Notes from Day 1 of UXLX 2018 — Lean Service Design workshop, Jess McMullin

Jess McMullin (UXLx 2018, Lisbon, Portugal)
A service is something someone does for someone else that creates value for both — Jess McMullin

Updated 11 June 2018: added details to some sections.

PDF of the deck will be made available.


Service: e.g. ordering a meal at a restaurant (we watched a short movie of Mr. Bean at the restaurant ordering a steak tartare, he thought he was ordering a steak instead). Changing one of the elements (meal, menu, transaction, people, waiter, etc.) of what makes the service changes the whole service.

What makes up a service:

People, those involved in the interaction.

Channels used are the meal and the face-to-face interaction.

Touchpoints: when menu is presented, when there is an interaction. (See: for a definition of UX touchpoints)

Interaction: when the user is presented the menu, when the user speaks to the waiter.

Defining moment: when the user understand the menu in the wrong way, when he is disappointed in the meal.

Sum of interactions, touchpoints and defining moments are part of the experience.

How do you connect service design with digital? Need to include all the other layers of the Delivery Foundations Bedrock (see diagram).

We designers should work mainly in the sketching — drawing — prototyping area, because this is where you have the most choices. Once you move to implementation and building, correcting errors is more expensive. (Easier to erase on a drafting board than use a sledgehammer on the construction site)

Book: Jeff Gothelf (Lean UX; Sense & Respond).

Sense and Respond: Principles for the Next Century of Work diagram (download diagram)

  1. Focus on outcomes to plan for uncertainty
  2. Culture of continuous learning
  3. Do less, more often (forget planning the launch of a website in 3 years, roll out smaller parts, and keep improving)
  4. Organize for collaboration

Build-Measure-Learn: classic approach (from Lean Startup). What about Learn as a starting point?

Lean Service Design applies the lessons of Lean UX, Sense and Respond, and Lean Startup to Service Design. This is well underway across our community already. It shifts from focusing on deliverables to rapid iterative collaboration with end users and front line staff. This workshop outlines a series of activities to conduct with a cross-functional team to get to better services faster. These activities are usually workshops, you can remix them to fit your project needs. — Jess McMullin

Prototyping: about many things, e.g. align expectations, test hypotheses, exclude uncertainty, explore options, etc.

Agenda for Jess’ workshop:

1. Cocreate a prototype to discover the system

2. Create a Lean Service Map to capture the journey and Jobs-to-Be-Done

3. Sketch Solutions, Create Service Hypotheses, and then flesh out service

scenarios with improv.

4. Look at measuring service prototypes and scaling to a minimum viable service.

5. Closing discussion

Round 1: Table Top Model — create a model for hotel (from check-in to check-out)

Table Top Model — create a model for hotel

Once you have created a Table Top Model, you can do one of these 5 things:

  1. Iterate, refine, and add detail

2. Create a future state

3. Use the model to diagnose what works and what could be improved (traffic light triage, plus/deltas, critique, or user walk through)

4. Annotate the model with additional layers

5. Capture the model and your ideas to fuel future work like journey maps, sketches, & prototypes

Exercise: Plus/Deltas Triage

  • Plus: positive experience
  • Delta: room for improvement

Add green dot for areas where it works good

Add yellow dot for areas for improvement

This allows us to quickly identify areas where there’s room for improvement.

In our model: doors (revolving, automatic, etc), wifi, plugs, queues at check-in/check-out .

Round 2: Journeys and Jobs-to-Be-Done

Customer journey / Journey maps

Journey maps diagram someone’s experience over time. A shared understanding of the customer journey provides a touchstone that allows different parts of the business (or even multiple organizations) to collaborate without full consensus.

People + Time + Sequence = Story
Example of Journey Map: Rail Europe Experience Map
Other example: Player Journey (mad pow)
Other Example: Digital Experience Journey (customer journey map by Digital Experiences)

You always start by using Universal Journey.

Universal Journey diagram

It’s very linear, usually data is in rows and columns.

Then you add the visual description (linear, cyclic, random, etc.)

Next come three detail layers:

  • activity layer: activities, stages, touch points, sequencing — what someone does, and how.
  • empathy layer: thinking, feeling, questions, emotions, stress — the experience of the experience.
  • logical layer: measurements, metrics, KPIs, analytics, data — quantifying or measuring experience.

Exercise: Add journey cards to our model

Lean Service Design discussions cover many channels, not only digital (physical, call centre, etc.)

Jobs-to-Be-Done concept was presented (see: )

Jobs-to-Be-Done is a theory and a mindset that identifies the user’s desired outcomes or goals. People “hire” a product or service to get a job done in their lives.— Jess

Desired Outcome Statement

A consistent was of expressing customer needs:

  • verb + object (“check in to the hotel”)
  • context (“as soon as I arrive”)
  • direction + value (“to minimize the time I spend waiting”)

Indi Young’s book on Mental Models captures Jobs-to-Be-Done framework.

Core job defines whole journey, consumption jobs define smaller jobs in each stage.

We will work on smaller jobs.

Major stages of a hotel journey (top row).


  • Add blue dots for more important experiences
  • Add red dots for jobs that are best served (more dots = a better job of meeting customer needs)


Sketch potential solutions for those items where you have high importance and worst served.

Do this iteratively, by adding detail every round.

Design is a series of experiments — Jess
Desired Outcome Statements

Exercise: Test hypothesis

We tested a Room Radar prototype, which allows hotel customers to easily find the location of their room.

Service stage: Find your room — fast

touchpoint interaction: using your mobile device, get a room code at desk, google-type of navigation, qr code to confirm room

supports Job-To-Be-Done: so that I can easily find my room

Measurement: duration, success rate, number of calls for help, surveys, etc.

Identify Most Valuable Problems (MVP) with emoji. Look for the most valuable problems as you prioritize your efforts. Don’t work on something trivial if you can solve better problems.

Reference: …

End Conversation

How would you apply this in your work environment?

Use cards with different audiences (e.g. CEOs)

Be a facilitator, not a genius who knows everything about the topic.

Table top prototyping to do discovery.

More on UXLx 2018

Like what you read? Give AlexF a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.