“The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts”

- Designing a Strategy for the Entire Journey

Over my career, I have had unique experiences working in UX either in-house at large organizations or working with these larger groups as a client.

One of the common friction points that I have found comes from the newer POD workflow of these in-house teams. For those of you that aren’t familiar with this team structure, these are often referred to as: PODS or small teams that consist of usually one or two: UX researcher(s), designer(s), a front-end dev(s), back-end developer and a business analyst that are focused on the business goals and initiatives for one particular interaction channel.


In this structure, we have all these small groups that are hyper-focused on one of the many channels in the ecosystem. In my experience, I have found that this structure is often lacking in the strategic and seamless implementation across all channels.  Customer’s now expect that their journey will transition from one channel to the next with zero effort and they expect that they will pick up where they left off.


These small teams/groups are often found siloed and focused on a particular goal or initiative for one digital product/channel in the organization. However, they are missing the important piece where the individual teams come together and collaborate, align and test their work (as a whole) to ensure that the five key elements for generating usable omni-channel experiences are incorporated in their goals.


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According to the user researchers at The Nielsen Norman Group,
they have identified that there are five key elements of a usable Omnichannel experience:

• Consistent

• Optimized

• Seamless 

• Orchestrated

• Collaborative

The truth of the matter is, (as an organization) we need to be focused on the entire omni-channel ecosystem and to prevent ourselves from just focusing on the goals for individual channels that customers interact with.  It’s important to see the entire omni-channel ecosystem as a whole and understand that the connection between all of these channels is the entire customer journey. In essence, we need to truly understand what that entire customer journey is and prevent being hyper-focused on a piece of that journey; instead strategize around the entire journey (as a whole).


Today, larger companies and retailers have a number of different channels: mobile applications, emails, social media, eCommerce, kiosk systems, customer service and product configurators (to name a few). This list is continuously growing into our future with the release of new devices and interaction channels. The growth of these channels into the future will also make this seamless strategy across all channels that much more necessary. 

“If one channel interaction is broken, the entire customer experience is interrupted.”

A tip for improving the entire journey within your organization:  

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It’s important to add the step in the internal workflow to allow teams to share progress with other team members in other PODS/groups. In the Agile workflow, this can be inserted as part of the Retrospective. Inserting this step, will allow these small teams to join forces with the team leads that are working on products that cross over into other channels.  These teams need to be in constant collaboration (with each other), communicate and find alignment as they push forward trying to meet the business goals that are tied to their assigned channel. Furthermore, they should be building test cases that include the crossover into other channels. Teams should be testing the full journey tied to particular tasks that they are updating/improving, test their updates (themselves) and test their updates with users before moving their changes into a production environment. When inserting this method, this should catch inconsistencies and any disconnect between the different channels prior to pushing their updates into a production environment. Furthermore, eliminating the chance of negatively impacting the customer journey.

 For more strategic insights or information around how I can help your organization find alignment and a seamless strategy for the entire customer journey, please feel free to connect and reach out to discuss further: nikki@wolfeandsmith.com


Nikki WolfeComment