Issue 3 - Dec 2018

Happy New Year!  Here's wishing the Wardley Maps community good health, happiness, and success in the coming year and always. 

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

My interest in maps is that I use them. I'm delighted others find them useful. It's by others using maps, developing them, finding new ways to map that the field will progress. My key interest is making sure this is kept as open as possible and shared in the community. I also want to learn. 

 — Simon Wardley


Earlier this month Simon Wardley and Dave Snowden ran a joint masterclass on the subject of navigating uncertainty with Wardley Maps and Cynefin.

One of the great things about the masterclass with Simon Wardley this week was the bringing together of two communities built on trust, integrity and a desire to achieve change. Also a realisation of what we can achieve synthesising methods and tools.
 — Dave Snowden

Here are a few moments captured on Twitter as shared by some participants (thank you!). Talking of navigating uncertainty, one of them rightly quoting -

"Never try to sell a meteor to a Dinosaur. It wastes your time and annoys the Dinosaur." — Hugh McLeod

Head here for a more detailed summary as Chris Daniel shares his impressions of the masterclass.

He talks about how for each Cynefin domain (with the exception of chaotic), a map can be created. The map, hence created, may have different properties depending on the Cynefin domain it operates in. 

On the other hand, any component of a map may be in different Cynefin domain. Each time a new approach to satisfy a user need emerges, it's first Chaotic, then Complex and so on while staying in the same place on the Evolution axis.

"Cynefin operates in completely different space than mapping. Mapping is all about components and Cynefin is about understanding the right approach... There is huge potential for combining those two frameworks, and hence my expectation is that over time, we will see more of Cynefin practices adopted in mapping, and more of mapping practices adopted in Cynefin."

Here's a different perspective offered by Andreas Schliep while relearning Cynefin and Mapping -

"While Wardley Maps can be constructed that use the Cynefin practice attributes on the x-axis, David rather focused on the Cynefin dynamics during the different evolutionary phases of the standard Map."

Most likely, the recordings of the event won't be publicly available. However, on related topic, an open discussion by Simon and Dave, held earlier this year at Domain Driven Design conference is now available (also check this as was shared in last month's newsletter) -

Complexity & Strategy: Open Discussion

Map Camp

Map Camp, second of the year, took place earlier this month at Edinburgh. It had an exciting line up of talks and workshops on mapping. To cite a few - You can catch here some action as captured on Twitter thanks to generous sharing by some attendees. Including this fabulous visual summary.

Next Map Camp is scheduled to be held in Atlanta, US on 9 & 10 April of 2019.

Maps Talk

Wardley Mapping 101

Mapping 101

Chris Corriere presented an introductory Mapping 101 at DevOpsDays.

"Most corporate strategies are based on over-simplified models (if any) and depend largely on luck. Mapping helps visualize a strategy succinctly so what once took an hour and 25 slides to explain now takes 15 minutes and a map."

Strategy Tools: #1 Wardley Map

Richard Munro here shares an example of how he used Wardley Maps to strategically drive cloud transformation for his customers.

"The best part about maps is the thought process you go through creating them, and the challenges you have correcting them as you have further dialogue. That's how you get to strategic thinking."


AWS & strategy over the years

Santeri Paavolainen in this interesting piece tries to make sense of massive AWS growth in capacity and across services and geographies. He tries to view this through multiple lenses and eventually inquires if innovate-leverage-commoditize (ILC) cycle is at work.

"The question is not whether Amazon slash AWS is chaotic. It undoubtedly is, and a lot of the history will be written into a nice, retroactive, primetime story. Nevertheless, this does not exclude the possibility that amid all of the chaos there is a conscious, strategic direction being implemented."

Open Source is Not a Business Model

Andrew Clay Shafer (Pivotal) in this podcast talks about, in context of Wardley Maps, the challenges of replacing a commodity with off-the-shelf replacement in the real world. Snippets from the transcript -

"I do think that there’s a need to focus on the high order of functionality and certainly Amazon, the other cloud providers, and some of the vendors are trying to help people do that, but the reality is not everything is off-the-shelf right now... when you brought up Wardley maps because on one hand, you wanted people to realize that you don’t want to build everything and that there’s some things you should buy. On the other hand, you can’t buy everything. People like buying things because it’s more concrete than this abstract notion of culture."


From ad-hoc to strategic learning

Chris Daniel in this excellent paper makes the case of a learning organization and how to transition into one.

“With a Wardley map, it becomes easy to determine what is being done, which components are important, and which of those may be difficult to replicate, are scarce, unstable or difficult to communicate.”

Research Heresies

Will Myddelton at UX Brighton 2018 talks on the point of where to focus on when doing user needs research.

Making use of Wardley Maps, he argues that neither does it makes sense to perform research on commodities like payment and shopping carts and nor for things in genesis stage as there aren't many users around anyway. So the most valuable place to apply research would be in the middle of the map. This is where we are custom-building things or customizing off-the-shelf products for user needs.

More Wardley Mapping Jobs!

Yet another job advert, this time at the UN, citing experience with Wardley Maps as a desirable skill.

More Reading


Mapping Peeps

Here's a list of people Simon Wardley recommended from whom we can learn more about the art of mapping -

James A. Duncan Adrian Cockcroft 
  • Check this video where Adrian shows an approachable way to document and share the evolution of an orgainzation's technology stack using a simplified version of Wardley’s mapping techniques.
Ben Mosior Julie PierceRachel Murphy and James Findlay


There's been some action in the community on the matter of creating right software specific for making Wardley Maps.

Ben Mosior wrote a post on the topic making the case for Kumu and how to get started with the same using a shared template.

On lighter note, as a mapping community, I believe it's healthy that we are having this conversation on using an off-the-shelf product vs custom-building one for drawing maps :-) My vote goes with Ben's approach though!


Here's a round-up of some Wardley Maps community action this month -
Curated with 🧡 by Harprit
I would love to hear your feedback -
Wardley Mapping is Creative Commons 3.0 Share Alike

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