User Empathy Mapping is a great way to visualize what your users' need to help ground your team. Cultivating empathy, and putting ourselves in the shoes of our users is the best first step to impactful product design.
This exercise could also be flipped to instead better understand the needs of a team, or key stakeholder on a project that needs some TLC, etc.
People: 2 - 10+
Length: 20 - 30 minutes
Ahead of your workshop, define what user group you will focus on
Select a visual that portrays them
1.1 Add details of what you know up-front so your team has the same mental model of who you're defining
2. Gather together cross-functional key people who have insight into this user group and work together across each quadrant to answer what they're saying, thinking, feeling, and doing.
3. Take a step back and analyze / synthesize what you see - are there gaps, patterns, trouble spots to address?
Front-loading an empathy mapping session with known research can help bolster your workshop exercise. This also helps to ensure your user isn't defined with just adhoc knowledge.
This can be a great jump-start to defining your users, but don't stop with this exercise - seek to validate / invalidate what you've identified, and as you refine your understanding consider creating a user persona as a next step to really rally your teams around