Business teams throughout the enterprise are adopting Agile processes. Some customer experience teams struggle to apply these strategies. What does successful Agile Journey Mapping look like?
The Core of a Functional Agile Process
Choosing an Agile process for your customer experience analytics team can be difficult. The software development community has a multitude of “standard” frameworks. Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban, Lean, RAD. What are the differences? How do you choose?
Some Agile coaches worry less about the name and more about the intent. The framework for each is a starting point, meant to be modified for your unique team, environment and objectives. At their core, each is built around a few key points:
- Planning: Set short-term goals that align with your long-term goals
- Short iterations: Run as hard as you can, for a few days at a time, toward those short-term goals
- Discuss: Stop occasionally, check your progress against long-term goals, and talk about improvements to your process
You might disregard the fancy names and instead, focus on the parts that make you successful.
Iterative Journey Mapping
In analysis of the customer experience, Journey Mapping is becoming a very common exercise. Regardless of the tools used – digital interfaces, sticky notes or drawings on a whiteboard – the exercise generally consists of defining a customer process flow, such as account status inquiries or completing a payment. In the exercises, you are mapping both the current and future state of that customer journey: the process as you believe it to be today, and the process as you believe it should be in the future.
Remember, though, that first journey map is a starting point. To start from somewhere implies that you’re going somewhere else. You should have a target journey in mind. Getting from today’s realistic journey to tomorrow’s ideal journey is a process of managing change. You may not be able to get from realistic to ideal in one step; or perhaps the difference is significant and will require some time and coordination of larger changes. This is an opportunity for iteration. Decide on one small change to that journey map, a version 1.1 that is one step closer to the ideal journey, and your team can chase that one short-term goal in the next handful of days. Then define version 1.2, one more step closer to ideal. And keep going.
The final key component of any Agile process is to assess progress. After making that first change, it’s time to ask some questions: How successful was this step? How do we know it moves us closer to our ideal target journey? If the business is making decisions supported by data, then you’ll need the right data to help answer those intermediate questions.
If we look to the software development community again, they’ve developed metrics to help determine overall quality of both their process and their software product. Among other things, the development team might track time spent building features, number of issues identified in test, response time of new features, and engagement levels of users.
Many of the software team’s quality metrics have journey analogies. For that customer journey, we might measure:
- Time customer spends in the journey
- Number of steps required from start to finish
- Number of channels used to complete the process
- Frequency of error messages experienced in the journey
- Cost to deliver this journey to the customer
- Journey impact on customer satisfaction
As you progress from one Agile iteration to the next, your team will identify some of these metrics as more effective than others. Some may ultimately make their way into your daily vocabulary and even become an aspect of your defined goals. Better still, you may find that these metrics work their way into the broader business and form new enterprise customer experience goals.
Agile frameworks may have gained their popularity in the software development world, but don’t get stuck trying to force your analytics team into the nuances of Scrum or Kanban that work in software. Go back to the fundamentals of Agile to create a basic process for you and your team. With each iteration of the journey map, measure the success of your changes with data to drive continuous improvement to your customer journeys.