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Micro and Macro Journeys

Customer journeys can have various scales and scopes. Before you start mapping steps, a key consideration is where a journey should start and end, and how 'detailed' it should be.


This guide goes in-depth on the differences between micro and macro Journeys, and how you can work with both in TheyDo. First of all, let’s go over the differences between Micro and Macro journeys. We’ll start with the difference between micro and macro journeys.

‘Micro’ and ‘macro’ journeys can also be referred to as ‘main’ and ‘sub’-journeys

Macro Journeys


Macro journeys provide a high-level overview of an experience, or even a customer lifecycle. They can be used to map processes from a more zoomed-out perspective. They often include the most important high-level insights, opportunities, and solutions. Creating a macro journey can be a good place to start when you don’t know much about a certain topic yet. From there on you can then determine what processes might be useful to explore in more detail using micro journeys. Macro journeys have the following characteristics:

  • Steps can be seen as ‘clusters’ that summarise multiple customer actions or micro journeys.

  • Many results or customer goals are achieved throughout a macro journey.

  • There can be (long) breaks between steps.

  • Steps are not necessarily followed in chronological order. People can take multiple paths between steps.

  • A macro journey can be split up into multiple micro journeys.

  • The steps in a macro journey often jump between different channels or locations.

  • In a Journey Framework, macro journeys often span across the full length of a journey board, or even across multiple boards. It can help to match your journey phases to your board stages; this means your journey has the same level of zoom as your journey board.

See a macro journey in action.

Micro Journeys


Micro journeys provide a detailed overview of an experience. They often describe a chronological process that a person can complete in (nearly) one go, without breaks, changing channel, or location. They come in handy when you want to zoom in on a small part of an experience. They are ideal for mapping very detailed customer insights, opportunities, and solutions. Typical examples are detailed UX or interaction flows. Micro journeys have the following characteristics:

  • They have a detail level where every step describes one customer action; for example, one UI screen per step.

  • They achieve a single result or customer goal.

  • Within a micro journey, steps are mostly followed in chronological order.

  • A micro journey often takes place within one specific channel.

  • Between micro journeys, people can take many different paths.

  • They often start and end with a break in the flow; a moment where a customer has to wait, changes location, or changes channels.

  • Multiple micro journeys can be combined into macro journeys or journey frameworks.

  • In a Journey Framework, micro journeys often fit inside a single board stage.

See a micro journey in action.

Comparison between micro and macro Journeys


The comparison above summarises the differences between macro and micro journeys.

Should you use micro or macro journeys?

Macro Journey

TheyDo supports working with both micro and macro journeys. Each serves different purposes, and you will often need both to create a complete picture. The journey framework makes sure that you can map them in one overview.

  • One macro journey that spans across a full framework, summarising the board in a high-level journey.

  • Multiple micro journeys that explore specific areas or journey variations in more detail.

Tip: Make sure that everyone in your organization is aware of the difference between micro and macro journeys before they start mapping. Instructing them, showing an example board with macro and micro journeys in it, and tagging journeys with ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ tags can all help to prevent confusion.

The case for micro journeys only

While TheyDo supports both micro and macro journeys, splitting up your journey into micro journeys alone can have some advantages. That’s because smaller journeys are:

  • Easier to (re)arrange: Smaller journeys are more ‘modular’, and easier to link to an (existing) journey framework. Frameworks made up of smaller journeys are easier to re-arrange when you expand your knowledge or change your offering. Think of journeys as lego blocks; smaller lego blocks are easier to fit or re-arrange in an existing structure than big ones. Read more about this in our guide on creating journey frameworks.

  • Easier to manage: It will be easier to delegate ownership, track status, or update smaller journeys than bigger ones. This is similar to how large challenges are split into smaller parts in lean and agile methodology.

  • Better for mapping non-linear, multi-channel experiences: Macro journeys often reduce complex pathways between multiple channels into linear, chronological processes. That is a great way to explore a new topic, or to create a simplified overview. In reality however, the customer experience looks much more like a multitude of micro journeys across many channels through which customers can take many different paths. TheyDo’s journey framework helps you to capture that more realistic depiction of reality, without sacrificing clarity.

  • Prevent double work: When you use macro and micro journeys in parallel, you create multiple sources of truth; since you use both macro steps and more detailed micro journeys to describe the same processes. That might result in double work, reduced overview, and extra management.


What is the difference between journey board stages, and journey phases?

There are two key rules of thumb to keep in mind when defining your journey board stages. Board stages should be created in such a way that they can fit micro journeys like a glove. So they should cover:

  1. Processes that customers can generally complete in one go, without any major breaks.

  2. Processes that result in solving a single customer goal or job (one that cannot be split much further into more detailed customer jobs).

There are no such clear rules when it comes to journey phases on the other hand. How journey phases are defined depends fully on the level of detail of the journey. But we can say something about micro and macro journeys:

  • For macro journeys, you might often want to match your journey phases to your board stages; your journey board and your journey will have the same level of detail in that case.

  • For micro journeys however, the detail level can be much higher; you might have many journey phases that fit within a single board stage.