The format of a blueprint

Now let’s learn about the format of the blueprint.

Your scenario

The top layer of the blueprint is where you have your scenario, broken down into specific steps. This is the end-to-end view of what is happening in your service during this particular scenario.

Scenarios should be informed by customer data. You can do user research to understand the experiences that your customers are having and use a customer journey to help inform the scenario you will be blueprinting, or you can have client-facing subject matter experts who are deeply familiar with the customer experience (and have access to customer data) help prepare the scenario ahead of time.

The layers

The layers that go below your scenario are the surface-to-core of how your organization delivers your service. As you create your blueprint, you will use these layers as a checklist to dig into each step and paint the picture of what is happening and capture any insights the team has.

The top layers of the blueprint:

  • Step definition: Define what is happening in that step
  • Touchpoint: A point of interaction between the customer and the service
  • Actor: A person in the service scenario—either the customer, service staff, or 3rd parties involved in service delivery
  • System: Technology systems that support the service
  • Policy: Rules or regulations that apply to aspects of the service
  • Information: Facts or observations relevant to the step
  • Metric: Data or statistics about this step

These top layers help to paint the picture of what is happening in the step, capturing the reality of your service and how it is delivered.

The bottom layers:

  • Question: Questions that you have about the step that need to be followed up on
  • Critical moment: sources of pain and experience breakdown (potential or actual) – what can go wrong in this step
  • Opportunity: “ah-ha” realizations, ideas, or opportunities to improve or fix for a broader impact

These bottom layers help you identify actionable insights for the team to put the output of your blueprint to work.

Visible and hidden steps

Visible steps

Visible steps are steps that are visible to the customer. You can indicate a visible step with a light step definition or a light colored background.

Hidden steps

Hidden steps are steps that happen behind the scenes, like staff or system actions that are part of backstage processes for service delivery. You can indicate hidden steps by using a dark sticky or a dark background.


We suggest you divide your blueprint into phases, like “sign up” and “customer support” to help you and your stakeholders understand a higher-level view of what is happening across your scenario. Phases can also help you uncover who you need in your blueprinting session by mapping the phases to the business units that support that phase.


By stacking up all your layers instead of using swimlanes (like a more traditional blueprinting format), the blueprint acts as a heatmap to help you see where things are happening. For example, where you have the most systems, or the most actors, or the most breakdowns or opportunities.

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