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Maps are all imperfect. Think of them more like Babylonian Clay Tablets. In a decade or so, we will look back and laugh at how primitive they were.  Which is as it should be. They are nothing more than an opening of door.

 — Simon Wardley

Hi there! Here's Mapping Maps Newsletter #15 with curation of best recent findings on Wardley Maps!

Big news of the month, of course, is that registrations for Map Camp 2020 are now open! Best part is that this year's event will be a free online full day affair. I am really looking forward to talks on these compelling themes:
  • It's not the map but the mapping that matters.
  • You can't "organise your way" to a future.
  • Maps and Government.
  • Mapping for Good.
  • Why didn't I learn this at business school?

BarCamp Stories

Above nifty map labelled Charting the future is from an awesome talk on Maps as Models talk by Alastair Moore. Check out Bar Camp 2020 playlist for more such amazing stories ranging from back to basics session on OODA to mapping strategies found in books.

Here's the complete list of the talks (slides) from the event. Many thanks to Holger Gelhausen for organising this event having such great lineup of talks with so much to learn from. Including making some awesome pre-run videos.

Here are a few notes from the videos I have watched so far. Lots of takeaways from this fascinating talk by Cat Swetel pointing towards humane aspect of mapping. With sublime tips on keeping things collaborative by focusing on mapping as an activity rather than maps as artefacts. Even if that means working with ugly and incomplete maps:
 

"The more unfinished a map looks the more it invites people to enter the conversation."


Secondly, really admired the talk and this concluding remark by Sonja Blignaut in her talk on Navigating Uncertainty (check here for a more detailed summary):
 

"I think there is so much opportunity now for us to not necessarily be way finders but to be way makers and to really step into that space on the left side of Simon's maps. To step into that pioneering spirit but I think we need to understand that for some it's really exciting and for others it's really anxiety provoking. I think what we need to do as thinking partners is to help people contain that anxiety and turn it into creative energy."


Following meticulous map is from talk by Tom Asel on mapping evolution of software architectural components.
My personal favourite talk was an extremely honest story shared by Chris Daniel. A "from the trenches" kind of talk with lots of pragmatic observations. Touching upon the fact that even with maps, a tool that offers great clarity, things are never black and white due to complexity of human behaviour and the way we make decisions.
 

"There is no such thing as the ideal future there. It's not something you can aim at. What you have is your current position, the components or the stuff that you can control right now and the only thing you can do is to manipulate those components to improve your position and maybe over time you will achieve your goals. Or to put it in another way success will reach you. Not that you will actually reach success but you will build the environment in which your success can emerge."

On Leading

Simon with some inspiring lessons in this thread on what defines leadership. In context of an organization comprised of people with pioneers, settlers, town planners attitudes:


"You'll need all three attitudes to effectively lead. This is almost impossible without a high level of situational awareness (i.e. understanding the context, knowing what is where)"


If healthy orgs are the ones made up of people with diverse attitudes and backgrounds, then it only makes sense that such orgs should have leaders who can relate with each of those perspectives. Reminds me of a favourite quote of mine by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
 

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."

Minimum Viable Maps

As always, wonderful advice by Ben Mosior especially to folks getting started with maps. When mapping, usual approach suggested to beginners is that the value chain comes first followed by looking into the components. However, this may get daunting when making sense of bigger systems.

Ben outlines an alternative helpful approach to simply focus on identifying components and categorize them on maps at first without worrying about the links:
 

"A Minimum Viable Wardley Map just ignores relationships. That’s it. A MVWM is a faster artifact to make, though it is limited in its usefulness as compared to a conventional Wardley Map. The good news is that all you have to do to convert one to or from the other is to add or remove dependency relationships between components."

Maps are judged by usefulness.

 — Simon Wardley

Mapping the future of events

In context of the pandemic, check here for a wonderful discussion with Simon Wardley on how quality of the events and our interactions have changed. Here’s a prediction:
 

"There are some people who want to return because their natural advantage is in the physical space. There is a potential for that loss of status related to those advantages in the physical space if this virtual space becomes more cemented because of some emerging practice, new type events and so forth. So I suspect in that space people will create physical real events for the elite."

Cloud Native Business

An amazingly insightful paper (pdf) from folks at LEF with the premise that strategy for cloud is something that's of profound significance for the entire business and not just an IT thing. As cloud providers have democratised utility components, differentiation and competitive advantage in today's world arises from the vision to see how these components can be best assembled. Also, the paper offers some excellent advice on applying maps to anticipate and intercept the development paths of the cloud providers:
 

"As a practical tool, you can develop a Wardley Map to chart the trajectories of the different hyperscalers as they build out IT and business components. Next, you can use a Wardley Map to plot your own strategy to rapidly assemble IT and business components into cloud-native business capabilities that will make a difference to your customers."

Mapping Reorg

A noteworthy story on how team at Footasylum blended maps with Team Topologies. With the goal of restructuring their organisation into autonomous teams to achieve better communication and collaboration. Very interesting to see PST framework applied to determine maturity of the services and their alignment with respective teams.
 

"In order to understand the environment we found ourselves in, we turned to Wardley mapping. This technique gave us the ability to see our value chain, the systems involved and dependencies across our teams. It also helped guide our strategy and the target architecture we were attempting to build."

The key thing about this is you do pre-mortems and post-mortems with maps. You take the map, you do the pre-mortem, what we're going to do, what we think is going to happen, and so on. Then you act, and you do the post-mortem analysis and it's through that you learn more about the landscape, more about the game play.

 — Simon Wardley on The What, the Why and Some How of Wardley Mapping

Event Modeling and Wardley Mapping

Event Modeling is an interesting new approach to represent information systems. Check here for a series of videos where Chris Daniel brainstorms with the folks from Adaptech Group to find synergies between Event Modeling and Wardley Maps. On Event Modeling as described here:
 

"It is used to follow all field values in the UI to the storage of those value to where they finally end up on a report or a screen. It’s generally done with sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard - or an online version of a whiteboard"

Age of Software Abundance

Above map from this post shared by Daniel Jarjoura with a really good introduction to mapping. Followed by tips on applying maps to tackle complexity of build vs buy decisions when faced with numerous choices. Including suggestions on considering moving up the stack with no-code and low-code platforms.
 

"And if you decide to build, you can always do another map, with more granularity, to decide for each component whether you should build it from scratch, integrate an open-source component or rent an external API."

 

Events

Here's a bunch of upcoming events on Wardley Maps that look really interesting:

Strategy: DevOps Is the New Legacy a remote event by Container Solutions scheduled on September 2, 2020. This is second edition of webinars on strategy with Simon Wardley and Jamie Dobson. Check here for the first video in the series with a lively conversation that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Study Tour Virtual Elective by Simon Wardley and Dave Reid would be a virtual event on September 1, 2020 that kicks off a series of upcoming sessions related to The Industrialization of Technology research project at LEF.

A Pragmatist’s Introduction to Wardley Mapping with Ben Mosior - an online meetup event that'll take place on September 3, 2020.

Wardley Mapping: Designing Epistemically Healthy Organisations - online workshop on October 12, 2020 at DDD Europe with Ben Mosior and Jabe Bloom as your friendly instructors.
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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