The Value of Doctrine

One of the more curious aspects of Wardley Mapping is Doctrine — what we choose to believe are universally-applicable principles. Doctrine is essentially values-based ideas like putting users first and being open to challenge. Simon Wardley presents his chosen doctrine in his book, and we also have a reference section here on LWM. While Simon’s doctrine is a great place to start, it’s also true that you can begin to discover and choose principles of your own. Just remember that they are principles that you choose, and valid principles are applicable regardless of context.

This brings us to some good news! Chris Daniel has developed a new tool for assessing your own doctrine against Simon’s, now accessible at

Tweet from Chris Daniel: wardleymaps/status/1210941159041843202

We’ve seen a few iterations on assessment tools (starting with Justin Stach’s form-based assessment, as well as Tasshin Fogleman’s idea, which eventually became what you see in the LWM doctrine section), and now Chris’s evolution of the idea brings a welcome improvement and helpful step forward in facilitating conversations about doctrine in organizations.

Besides its clean aesthetic, my favorite improvement is the ability to download / upload assessment. This feature could give consultants and organizational leaders a much easier way to run regular assessments/benchmarks and share results.


These improvements to tooling are accompanied by a thought-provoking proposition for 2020 and beyond, which I think could significantly elevate the Wardley Mapping learning experience: People might need Doctrine before they need Maps.

Tweet by Ben Mosior: HiredThought/status/1210947727280005121

This idea reflects a bias for pragmatism, which I am extremely excited to see in the Wardley Mapping community. It also opens up a new pathway for applied research inside organizations. Chris has high hopes for what we’ll learn:

Tweet by Chris Daniel: wardleymaps/status/1210951587830607874

And my hopes are high as well! Thinking back to the Shook and Schein models of culture change, I wonder what is possible if we focus on what we DO, instead of what we VALUE. Doctrine is an interesting intervention point for organizational efficacy. Only time will tell what new ideas and conversations will emerge.

Tweet by Ben Mosior: HiredThought/status/1210953300033654789

For now, be sure to try out and let Chris know what you think (especially if you’re running organizational assessments with the tool)!

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