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Notes on Service Mapping

Jotting thoughts on repeatable processes for Service Mapping.


Start describing your organization and what it does, and simultaneously visualize each object.


  • Service Maps can increase situational awareness within an organization (leading to better service delivery [and operations])
  • A Service Map can be created in under an hour
  • A Service Map is like software, insofar as they are never DONE - done, like your lawn is done being mowed
  • Service Map can be updated by non-expert staff
  • Service Map conventions allow users to leverage established symbols to depict and understand higher-order concepts
  • Service Map can be made executable within compatible software systems
  • Service Maps can be shared across organizations, and re-used to some extent

Thinking in Objects (the puzzle pieces)

  • Identify the objects on the map. Each object has a boundary (represented by a oval-ish).
  • Objects may be nested within another.
  • Agency is an object.
  • Department is an object.
  • Division is an object.
  • Bureau is an object.
  • Person is an object.
  • The Person's Responsibilities are Objects.
  • The policies or laws that supports these Responsibilities are Objects (Documents) that contain other Objects (Clauses)

Relationships between objects (verbs, attributes)

  • User1 passed Thing to User2
  • System sends email to User
  • User clicks email
  • Web app validates user input
  • User1 submits Claim
  • User2 approves Claim

Generative and Concentrative Work (Double-diamond [WAVE] pattern)

  • Some work is free-formed. Generative (or Creative) in nature.
  • Some work is structured. Concentrative (or Administrative) in nature.
  • A Person's work contains alternating aspects of both Generative and Concentrative work.

Thinking in Stories (scripting scenes from a play)

As a user I want to do something So I can realize some value

  • Given preconditions
  • When thing happens
  • Then these conditions should occur

Over and over and over 🔁

Thinking in Animation (watching/observing scenes from a play)

  • Think traffic flows (depicts capacity, throughput)
  • Think live dashboards (data snapshots are a good start. would it be valuable to have more snapshots? higher-res or frequency snapshots?)
  • Think Gource (many contributors contributing to single source, over time)
  • Think Blender (single data-source, 3dimensional space, keyframe animations, many cameras [perspectives/resolutions]).

Thinking in Maps (an assembled puzzle)

  • Stakeholder agreement on scope and vision (are we putting together the same puzzle?)

  • Begin with the user

    • What does the user need to accomplish his goal? Form? An authorization?
    • Vertically: depict close to the user (in their line of sight) vs. far from the user (behind the scenes/on a server)


cx, servicedesign, and maps