Jan Rezac asks: “How do I connect scenario planning and Wardley Mapping?”

I think people sometimes mean different things when they say scenario planning, so I want to share a few different ways Wardley Mapping might be useful for evaluating alternative situations.

1. Scenarios

Sometimes external events happen that change the game we’re playing. Given an existing system, which we’ve mapped out, we can discuss the impact the external event might have. Take the below examples. How would the proliferation of universal basic income (UBI) impact entrepreneurship and the new value it creates? For comparison, what about an alternative where fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) suppresses UBI?

Given a scenario where ________ occurs, what are the implications, and how will we respond?

While the resulting discussion might be valuable enough, you could take it to the next level by gaming out response options (see the next section on interventions). You might even make a series of sub-maps for each scenario to fully describe the options and document any rationale.

2. Interventions

The basic function of an organization is to focus collective effort well. A map can provide a common definition of the problem space, on top of which we can describe, compare, and plan out different interventions.

Given a situation where we intervene by doing ________, what are the implications? And how does that compare to doing ________?

Sharing an intended intervention can allow for challenge (aka “calling bullshit”), which is important because:

  1. Challenge helps us make our interventions better.
  2. Feeling heard and being able to contribute helps people buy into an option.
  3. We cannot literally execute every option; our capacity is finite.

3. Designs

We might also compare designs, where we substitute alternate components and relationships in order to meet similar user needs, albeit in different ways.

Given our desire to meet the ________ user need, how does the ________ design and ________ design compare?

Because we use Wardley Maps to describe the design, we can compare them and debate their merits with specificity.

How do you do scenario planning with Wardley Mapping?

The above are three ways to play with scenarios using Wardley Mapping. Do you have a different approach? Find me on Twitter below and let me know!