How to do a needs assessment? Part 2: Empathy Map

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To figure out how to improve a process, we must first understand what issues/problems/pain points each stakeholder in the process faces. To do this we will need to create a shared understanding of what the issues are for each stakeholder involved in the process. An Empathy Mapping helps us build this shared understanding.


The objective of the exercise is to create an empathy map for each stakeholder in a Process Mapping Canvas by:

  1. Mapping out what task each stakeholder does? Use the Tasks from the Process Mapping Canvas.
  2. Mapping out what pain points a stakeholder faces when trying to do those tasks? Pain points are issues that prevent stakeholders from improving the process KPIs outlined in the Process Mapping Canvas.
  3. Mapping out what the gains would be if we were able to solve the pain points? Gains are the improvements in the process KPIs if the pain points were to be eliminated.


  • 3 different coloured sticky notes 
  • Permanent marker 
  • Process stakeholders
  • Empathy Mapping Canvas template (optional)
  • RealtimeBoard Software (optional)


  1. Each stakeholder takes their role (green sticky notes) and places the role at the top of the Empathy Mapping Canvas. They take the tasks (yellow sticky notes) and place those in the tasks area of the Empathy Mapping Canvas. 
  1. For each task, stakeholders identify issues they have with performing the tasks and add these issues to the pains area of the canvas. Issues raised should have some sort of negative impact on a processes KPIs. Ensure that there is one issue per sticky note.
  1. For each pain, stakeholders identify what the gains would be if we were to solve their pains. Gains identified should have some sort of positive impact on a processes KPIs. Ensure that there is one gain per sticky note.
  1. When completed you should have something like the above. This is the empathy mapping canvas. 

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