7 Ways to Fail

This is the worst guide to Wardley Mapping ever written — a tongue-in-cheek collection of bad advice.

In other words, this is everything I would tell someone about Wardley Mapping if I wanted them to fail.

#1: Don’t start

After listening to Simon Wardley’s talk or finding him on Twitter, the most important thing is that you avoid ever making a Wardley Map on your own. Your problems aren’t important enough, and besides, you don’t know what you’re doing. Only expert mappers should make maps.

#2: Give up

If you try to make a map but get stuck, then maybe mapping isn’t for you. Remember, it’s all simple stuff, and you should feel silly for not immediately knowing what to do. Sticking with it won’t help. Asking for help won’t help, either. (You definitely should NOT ask for help using the messenger widget in the bottom right corner.)

#3: Go big

Always make one big map that encompasses everything. Never split your map up into multiple smaller maps. Fit as many users and needs on the same map, so it’s complete and perfect. Readability and clarity don’t matter.

#4: Map alone 

Make your maps and keep them to yourself. Don’t share unless you have to. You have nothing to gain from sharing, and besides, you’ll give away your secrets.

If you do share your maps, include everything right away. Every map is self-evident, so don’t worry about overwhelming someone or needing to talk them through it. They’ll get it on their own.

#5: Make others map

If people don’t want to learn Wardley Mapping or don’t “get it,” there’s something wrong with them. Send them as many links about mapping as you can. Whatever you do, don’t try to share small concepts in your own words. Instead, appeal to the authority of Wardley Mapping thought leaders. Their word should be enough, after all.

#6: Make others map your way

If people make or use Wardley Maps differently than you, show them the “right” way. Make sure they follow the exact process correctly. It’s a highly certain practice, after all, so there should be very little difference across approaches.

#7: Expect instant success

No matter how many years of organizational knowledge debt you might be battling, expect your maps to be perfect and clear right away. Maps have all the answers, and they always tell you exactly what to do.

Okay, obviously I hope that you do the exact opposite of these 7 things! Do start, don’t give up, keep it small, map with friends, share mapping without expectations, be open to differences in approach, and be patient. You’ll have a much better experience with mapping, and everyone around you will be better off for it!

What do you think? Did I miss other ways to fail? Or do you have questions about this post? Let me know in the comments! I’m always happy to hear from you.

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