PRODUCTHEAD: Service mapping for product managers

PRODUCTHEAD: Service mapping for product managers

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

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Service maps help teams and stakeholders to understand interactions with a service across touchpoints over time

They provide a visual representation of an abstract and often wide-reaching process

Think of your service like a theatre: front stage, backstage and behind the scenes

Service maps help your team to tell their story to the wider organisation

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


If you’ve had a chance to work with a skilled user researcher or designer before, you’ll know what a difference their training and expertise makes to the quality, depth and speed of working.

As product managers, we often find ourselves working in situations where we’d really love to have specialists working with us on our team. The problem is that we’re not always afforded that luxury. Instead have to compromise by doing the best we can on our own.

We do this not because we believe these other disciplines to be something a keen amateur can pick up quickly, but because doing some rudimentary research and design is better than ploughing forward with none at all.

Every product manager should be able to conduct and analyse discovery interviews and usability tests. I also think every product manager should be able to create a service map.

A service map is a way of visualising the overall process that users go through when interacting with your organisation’s products and services.

While you can certainly use a service map to understand where and how the user journey could be improved, it also can show where your organisation could become more efficient, for example by removing redundant or duplicated processes.

Something I often hear when a team maps out an existing service for the first time is that nobody has ever drawn out the whole user journey before. Individual teams, perhaps working in silos, may have a good sense of how their parts of the service work, but have little to no idea about how the rest do.

Working in this blinkered way can lead to inconsistency and inadvertent process duplication for the user. Certain design choices, when made by one team in isolation from the others, can undermine the efforts of teams working on other parts of the product.

If any of these challenges feel familiar, you may wish to learn some basic service mapping from the helpful content below, and have a go at mapping our your service with your teams. It will almost certainly not be perfect on your first try, but by doing so you can start a valuable discussion and gain insights into your product that you’d otherwise have missed.

Speak to you soon,


P.S. Introduce a friend to PRODUCTHEAD and you can win one of four free tickets to an in-person #ProductCon in San Francisco. Details below!

what to think about this week

Service mapping and different types of maps

Maps are the tools we use to make sense of the world we’re in. They’re great for starting conversations. They help teams and stakeholders to understand interactions with a service across touchpoints over time. They can be used as a research tool, for planning and operating services, and for storytelling.

It’s the activity of mapping that matters most, not the final artefacts you produce


Mapping services for the Ministry of Justice

I have been working with the Civil Claims project where we have been building process maps to help understand the service from the perspective of both the business and the user combined. These have been immensely useful, as they mean we end up with a visual representation of a system that is often abstract or wide reaching. Here, I wanted to share our learnings.

Giving people a visual of the problem landscape made it easier for them to grasp it


Looking at the bigger picture

As a product manager, you don’t want to only see part of something and use that information to make your decisions. In this ProductTank Edinburgh talk, Rita Cervetto, service design lead at Kaluza provides some insights on the benefits of service mapping in product discovery and how this can help you see the bigger picture.

VIDEO: How to build a service map


Service mapping to make friends and influence stakeholders

The act of service mapping with your product team and stakeholders improves relationships and helps everyone to work collaboratively.

Here’s why.

A democratic way to prioritise problems


recent posts

Whatever this is, this web3 product manager role is not a product manager

Jason Shah wrote a guest post recently for Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter, “A Product Manager’s Guide to web3”, which describes how product management differs in web3 companies. He notes that joining a web3 company can be “an opaque process and a risky decision”. I’d add “ethically challenging and morally grey” to that description.

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”


Sorting the signal from the noise — a guide to fact-checking

One of the most important, and arguably hardest jobs we have as product managers is to work with our team to sift through information, read between the lines, and verify what is fact and what is merely opinion.

Who can you trust?


Start building a community of practice with the 3 minute challenge

When you start out as a head of product (or product director or VP product), you’ll probably need to create a community of product people. In this latest entry for my series of 100 things I’ve learned about product management, I share my advice to help you get the ball rolling with your own community of practice.

The first step is to turn up


upcoming talks and events

10th May 2022

#ProductCon San Francisco May 2022

ProductCon San Francisco May 2022

#ProductCon — in person #

The first in-person #ProductCon since 2020 is happening on May 10, 2022 in the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts 🤯

And you can go along with one of four free tickets worth $479 each!

What you need to do — easy as 1…2…3 #

❶ Get one of your fellow product people to subscribe to this lovely PRODUCTHEAD newsletter (

❷ Then (with their consent) let me know the email address they’ve used to subscribe.

❸ If they confirm their subscription, then I’ll let you know you’re in the draw to win a free ticket.

I’ll select 4 winners at random on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

Terms and conditions apply to this prize draw, please read them below before you enter.

Learn from Meta, Amazon, and Google Product Leaders #

Organized by Product School and structured around the hottest topics in Product Management, ProductCon takes place four times per year and gathers over 15,000 product professionals from all over the world. 

ProductCon highlights Product Leaders from diverse backgrounds and leaders of color. You’ll learn from inspirational Heads of Product, VPs, and CPOs from tech giants such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify, and more.

Prize draw terms and conditions #

  1. This prize draw is operated by Product People Limited (“we“, “us“, “our“).
  2. We will select the winners at random on 26 April 2022 at 16:00 BST. We will accept no entries after that time.
  3. We will contact each winner individually after the draw and will publish a list of the winners’ names with their consent in the following PRODUCTHEAD newsletter and on our website.
  4. You must be an active subscriber to this PRODUCTHEAD newsletter to participate in the prize draw.
  5. We will accept only one entry into the prize draw per person.
  6. You must be 18+ years old to enter.
  7. No purchase is required to enter.
  8. Each of the 4 winners will receive 1 ticket to #ProductCon San Francisco (May 10, 2022), which is run by Product School Inc.
  9. You must seek the consent of each email address owner before sharing their personal information with us.
  10. To qualify for entry into the prize draw:
    1. with their consent, get 1 person to subscribe to this PRODUCTHEAD newsletter at ;
    2. you need to reply to this email or contact us to let us know the email address of the person you have referred;
    3. the person you refer will receive an email asking them to confirm their subscription to PRODUCTHEAD, which they must accept;
    4. the person you refer must remain an active subscriber to PRODUCTHEAD until the winners of the prize draw are selected.
  11. The retail price of 1 ticket (as at 9 April 2022) is USD$479 (excluding VAT).
  12. Prizes may not be exchanged for their monetary value.
  13. Should #ProductCon San Francisco May 2022 be cancelled for any reason, we will offer each winner instead access free of charge to our current pre-recorded training catalogue of 4 courses (worth USD$260).

can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from the delivery of justice.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a product management and leadership coach, product leader and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, X (formerly Twitter) and LinkedIn.

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