Journey Mapping for Business Analysts

Journey Mapping for Business Analysts

Journey mapping is often considered a tool for UX strategists, researchers and architects. It doesn’t immediately come to mind as a useful tool for business analysts. But journey mapping is a very useful tool for BA work. The process of journey mapping lends itself to gathering information for user stories and tasks to create user requirements.

Requirements gathering workshops can often be viewed as tedious. Incorporating a journey mapping exercise with stakeholders and/or a representative user group makes the process interactive and more enjoyable. Stakeholders are encouraged to think like their user and consider the various tasks and challenges. Participants are moving around, whiteboarding, actively engaging with each other and the facilitator. The exercise helps them understand and think through the pros and cons of solutions, creating a solid set of user requirements.

To plan and conduct a successful journey mapping workshop to gather user requirements, consider the following:

  1. Plan two workshops, one for stakeholders and one for a representative user group. The stakeholder workshop will help align expectations and help the business analyst to uncover business and perceived user needs. The representative user group will share their thoughts, helping the business analyst understand their perspective to create a more thoughtful and useful set of requirements.
  2. Create a short presentation to explain journey mapping. The concept may be new to your stakeholder or user groups. Explaining journey mapping and how useful it is for the project as well as explaining the process you’ll be taking your participants through during the workshop is helpful.
  3. As your stakeholder and user groups go through the process of mapping tasks, talking through the emotional experience and the things/people involved in each step, particular attention to the tasks that are mentioned and why a user would need to perform these tasks. This is where your user stories will come from, and you will be able to probe deeper with the group while you have them all together.
  4. Encourage input from all participants. Assure your groups that there are no wrong answers, and that they are critical to the requirements-gathering process. Often, there is a tendency for one or two participants to dominate the conversation. Actively engaging participants by asking them questions, asking them to verify tasks or steps in the process, will give you a more balanced view of the actual tasks and needs.
  5. Ask participants for their input on solutions. While journey mapping isn’t a solutioning exercise, it is very helpful to ask those who experience the problem or issue on a regular basis how they might solve it. They are closer to the task than anyone.

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