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What are the concrete uses of Wardley Maps for a CIO? - Hello, my name is Joaquín, and I hit my head with Wardley Maps. Yes, literally I use Wardley Maps to find answers that I do not have and Gen-AI is still not ready, and during the last few weeks, I’ve been looking for concrete answers to a specific question: What are the concrete uses of… Continue reading What are the concrete uses of Wardley Maps for a CIO?
Strategy Tactics is coming July 17th! - My co-author, David Holl, and I are both freaking out. We have test copies in our hands. That makes it real, right? If you’re on the wait list, you’ll get it a week earlier (July 10th).   Q: What’s a Pip Deck? It’s a skills upgrade and confidence booster in a box. 54 tactics that… Continue reading Strategy Tactics is coming July 17th!
A mouse with colorations and stripings of a tiger. Underneath it, a quote: "Worrying Selectively. Since all models are wrong the scientist must be alert to what is importantly wrong. It is inappropriate to be con- cerned about mice when there are tigers abroad." How do I know if it’s right? - In a welcome first for us, we have a response to our last edition! Yoga writes: I have in my head a model that Wardley mapping is useful only after you see how it can help you. And for that, I think you only realize it after it’s been sold to you in a very… Continue reading How do I know if it’s right?
There’s nothing wrong with you. Wardley Mapping is just hard. - Welcome back to another entry in our Wardley Mapping Advice series. Got a Wardley Mapping question? Send it in here! Audrey M. asks: I’m not sure how i didn’t realize that you were also involved with Pip Decks. Sadly, I find myself in the same boat with the Pip Decks and the Wardley Maps. Intellectually,… Continue reading There’s nothing wrong with you. Wardley Mapping is just hard.
X: Competition means conflict. Me: Competiton means to "to seek, to strive" + "with / together". However, if you insist on saying competition is conflict then simply don't use the word competition at all. Replace it with conflict i.e. you conflict over student numbers ... Me : ... then vou can say "we conflict with other universities over purchasing" which at least might give you pause for thought and question why you don't collaborate or co-operate? Don't slip back into using "but we're in competition" and stick with "conflict" until you realise that conflict, co-operation and collaboration are all forms of competition. Life becomes a lot easier then. X: Competition is zero-sum by definition. Cooperation and collaboration are not. In nature all competition is always enabled by underlying cooperation. Me: Conflict is zero sum. Nature uses conflict, co-operation and collaboration in the act of competition. How to game out a strategy - Gogo asks: I own a one-person management consulting business. Can you direct me how to use the Wardley Mapping process to game out a strategy to win in my niche? As I also am a one-person operation, I must first warn you that we are not special! It may feel like we are doing something… Continue reading How to game out a strategy
AI-enabled Strategy - Greg Easthouse asks: How long until we get a wardleyagent gpt ai? Well, Greg, I’m afraid it’s too late. ChatGPT has already taken the lead on this one. Or rather, Steve Pereira kicked the exploration off. So whatever happens next is his fault now. 😛 I, for one, welcome our Wardley-based autonomous overlords! 🤖 In… Continue reading AI-enabled Strategy
Don’t lead with the label - Hi there! I asked for your questions about Wardley Mapping, and you sure answered! First up, Joel Eden asks: As a consultant in the areas of design research, design strategy, experience design, lean product management, etc, I already have so many methods that I use with clients and it can feel like we are asking… Continue reading Don’t lead with the label
More people ought to learn strategy - I’m going to betray my optimism here. You see, I believe that strategy is a skill that you cannot unlearn. Once you know some basics, you become someone who wants to be purposeful… who wants to design things deliberately… who cares. Here’s the story I tell myself: “The more people there are who care, who… Continue reading More people ought to learn strategy
Listen to Your Ecosystems - Wardley says “listen to your ecosystems.” There are many different forms of ecosystems and ways to exploit them. You can build powerful sensing engines (e.g. the ILC model) for future change, sources of co-operation with others, defensive and offensive alliances. But ecosystems need management, they need tending as a gardener tends a garden — sometimes… Continue reading Listen to Your Ecosystems
Features are Fashion, Capabilities are Commerce - Features feel like Fashion. Some come and go. Some stick around. Regardless, they are small. They move quickly. Features are useful because of how they enable rapid exploration, trend setting, and quick adaptation to meet people’s very real needs. However, they’re not all there is. Capabilities feel more like Commerce. You have to zoom the… Continue reading Features are Fashion, Capabilities are Commerce
Giving Feedback on a Wardley Map - Giving feedback on a Wardley Map is hard. When I’m asked to do it, I of course want to help. But the instant I take a look, my first reaction is to get overwhelmed. All of these words, connections, positionings… feel strange and unfamiliar! How am I supposed to be of any help at all?… Continue reading Giving Feedback on a Wardley Map
On The Medical Role of Abortion - This post was tough to write, and I fully expect I got some things wrong. Let me know if you spot an error or a place where I’ve made a mistake. One of the benefits of Wardley Mapping is that making a map invites you to take vague and general concepts and make them more… Continue reading On The Medical Role of Abortion
The Right Question - Early on, I thought there was a paradox in mapping: You can’t know what map to make until you’ve made a bunch of maps! And so the advice became: Just go do a bunch of practice. Maybe you’ll find something insightful then! Well, I don’t like practice for practice’ sake. I am impatient. I’ll spare… Continue reading The Right Question
How to build belief in Wardley Mapping in your organization - Someone recently asked me how they could demonstrate the value of Wardley Mapping quickly to their organization. In truth, there isn’t a single way to do it. Since Wardley Mapping is in stage 2 of evolution, it’s divergent. There is no one way to describe the value. (We’re still exploring and learning!) Different audiences see… Continue reading How to build belief in Wardley Mapping in your organization
What is the purpose of Wardley Mapping? Part 1/5 - Why is Wardley Mapping useful? When we work alone, we can only do so much. But when we work together towards a common goal, great things become possible. That’s what organization is all about — 1) gathering people together and 2) focusing their labor. However, if we evaluate today’s organizations on these two functions, we’ll… Continue reading What is the purpose of Wardley Mapping? Part 1/5
Rumelt’s Good Strategy Bad Strategy and Wardley Mapping - Good Strategy Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt, is an excellent addition to the stack of books you ought to regularly read. It pairs well with Wardley Mapping, and I recommend both if you want to develop an advantageous, self-taught strategic practice. I’ll spare you my superlatives and allow the book to speak for itself: Having… Continue reading Rumelt’s Good Strategy Bad Strategy and Wardley Mapping
Art vs Science in Wardley Mapping - Wardley Mapping can at times have the appearance of being an exact science. In many ways, however, it's more of an art. Or perhaps several arts rolled into one. #1: The Art of Modeling The first art is modeling — deciding how to slice a vastly complex situation down into its essential parts. In Wardley… Continue reading Art vs Science in Wardley Mapping
New Wardley Mapping Course Launch! - I’m very excited to announce that we are launching a new series of Wardley Mapping courses! The first course, Pragmatic Wardley Mapping, covers the basics: Introduction (8:08) What is Wardley Mapping, and why bother? (5:37) Enough talk! (10:20) Turning it into action (4:45) Basic iteration (11:53) Common obstacles (11:51) The second course, Wardley Mapping Theory… Continue reading New Wardley Mapping Course Launch!
Common Challenges Working with Value Chains - Hello Ben, I am Marco and practicing with Wardley maps. I have 2 questions that I could not answer reading the book and other references. The first is about the image above. Imagine I have a Data visualization feature of my product, for such data visualization I need among other things the Software X that… Continue reading Common Challenges Working with Value Chains
Non-profit IT Systems - Learn Wardley Mapping Live Chat Did you know LearnWardleyMapping.com has a chat function you can use to talk to me directly? If you have questions, or even if you just want to say hi, I’d love for you to click the button in the bottom right corner of the screen and drop me a line.… Continue reading Non-profit IT Systems
Evolution: One Bucket or Another? - Note: This post assumes that you have some familiarity with Wardley Mapping. If not, read this post explaining relevant terms, and for a quick explanation of what Wardley Mapping is, and how it works. In this post, we’ll cover how to define and evaluate your company’s capabilities in terms of their Evolutionary stage, so that… Continue reading Evolution: One Bucket or Another?
Responding to Nonsense - Guest Post by Byron Woodson of Keystone Organizing Systems Once you’ve been making Wardley Maps for a while, you develop an allergy for BS.  This can lead to impatience with ill-reasoned arguments. It can also lead to an attitude of outright dismissiveness toward other people and their ideas. That, however, will not make you any… Continue reading Responding to Nonsense
Wardley Mapping Facilitation - In Wardley Mapping, if you want to go fast, you go alone. But if you want to go far — and build all that good “shared understanding” stuff we hear about — you need friends. You need to map with others!
Making Bad Meetings Better With Wardley Doctrine - A lot can (and often does) go wrong in meetings. Plenty of speaking, but no listening. Attention and status games, but no clarity or action. “Why was I invited?” “Will they notice if I leave?” “Oh no, we’re running over time again.” We can make things just a little bit better, with the help of a few simple doctrinal principles from Wardley Mapping.
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.
5 Ways to Represent User Needs on a Wardley Map - Jan Rezac asks: “How should I represent user needs when mapping? Because quite a lot of maps do NOT have user needs clearly stated (even Simon’s original teashop map & Canonical map).” Short answer? It depends! Wardley Mapping highlights areas of ignorance — things people ought to know but don’t. Dealing with ignorance involves creating… Continue reading 5 Ways to Represent User Needs on a Wardley Map
Three Ways to Plan - 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.
Pragmatic Facilitation - In my time delivering workshops and working with different teams, I’ve found that no two experiences learning Wardley Mapping are alike. There are so many concepts to learn and ways to learn them. And importantly, “Wardley in concept” differs significantly from “Wardley in use.” The messiness of actual mapping work can be quite jarring when compared to the book knowledge.
Getting Started with Wardley’s Doctrine Is Easier Than You Think - Let’s talk about Wardley’s doctrine — what it really looks like and how to find opportunities to practice. Don’t worry! Getting started is easier than you think.
Nobody Cares About Your Precious Framework - I like Wardley Mapping. It’s captured my attention for the last five or so years, and I know I’ve still hardly scratched the surface of what’s possible. As you can imagine, I am overjoyed when other people take interest. Behind my enthusiasm, however, is a blunt pragmatism, informed by years of frustration and mistakes.
A list of parts that might appear in a map. Getting Stuck Is Problem #1 - Might free form brainstorming of words, with no constraints of current [maps] or questions that might lead the team in certain directions, be beneficial at the start?
A Spectrum of Decision Making  - Over the years, I’ve been asked repeatedly to explain what Wardley Mapping is. Since it’s a big practice, with lots of ways to slice and dice it, I like to try out new answers whenever I get the chance.
Do “Objective” Wardley Maps Exist? - Are there any "objective" Wardley Maps, or is it always “subjective” to the team, time, and place? What should I do to understand where the “objective” position of a component is?
Principles First - I’ve been asking event list members for questions, and Jason Luchtefeld, DMD responded with a suggestion to do a deep dive into Simon Wardley’s Doctrine graphic. Since I’ve been teaching quite a bit about the topic lately, it seems like the perfect time to share what I’ve learned so far. Here’s the graphic in question:… Continue reading Principles First
Requisite Perspective - Valerie Freitas asks: In using Wardley mapping, are there guidelines in thinking about who you have at the table to begin these discussions? Designing/cultivating the kind of input you receive by selecting who is part of your discussion group or cross-functional or different levels of experience, etc. or perhaps meetings with different groups to see… Continue reading Requisite Perspective
Making Sense of Technological Ecosystems - Diane Mueller very kindly invited me to share Wardley Maps with the OpenShift Commons, and I can’t help but write about the challenge she’s shared: Okay, now I just gotta figure out how to map an entire tech ecosystem that I have near-zero understanding of. No pressure! First, let’s look at the website she shared…… Continue reading Making Sense of Technological Ecosystems
A map with a more authentic expression of the practice, leaving out social acceptance but focusing on the integration of in-context use in stage 2 and the knowable factors in stage 4. Hollow Practices and Evolution - Rahul Baji writes: Do you think that when practices are commoditized, they lose the essence of the practice? I see it in Agile practices where in certifying bodies like Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org have made Scrum popular to the extent of calling it commoditized. There are certified Scrum masters by the hordes who have learnt… Continue reading Hollow Practices and Evolution
How To Introduce Wardley Mapping to Different Strata of the Organization - Tony Osime asks: What is the best way to introduce Wardley Mapping to different groups? a. Senior executives – Strategic level b. Management – Team leader level c. Junior staff – Team member level This is a great question, and one I’ve thought about for some time. I’ve had some experiences with each of these… Continue reading How To Introduce Wardley Mapping to Different Strata of the Organization
Wardley Mapping Fake News - On March 5th, we attended an online workshop to get some hands-on practice with Wardley Mapping. The topic of the day was Disinformation, and our group focused on mapping how to recognize fake news — truth or not, technological fakes, deep fakes, videos, pictures, and all kinds of things that come to mind when we hear that phrase...
Visualizing the Interaction of Evolution and Data (Measurement) - Over the last few months, I’ve been reading material by Frank W. Geels on the Multi Level Perspective, which uses arrows to visualize change and transition in the disposition of a market ecosystem. Here’s an example: I was recently discussing evolution with a client on a call about Wardley Mapping, and I drew an impromptu diagram… Continue reading Visualizing the Interaction of Evolution and Data (Measurement)
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… Continue reading The Value of Doctrine
Trojan Horses and Participatory Process: Sue Borchardt & Andie Nordgren - As part of the Wardley Maps Community YouTube channel (subscribe here), John Grant and Ben Mosior recently sat down with Sue Borchardt and Andie Nordgren. Sue is a research artist whose remarkable videos on topics like strategy for peace and justice, solitary confinement, and complexity are breathing fresh life into our discourse at a point in time when it’s desperately needed. Andie is former… Continue reading Trojan Horses and Participatory Process: Sue Borchardt & Andie Nordgren
Mapping the Apparel Industry with Vikesh Shah of Metail - As part of the Wardley Maps Community YouTube channel (subscribe here), John Grant and Chris Daniel recently sat down with Vikesh Shah, Commercial Director of London-based fashion and retail startup Metail.
Mapping Power: An Introduction to Burja Mapping - Once you have a strategy, you need to get your team on board. Who can help you implement your strategy? Who might be an obstacle, or enemy? Samo Burja’s Empire Theory provides a framework for mapping power. After this talk, you’ll be able to start mapping power in your organization and beyond.
Mothering a Dev Team: How Wardley Maps Saved My Parenting & My Job - This Mom is no stranger to bringing lessons learned via parenting into the workplace, and vice versa. I’ll show you how to use Wardley Maps, and other planning strategies, to streamline your life, and your work projects, in new and exciting ways!
Three Frames on Development and Operations - DevOps, Serverless, and Wardley Maps, three frames for making sense of the waves of change in IT.
Continuous Mapping - Kill all your darlings, crumple all your Wardley Maps. Not every map needs to be a perfectly polished artifact and sometimes a lo-fi, easily discarded sketch (or two or two dozen) is superior in that it allows a space to be wrong and grants permission to explore.
An Introduction to Mapping - At Map Camp ATL 2019, Simon Wardley introduces the concepts of situational awareness, why maps matter and how to map a competitive landscape. He examines a few basic patterns in mapping and how the field is being currently used.
Mapping Policing in the UK with Tim Ebenezer of Foundation SP - Tim Ebenezer and Ben Mosior get together for a mapping session on UK Policing. They walk step-by-step through a hypothetical example, sharing their stories and experiences along the way!
Evolution-informed Security Strategy with Mario Platt of Privacy Beacon - Mario Platt of Privacy Beacon joined Ben Mosior for a LearnWardleyMapping Patron livestream to discuss strategy, security as a constraint vs an enabler, and The Four Problems to address for an adequate 2020+ security posture.