There is a Pentagon chart that shows how complex weapons systems evolve from idea to delivery. It can be found plastered on walls throughout government agencies, defense and space manufacturers and an infinite number of service providers. The chart, known as Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Lifecycle Management System, guides thousands of individuals who share responsibilities for developing the weapon.

The chart’s effectiveness derives from visualization, even though to outsiders it might resemble a jumble of confusion, or even someone’s idea of a joke; to wit, the sum of the chart has two engineering “Vs”, a top and bottom for reviews, and dozens of boxes connected by lines and arrows, all running in parallel.

No doubt the members of the U.S. armed forces have a terrific sense of humor off duty, and at first blush the defense chart would seem characteristic. Feeding into that notion, the chart would seem to require someone’s time and glasses to make sense of it.

Yet, the chart is no joke, and for years it has served as a common language used by anyone in the process, regardless of skill, background or seniority.

Fortunately, a service blueprint is far easier to construct.

When to Use a Service Blueprint

  • Unsure of sufficient resources
  • Plan users’ journeys to accomplish desired user outcome
  • Staff and organization unsure of handoffs
  • A starting point to answer questions of performance
  • Foster collaboration – dissolve silos
  • Plan and align service operations and service systems (see The Apprentice)