representing your workflow is to set your project team the task of documenting their daily experience. 

Provide each team member participating with a diary or notepad and ask that they write down one to three key moments that affected their day. Each moment should be rated from 1 to 10, 1 representing a bad moment and 10 representing a good moment. Emphasise to your team that bad and good moments should be their interpretation of the situation, how it made them feel or how it affected their ability to do their work that day. This exercise in itself should take no more than a couple of minutes at the end of the day, or the start of the next. 

 

Step 2 

Map entries

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Once your team has reached the end point of their individual diary entries it’s time map using the visual template. 

Use the user mapping framework to start to uncover patterns and trends. The framework breaks down positive and negative entries into the three overarching themes that we witnessed throughout hundreds of user-mapping exercises. These are culture, personal development, workflow. Go through each map and colour code the negative and positive entries. 

 

Step 3

Solutions brainstorm download template here

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This final stage can become your roadmap for internal improvements informed by the everyday experiences of your team members. Look at the negative entries (below 5), divide them into categories so you can start to see trends and begin to brainstorm ways in which your organisation can mitigate future negative experiences.

From our research here is some examples of team solutions that have been actioned:

WORKFLOW 

CULTURE 

The log-in details were sent to me in a chain of emails and I couldn’t find it. All shared project passwords to be stored in a central location. No one had time to listen to my concern about the meeting agenda. Meeting agendas not sent out to external stakeholders without full team approval.

 

By the end of this process you should have the following:

  1. A realistic understanding of how your team works both individual and as a collective.
  2. A list of practical areas to improve, and some clear strategies and tactics to implement. 
  3. A culture of empowerment, improvement and accountability.

Ultimately, the impact that user-mapping internal workflow can have is extremely powerful. By having efficient, engaged and high-functioning project teams your business is able to do better work for it’s clients or customers. Join the hundreds of team’s taking a proactive approach to analysing the small moments, so the big moments are easier to come by.

Author

Lauren Crystal

Scottish digital entrepreneur in Melbourne. Proud MD of Your Creative Agency, co-founder of Hassl. Contributor to The Startup.

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