Issue 2 - Nov 2018

Welcome to Mapping Maps - a monthly newsletter on all things Wardley Maps.

The value of maps is not the map but in the act of mapping, challenging, sharing and learning. At best a map provides an imperfect view of the landscape to which you then have to apply thought.

 — Simon Wardley

Hello Mapping World

So far my favorite Hello World example for introducing people to Wardley Maps has been mapping a tea shop. The feeling of getting it when you see the horror of a tea shop building its own kettles! Go here for a more recent tweetstorm on the same.

Well, now I can serve burritos with tea! Here's an excellent video by Ben Mosior for introducing Wardley Maps to beginners. He maps a burritos company and does a great job of showing movements possible once you have visualized a map.

Wardley Mapping Burritos

Maps in the Wild

Here are this month's sightings of maps as used in organizations -

Stack Overflow

Chris Hunt, Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow makes the case of using a Wardley Map to prioritize and plan a product roadmap while working with a limited work capacity. 

He tells the story of how he made a Wardley Map of Stack Overflow Enterprise, identified experimental things in the genesis stage and prioritized them to move to the right of the map using specific off the shelf solutions. And how this in turn freed his team's time to experiment with new ideas.

"You probably have a backlog of projects you want/need to start/complete. How do you know what you should be working on to make a real difference? Do you Build or Buy? How do you get management buy-in to work on a project that "only helps Operations"? I'm going to share how I used Wardley Maps to answer these questions and how Mapping The Terrain Of Operations can help you invest time and money in the right improvements at the right time."


Forrest Brazeal, while making a compelling business case for Serverless, highlights use of Wardley Maps at Trek10 as follows -

"The build-versus buy calculus can seem overwhelming, but here at Trek10 we’ve had success with Simon Wardley’s unique, freely-accessible method of business mapping. Creating a topographical representation of your business landscape can help you figure out what services to outsource, which to keep in-house, and a whole lot more."


Wardley Maps showcased at Fujitsu Forum (via @jamesgweir)


Meet, a German startup, includes the following under "What you might work on" section of a Lead Developer's job description! (via @HendricRuesch)

"Understand our competition and position by updating our Wardley Map to identify future technology that will change how we can run our business, and discuss that with the team."

Maps of the Month

Here's a collection of the most interesting maps (re)discovered this month -

Mapping Mapping

Simon Wardley made a map of mapping itself! Very interesting to see elements of Wardley Maps charted on a Wardley Map -

Mapping Conversational Programming 

A map predicting genesis of Conversational Programming as the next big thing once serverless evolves into a commodity -

Mapping AI in Healthcare

A map on healthcare with data, machine learning and trust as the main driving components -

Mapping Cynefin

Mapping and Cynefin are two wonderful ways to think about space we are operating in and make sense of what actions make sense within that context. Naturally, there's lots of interest growing in fusion of the two approaches -

A masterclass!

But we couldn't have asked for something bigger than this - the two creators, Simon & Dave, are set to meet in December for a seminal session to talk about interplay of the two approaches. Here's a short write-up with some background by Dave Snowden on this upcoming event -

"I also see this as one of the key building blocks in the whole issue of bridging strategy with practice in near real time evolutionary approaches to managing uncertainty – the post-Porter approach to strategy. So this event is a real chance to be in on the ground floor of that work."

Here's a recording of a fascinating discussion when the two of them previously got together -

Maps Talk

Mapping identifies legacies that made sense to custom build in the past, but are now inefficiencies because the environment has changed.

 — Simon Wardley

Rebooting GDS

Simon Wardley resumed blogging after some time talking primarily about doctrine and its phased implementation in an organization.

"This is one of the big things about mapping — it’s not only for challenge and communication but also learning. You have a map, you apply some action to it, you then observe what happens and if you’re lucky, you’ll discover a new pattern."


Who is an expert?

In this second piece Simon Wardley talks about complexity of defining an expert. In context of a map, an expert could be someone who's specialized in a particular area or may have a broad range of experience over multiple areas of a map. Further, she may be an expert of a single node on the map, which in turn may be a map of its own. Also -

"This leads to the very best thing about maps. For a rookie like me, then a map is the fastest way I know of bringing me up to speed in a complex and complicated environment. It’s also the fastest way for me for discovering just how little I know... The point of this being, even a rookie like me can quickly learn and ask relevant questions with experts through the aid of a map."

Drawing makes for an easy life 

Aislinn McBride writes on importance of easing and improving communication using drawings and visual tools like Wardley Maps -

"How often do you use the written directions which google maps produce versus the pictorial representation? A map gives a sense of direction at a glance; you can see the big picture but also the long stretches. the complex corners and roundabouts. Wardley mapping is based on a similar premise." 


Graphical business models

Alastair Moore, inspired by Wardley Mapping, talks about the use of Graphical Models in business modelling and technology strategy. He begins with this thought provoking quote -

"Right now, your company has 21st-century [Internet]-enabled business processes, mid-20th century management processes, all built atop 19th-century management principles. - Gary Hamel"

Understanding Platforms through Wardley Maps

Check this video for Simon Wardley's discussion with Simone Cicero and Bill Murray on Understanding Platforms through Wardley Maps. For more details, check out Platform Design Toolkit and related article here subtitled - Why is a Platforms’ Wardley (Value Chain) Map Z-Shaped?

"Wardley’s Value chain maps have been amongst the most radical innovation in strategy of the last 20 years. We think that adding these maps to our platform design practice will improve radically your capability to design aware strategies that can fit with an increasingly complex reality."


Here's a round-up of some Wardley Maps community action this month -
Please share your feedback here -
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