Customer Journey Mapping

Journey mapping helps you visualize how customers experience your product or service, and how they feel along the way. Scroll to step 6 for a real-life example from one of our product teams!


Understand the customer journey from a specific persona's perspective so that you can design a better experience.

If you're struggling with shared understanding , proof of concept or customer centricity on your Health Monitor, running this play might help.

Copy link to heading Copied! Read more

Few things hurt software makers more than seeing something like this:
Tweet: dear @atlassian, the


Feedback like that is a good (if painful) reminder that although we do indeed use our own products – every. single. day. – we don't necessarily use them the same ways our customers do, or for the same tasks. Whether we're building a product or running a service, it's all too easy to forget how much institutional knowledge we have, and assume our customers have it, too. Or get so wrapped up in optimizing the most exciting use cases that we neglect the less glamourous ones.

No matter how mature your product or service is, it's always the right time to step into your customer's shoes so you can deliver what they need.


Get a diverse cross-section of skills and experience involved. Likely some combination of the following:

  • Experts in what customers go through in this context, such as a customer support agent, developer, or user researcher
  • Service owner or the project's full-time owner
  • Individuals on the front lines of providing the service
  • Individuals on the front lines of making the product

Teams that provide an internal-facing service benefit from pulling an internal customer into the session. Be sure to designate a facilitator and scribe for the session, too.

User Team

4 - 8

Pencil icon
Prep Time

15 min

Measure Clock

90 min

Difficulty Easy


Running the play

Depending on how many touchpoints along the customer journey you're mapping, you might break the journey into stages and tackle each stage in pairs.




Sticky notes

Timer Template

Confluence Template

Define the map's scope (15 min)

Ideally, customer journey mapping focuses on the experience of a single persona in a single scenario with a single goal. Else, the journey map will be too generic, and you'll miss out on opportunities for new insights and questions. You may need to pause creating a customer journey map until you have defined your customer personas. Your personas should be informed by customer interviews, as well as data wherever possible.

Saying that, don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Sometimes a team just needs to get started, and you can agree to revisit with more rigor in  a few months' time. Once scope is agreed on, check your invite list to make sure you've got people who know the details of what customers experience when using your product or service.

Step 1

Set the stage (5 min)

It's really important that your group understands the user persona and the goal driving their journey. Decide on or recap with your group the target persona and the scope of the journey being explored in your session. Make sure to pre-share required reading with the team at least a week ahead of your session to make sure everyone understands the persona, scope of the journey, and has a chance to delve deeper into research and data where needed. Even better- invite the team to run or attend the customer interviews to hear from customers first hand!

E.g. "We're going to focus on the Alana persona. Alana's role is project manager, and her goal is to find a scalable way for her team to share their knowledge so they spend less time explaining things over email. We're going to map out what it's like for Alana to evaluate Confluence for this purpose, from the point where she clicks that TRY button, to the point where she decides to buy it – or not."

Step 2

Build a customer back-story (10 min)

Have the group use sticky notes to post up reasons why your target persona would be on this journey in the first place. Odds are, you'll get a range of responses: everything from high-level goals, to pain points, to requested features or services. Group similar ideas and groom the stickies so you can design a story from them.

These narratives should be inspired by actual customer interviews. But each team member will also bring a different perspective to the table that helps to broaden the lens.

Take a look at the example provided in the call out of this section. This back story starts with the pain points – the reasons why Alana would be wanting something like Confluence in the first place.

  • E.g., "Her team's knowledge is in silos"

Then it basically has a list of requirements – what Alana is looking for in a product to solve the bottom pain points. This is essentially a mental shopping list for the group to refer to when mapping out the customer journey.

  • E.g., "Provide structure"

Then it has the outcomes – goals that Alana wants to achieve by using the product

  • E.g., "To keep my team focused on their work instead of distracted by unnecessary emails and shoulder-taps"

And finally the highest-level goal for her and her team.

  • E.g., "Improve team efficiency"

Round off the back story by getting someone to say out loud what they think the overall story so far is, highlighting the main goals the customer has. This ensures a shared understanding that will inform the journey mapping, and improve the chances that your team will map it from the persona's point of view (not their own).

  • E.g., "Alana and her team are frustrated by having to spend so much time explaining their work to each other, and to stakeholders. They want a way to share their knowledge, and organize it so it's easy for people outside their team to find, so they can focus more energy on the tasks at hand."
Content search
For example...

Here's a backstory the Confluence team created. 

Step 3

Map what the customer thinks and feels (30-60 min)

With the target persona, back story, and destination in place, it's time to walk a mile in their shoes. Show participants how to get going by writing the first thing that the persona does on a sticky note. The whole group can then grab stickies and markers and continue plotting the journey one action at a time.

This can also include questions and decisions! If the journey branches based on the answers or choices, have one participant map out each path. Keep in mind that the purpose of this Play is to build empathy for, and a shared understanding of the customer for the team. In order to do this, we focus on mapping the current state of one discrete end to end journey, and looking for opportunities for improvement.

To do a more comprehensive discovery and inform strategy, you will need to go deeper on researching and designing these journey maps, which will need to split up over multiple sessions. Take a look at the variation below for tipes on how to design a completely new customer journey.

Status check
Pro Tip

Use different color sticky notes for actions, questions, decisions, etc. so it's easier to see each element when you look at the whole map.

For each action on the customer journey, capture which channels are used for the interactions. Depending on your context, channels might include a website, phone, email, postal mail, face-to-face, and/or social media.

It might also help to visually split the mapping area in zones, such as "frontstage" (what the customer experiences) versus "backstage" (what systems and processes are active in the background).

Journey mapping can open up rich discussion, but try to avoid delving into the wrong sort of detail. The idea is to explore the journey and mine it for opportunities to improve the experience instead of coming up with solutions on the spot. It's important not only to keep the conversation on track, but also to create an artefact that can be easily referenced in the future. Use expands or footnotes in the Confluence template to capture any additional context while keeping the overview stable.

Try to be the commentator, not the critic. And remember: you're there to call out what’s going on for the persona, not explain what’s going on with internal systems and processes.

To get more granular on the 'backstage' processes required to provide the 'frontstage' customer value, consider using Confluence Whiteboard's Service Blueprint template as a next step to follow up on this Play.

lightning bolt

Your map has heaps of branches and loops.

Your scope is probably too high-level. Map a specific journey that focuses on a specific task, rather than mapping how a customer might explore for the first time.

Step 4

Map the pain points (10-30 min)

"Ok, show me where it hurts." Go back over the map and jot down pain points on sticky notes. Place them underneath the corresponding touchpoints on the journey. Where is there frustration? Errors? Bottlenecks? Things not working as expected?

For added value, talk about the impact of each pain point. Is it trivial, or is it likely to necessitate some kind of hack or work-around. Even worse: does it cause the persona to abandon their journey entirely?

Step 5

Chart a sentiment line (15 min)

(Optional, but totally worth it.) Plot the persona's sentiment in an area under your journey map, so that you can see how their emotional experience changes with each touchpoint. Look for things like:

  • Areas of sawtooth sentiment – going up and down a lot is pretty common, but that doesn't mean it's not exhausting for the persona.
  • Rapid drops – this indicates large gaps in expectations, and frustration.
  • Troughs – these indicate opportunities for lifting overall sentiments.
  • Positive peaks – can you design an experience that lifts them even higher? Can you delight the persona and inspire them to recommend you?

Remember that pain points don't always cause immediate drops in customer sentiment. Sometimes some friction may even buold trust (consider requiring verification for example). A pain point early in the journey might also result in negative feelings later on, as experiences accumulate. 

Status check
Pro Tip

Having customers in the session to help validate and challenge the journey map means you'll be more confident what comes out of this session. 

Step 6

Analyse the big picture (15 min)

As a group, stand back from the journey map and discuss trends and patterns in the experience.

  • Where are the areas of greatest confusion/frustration?
  • Where is the journey falling short of expectations?
  • Are there any new un-met needs that have come up for the user type?
  • Are there areas in the process being needlessly complicated or duplicated? Are there lots of emails being sent that aren’t actually useful? 

Then, discuss areas of opportunity to improve the experience. E.g., are there areas in the process where seven steps could be reduced to three? Is that verification email actually needed?

You can use quantitative data to validate the impact of the various opportunity areas identified. A particular step may well be a customer experience that falls short, but how many of your customers are actually effected by that step? Might you be better off as a team focused on another higher impact opportunity?

Content search
For example...

Here's a user onboarding jouney map our Engaging First Impressions team created.

Nailed it?

Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.



Instead of mapping the current experience, map out an experience you haven't delivered yet. You can map one that simply improves on existing pain points, or design an absolutely visionary amazeballs awesome experience!

Just make sure to always base your ideas on real customer interviews and data. When designing a totally new customer journey, it can also be interesting to map competitor or peer customer journeys to find inspiration. Working on a personalised service? How do they do it in grocery? What about fashion? Finance?


After the mapping session, create a stakeholder summary. What pain points have the highest impact to customers' evaluation, adoption and usage of our products? What opportunities are there, and which teams should know about them? What is your action plan to resolve these pain points? Keep it at a summary level for a fast share out of key takeaways.

For a broader audience, or to allow stakeholders to go deeper, you could also create a write-up of your analysis and recommendations you came up with, notes captured, photos of the group and the artefacts created on a Confluence page. A great way of sharing this information is in a video walk through of the journey map. Loom is a great tool for this as viewers can comment on specific stages of the journey. This can be a great way to inspire change in your organization and provide a model for customer-centric design practices.


Now that you have interviewed your customers and created your customer journey map, circle back to your customers and validate! And yes: you might learn that your entire map is invalid and have to start again from scratch. (Better to find that out now, versus after you've delivered the journey!) Major initiatives typically make multiple journey maps to capture the needs of multiple personas, and often iterate on each map. Remember not to set and forget. Journeys are rapidly disrupted, and keeping your finger on the pulse of your customer's reality will enable your team to pivot (and get results!) faster when needed.

Related Plays

    Customer Interview

    Project Poster

Want even more Playbook?

Drop your email below to be notified when we add new Health Monitors and plays.

Thanks! Now get back to work.

Got feedback?

Drop a question or comment on the Atlassian Community site.