Issue 6 - March 2019

One huge benefit of Simon Wardley's work is persuading a bunch of nerds who had written off strategy as hand wavy quadrants, PowerPoint, and buzzword soup... that strategy is hard, important, accessible, and fun.

John Cutler

Welcome to March edition of Mapping Maps — a monthly newsletter on all things Wardley Maps! Here's sharing with you this month's best of curated stuff on mapping. 

Let's begin with key takeaways from Simon Wardley's Twitter -

Managing Flow Across Teams

"The real tick, is to prioritise evolutionary flow [B] (which most ignore) over process flow [A] "

Overcoming Inertia in an Organisation

"There are many chasm in the evolution of single act because evolution consists of many diffusion curves. Three chasms are particularly strong  (when we cross stages of evolution) - we call them inertia barriers"

Learning from a Tea Shop.. again!

Fascinating to see how the "green" and "fair trade" elements translate into additional user needs and change the face of a tea shop's map - 

Turning a Commodity into a Luxury Item

"Two methods -

1) limited supply (e.g. gold) [A]
2) "assign" the commodity with some other need e.g. social, status or artificial [B]. You need to "pet rock" the commodity (see Gary Dahl)"

On Movement from Genesis to Commodity

"To give an analogy, it is like the laggards finally accepting "swords over clubs", just as the majority are accepting "muskets" and the winners / losers are being decided in general purpose machines guns ... 30 - 50 years is devastatingly fast."

Maps as Advanced Form of Visual Storytelling

"Ever tried co-ordinating the movement of 10,000 troops with verbal stories or managing complex worldwide supply chains with this?"

Mapping and Culture

"Culture is more commonly brought up with management methods and normally in the form of an excuse i.e. the method is right just your culture is wrong, similar to the old line of "the strategy is right, it's your execution"


Here's a collection interesting maps shared by the community this month -


Waymo Commoditizing Sensors

Other than an insightful discussion in the Twitter thread that follows between Chris Daniel and John Grant, the article itself seems to be a perfect case study on concepts like commoditization, ILC and so on -

“As we scale our fleet and build more cars, we need to make sure the cost of the sensor suite comes down as well,” Simon Verghese, the head of Waymo’s lidar team, said in an interview. “We’re excited to see what people might do with this and to explore whether some of these spinoff technologies give us another pillar to our business.”

The strategy for Waymo isn’t simply to generate revenue but to  lower costs with increased production. Further - 

"The development curve is similar to Moore’s Law in computer chips: Every 18 months, lidar sensor resolution doubles and the price drops by half. “That whole cost curve and drive of volume is what’s opening new industries,” Bertini said in an interview, before learning of Waymo’s plans."

Quite relevant to bring about this quote from Simon Wardley on commoditization -

"It's not the innovation of an act but the industrialisation of an act that dramatically causes change and enables the adajcent unexplored to be explored. Industrialisation is the key driver to progress.

Y-axis Matters?

On the subject of Y-axis on a map merely being an instrument for learning, Alastair Moore shared above map making the case for significance of component positioning across Y-axis. Intriguing discussion! Where are you on the Y-axis in this debate?

Mapping A Delivery Lead's Work

Peter Pito shared above extremly detailed map based visualization of a Software Delivery Lead's challenging work. A lot to learn here!

My goal in life is to one day sit in a conference and listen to some person shred my maps, to show me where I went wrong and present a better map. At that point, I'll be happy knowing that the field has a life of its own.

 — Simon Wardley


Here's a round up of a few write ups on mapping shared this month -

Mapping Finance

Two fascinating articles outlining how to effectively map and measure financial aspects of projects relative the value they deliver -

Don’t Lose Sight of Value
Chris Daniel offers advice to CFOs on how to understand the value of projects in an organization and express the impact as a financial metric -

"Visualizing the project through a range of tools such as value chain diagrams or Wardley Maps can help even more in breaking large projects into small, manageable parts and identifying the uncertainty associated with them. This process creates high situational awareness — you learn what will be done, cost structure, and key risks."

FinDev and Serverless Microeconomics
In spirit of Worth Based Development, Aleksandar Simovic writes an important post which I know I will keep re-reading many times in the future.

"All of serverless’s implications can be summarized by stating that serverless is bringing business value back into the focus of software... It’s the focus on business value, the serverless pay-per-use business model, FinDev practices, “Build vs Outsource,” “Build vs Optimize,” lower business risk, and a lower break-even point, along with the variable business model, that might change the tide of business software."

Applying Mapping

There were a number of interesting real world applications of mapping on varying subjects -

Diversity, or more likely, lack of diversity is a major problem as it means we have limited our access to a broad range of ideas. From biological systems to organisations, a lack of diversity in options and thought is never a good idea.

 — Simon Wardley


Wardley Maps Community Interview

John Grant and Ben Mosior are joined by Seb Shaw in an interesting discussion where they talk about learning and applying mapping.

An enjoyable conversation indeed with range of questions like acceptance of technique by a team, tools used for mapping etc. My favorite one being the one on seeing Wardley Mapping in a candidate's resume? :-) 

Wardley Mapping - Chapter 1 Summary

Ben Mosior shares a video with an engaging story as a summary of Chapter 1 of the Wardley Maps book. Also check more awesome videos on his channel and website. They are worth every minute of your time if you are really interested in learning mapping.

Fireside Chat: Brave New World of Software

A new video has come up featuring great insights from Simon Wardley and James Governor in a panel discussion from GOTO 2018. A great watch with, other than enjoyable jokes on Oracle, lots of great insights on how Amazon operates, ILC, Cloud, Serverless, future of software development and so on.

The Art of Strategy

I really enjoyed watching Erik Schön's keynote at ALD2019. He covers a lot in his story on an overview of strategy from Sun Tzu, John Boyd and eventually Wardley Mapping and sharing important lessons learnt along the way.


Mapping Evolution

A terrific tool shared by Tristan Slominski for determining where to place components on the evolution axis of a map simply based on answers to a set of few questions.

I believe it can be of great help to promote discussion in workshops among teams - on the all important question of where a component sits on X-axis of a map (checkout Simon's cheat sheet on the same here).


Julius Gamanyi generously outlines here why he recommends to use drawio to make Wardley Maps. I really like the simplicity and verstaility of this tool.


A quick review of mapping related events in the month of March -

Agile Scotland

Thanks to Marc Burgauer, you can find here snapshots of panel discussion including Simon Wardley and Dave Snowden.

Deep Dive

Here's a link to interview with Simon Wardley on Agile Australia website.

Check here awesome slides of Philippe Guenet's talk on State of Agile using Wardley Maps at
Curated with 🧡 by Harprit
I would love to hear your feedback -
Wardley Mapping is provided courtesy of Simon Wardley, CC BY-SA 4.0 

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