How to build a customer-centric product process

Melanie Broder - Content Creator and Coordinator
    Journey Management for Product Teams

    Learn how to transform your product process from inside-out to outside-in with Journey Management.

    Product managers love working with TheyDo. It shows you what products to build, from the user’s point of view. That's the beauty of Journey Management.

    This sounds intuitive, but in reality, it’s not how most teams work. Many Product orgs are stuck in an inside-out loop, where leaders determine the roadmap based on what they think customers need, coupled with what can be shipped fastest. In order to escape this inside-out thinking, as well as escape the trap of backlog management, you need to reverse the strategy. 

    To consistently deliver customer value, product orgs need to work outside-in: start with user needs, and go from there. 

    With a Journey-based methodology, PMs can quickly tie solutions back to problems in the customer lifecycle, and track success based on customer feedback. 

    In this article, we’ll show you how Journey Management improves existing product workflows, and connects customer value to business outcomes. We’ll also show you how to implement Journey Management in your organization using TheyDo. Because we don’t want to steal your product managers — we want to help them succeed. 

    What is Journey Management?

    “I think this is a great opportunity to start basing your strategy on real customer insights. You put the customer at the center of your strategy. So it's pure customer-centricity. TheyDo helps you define your product strategy and roadmap and manage your prioritization. It's a better way of framing and discovering topics.”
    -Naiara Pupo, PM at TheyDo

    TL;DR: Journey Management is a way of organizing product workflows around the customer journey.

    If you’re a PM, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of a design system, which explains the product vision and a standardized process for executing that vision. Design systems typically consist of four areas:

    • A design language

    • Design documentation

    • Components libraries

    • Staging areas

    Product and Design teams manage the design system, as they usually are the only ones to use it.

    The customer journey is a part of most design systems already – but it’s not the central focus. Most teams think of Journeys as one-time exercises: you take a few customer quotes, map the journey on a whiteboard, add it to your documentation, and forget about it. 

    Journey Management recognizes the customer journey as the nucleus around which all business operations, including product design, orbit. In a Journey-centric workflow, Product orgs draw from the same customer data that Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success all use to make decisions about what to build and how to prioritize projects. With this framework, you can create better alignment across your organization, as well as happier customers across the board. 

    Shifting from product-led to customer-led

    A common misconception about the customer journey is that it’s based around interactions with your product. 

    Rather, the customer journey is the sum-total experience a customer has while trying to do a job, accomplish a task or solve a problem — within the context of your product, and outside of it.

    The goal of Journey Management is not to solve a customer’s problems with your product, but to solve your customer’s problems, full stop. Journey Management puts the product roadmap in service of the customer journey. Instead of taking an inside-out approach to product development, it works from the outside-in.  

    Once you shift your mindset from product-led to customer-led, your product team’s goals naturally start to align with overall business goals, because you are optimizing for customer satisfaction. Just because you can build something doesn’t mean you should. In fact, being a feature factory often leads to unnecessary complexity and lack of clarity.

    Investing in journey research, mapping, and management will show you how to continuously innovate and grow your product offerings, while keeping customers loyal, happy, and likely to return. Therefore, your work shifts from designing and shipping great products to designing and shipping great experiences. 

    The benefits of Journey Management for Product teams

    The primary role of Journey Management for Product teams is to connect customer outcomes, through the product, with business outcomes that benefit both. 

    More specifically, PMs can use Journey Management to: 

    • Track customer pains, gains, needs, and jobs-to-be-done in real-time

    • Highlight and prioritize user needs that occur multiple times throughout the lifecycle

    • Measure the impact of product decisions on customer satisfaction (CSAT) and revenue

    • Connect several products, each with their own journeys, under one roof (internal alignment)

    • Build 'sticky' product engines

    'Sticky' product engines are created when teams focus on solving the right problems at the right times. People are more likely to engage with and stick around for solutions rooted in user data and validated by user research. The resulting products solve true pains, and delight people enough to differentiate your brand from the competition.

    Journey Management is not just a way of bringing CX into the Product process; it actually delivers proven ROI for businesses. It increases revenue, saves time and money, and builds customer loyalty and satisfaction.

    It’s a way of reimagining the scale of impact your product can have on the people using it every day.

    How to implement a journey-led product development process

    By now, hopefully we’ve convinced you of the value of Journey Management. Now, let’s get into how it actually works.

    You may already be familiar with the Double Diamond design system. With problem discovery at one end and product delivery at the other, the Double Diamond safeguards against building solutions without problems.


    However, there are limitations to the Double Diamond system:

    1. It’s linear once a solution is built, the problem is supposedly solved forever.

    2. Validation isn’t baked in — problems are defined and solutions are developed without properly validating the user problem and the chosen solution.

    Journey Management improves on the Double Diamond by adding a diamond. The Triple Diamond is a useful model for how to think about implementing Journey Management in organizations, especially large ones.

    It consists of three phases:

    • Problem discovery: Identifying the core problems to solve, by researching the current customer experience.

    • Solution discovery: Defining how to address the core problems, by using idea generation and validation.

    • Solution delivery: Implementing the prioritized Solutions and measuring their impact.

    The Triple Diamond is not a linear model, it’s a circular one. So each diamond (and each convergence point feeds into the next, and so on and so forth.


    We’ve written a deep-dive into the Triple Diamond in this guide to Journey Management Workflow if you’re interested in learning more.

    The way it looks in practice is this: 

    1. Customer research (interviews, surveys, and feedback) is mapped onto customer journeys in a shared workspace, such as TheyDo. 

    2. Major pain points are identified, mapped, and marked as opportunities.

    3. Observations and feedback are marked as insights.

    4. Opportunities are prioritized and scored according to the organization’s own scoring method. A few opportunities rise to the top that are aligned with team, user, and business goals. 

    5. Those opportunities are then validated with users to ensure the need is still high.

    6. The team researches various solutions to the opportunities. They choose a few.

    7. Those solutions are validated by customers.

    8. The solutions are developed, beta-tested, and shipped. 

    The Triple Diamond is not an entirely new model. For those already working with a Double Diamond, or with the two-track Agile model of discovery/delivery, it is a natural progression. The middle diamond, solution discovery (steps , underscores the duty of a PM to spend more time in discovery—uncovering opportunities, uncovering solutions— and not rushing directly to the delivery stage.

    How TheyDo helps Product Managers

    TheyDo is a dedicated tool for Journey Management, and therefore is instrumental to a customer-centric workflow for product-led organizations. In TheyDo you can:

    • Map and organize customer journeys

    • View the complete product workflow in one place, from pains, gains and needs, to opportunities and solutions

    • Prioritize opportunities before jumping into the solutions workflow

    • Add context to product decisions and provide evidence for stakeholders

    • Place qualitative and quantitative customer data side-by-side

    • Trace every solution back to its origin in customer research, creating organizational memory and ensuring continuity across your products and services

    • Do it all in one place.

    Of course we’re biased, but Journey Management is truly a game-changer for PMs who want to shift away from a 'just ship it', top-down mentality, into an intentional way of working that puts customer needs and innovation at the forefront.

    Simplify your workflow while maximizing value for customers

    You probably don’t even realize that you’re already practicing Journey Management. If your PM workflow already incorporates user research, journey maps, solution discovery and scoring, you’ve got all the components to work in a journey-centric way.

    Journey Management simply brings it all under one roof, in one strategy and one tool. Using a journey as the framework, your Product team can focus its efforts on the highest-value opportunities for both the business and the customer. You can optimize for building things that people request while also driving innovation and growth.

    TheyDo streamlines all this information in a visual and collaborative environment, reducing the need for additional apps and services.

    At the end of the day, Journey Management is Product Management — it helps you build the best solutions for your customers and your business, at the right times.

    Try TheyDo for free today.

    The Authors
    Melanie Broder
    Content Creator and Coordinator