Have you heard of Wardley Maps?
Neither did I. A colleague of mine introduced them to me, so I set to find out more.
I stumbled upon various resources, blogs, and tools during my learning search that I thought to share.
TL;DR, Wardley mapping is a robust framework for mapping your business on steroids! It’s not easy to get the gist of it, but hey, we are all here learning.
In short, here is what I have in the article:
- Who is Simon Wardley?
- What is a Wardley map?
- What is Wardley mapping?
- What is Wardley Mapping Canvas?
- How can I use the Wardley Mapping Canvas?
- Where can I get Wardley Mapping Canvas templates?
- Where can I find some Wardley maps examples?
- Which Wardley maps software may I use?
- Are there Wardley maps videos on youtube?
- Which are the best Wardley maps books?
Who is Simon Wardley?
First, let me introduce you to Simon Wardley.
Simon Wardley spent the last 15+ years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, retail, and IT industries. Since Canon’s early leadership in the cloud-computing space in 2005 to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the top cloud operating system, he has seen a lot.
Simon is a strong advocate of open source, innovation, organizational structure, and cybernetics. He loved business transformation, and he worked a lot in the nature of technological and business change over the next 20 years. He is also into value chain mapping, strategies for an increasingly open economy, Web 2.0, and a lifecycle approach to cloud computing.
So Simon created the notion of Wardley maps back in 2005, and he is an avid evangelist about it.
What is a Wardley map?
How is a Wardley map connected with the battle of Thermopylae?
By 480 BC Xerxes had amassed a massive army and navy and set out to the second Persian invasion of Greece. The Athenian politician and general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block the Persian army’s advance at Thermopylae’s pass. At the same time, they will simultaneously block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium.
Themistocles’ SWOT would be something around these lines:
Themistocles’ situational awareness map was this:
The Greek strategy plan was to hold on to Thermopylae and Artemisium. Given the losses (after the heroic stance in Thermopylae), the situation changed, and the battles continued in Salamis. The rest is history.
So which of the maps would you like to consult?
A Wardley map is a map of your business with a twist. The map will give you situational awareness and context so you will have better strategic insights.
What is Wardley mapping?
Wardley mapping is pretty much the process of making a Wardley map. It is all about building a visualization of intention and context and a great way to create discussion.
There are lots of different ways to use those maps. You can map your competitors, processes, etc. The point of the mapping process is to have that conversation.
Maps describe the landscape, nothing more. They are a tool for decision making.Simon Wardley
What is Wardley Mapping Canvas?
As with the business model canvas or other similar tools, the Wardley map canvas is a great visualization tool to help you put your thoughts in order.
How can I use the Wardley Mapping Canvas?
The canvas has some blocks that, if filled, will provide you with a visualization of the map, and it will be your conversation starter.
The Wardley Mapping canvas has the following blocks:
- Purpose: Why are you doing this? Why does your organization do?
- Scope: Write the scope of this map. As discussed above, the map could be for anything, a service, a product, a problem, or an industry.
- Users: Who are your users?
- User Needs: Now that you got the Users before, which are their needs? That is one of the fundamental principles of Wardley mapping.
- Value Chain: This is where you start mapping the value chain. You found the users’ needs, so you need a list of all the activities that need to happen to meet their needs. You can add other prerequisite activities underneath the original ones. So you end up with an almost vertical cascade of activities that should be connected like the diagram below.
- Map: the last step is the map. Now you will need to distribute the activities according to their evolution.
The end result will be a map like this
Where can I get Wardley Mapping Canvas templates?
Here is a list of templates you can use:
- Figma Wardley Map template, here.
- Miro Wardley Map Template, here.
- An excellent Google Slides Wardley Map template – by Tristan Slominski – with a lot of helpful info here.
- Office 365 Wardley Mapping Templates by Endjin. You may find template versions of Visio and PowerPoint here.
- Another PowerPoint template here.
- Wardley Mapping stencils for OmniGraffle here.
- Kumu template here.
Where can I find some Wardley maps examples?
Getting the hung of Wardley maps can take time. However, I have found some examples for inspiration.
Endjin also published a video describing the strategy for a cloud migration using Wardley mapping.
Which Wardley maps software may I use?
Other than pen and paper?
You will find some in the templates section above. Besides, there are some web wools that you can use to create your map. Here are a few options:
- Atlas2 is an open-source alternative. you can find it in Github here and here
- A text-based generator for Wardley Maps (open source) by Damon Skelhorn. Available here.
- A script that converts a JSON object to SVG with JS and JSfiddle. Code here, example here.
- Wardley Maps Generator (open source) in Go here.
Are There Wardley Maps Videos on YouTube?
Check a few below.
Strategy Mapping with Simon Wardley
Crossing the River by Feeling the Stones • Simon Wardley (GOTO 2018)
Intro video on Wardley Mapping
A playlist from BarCamp
BarCamp is a community-driven event organized by Holger Gelhausen and volunteers from the Wardley Mapping Community.
A collection of videos from the Wardley Mapping Community
Map Camp Conference London 2019 playlist in InfoQ
Wardley Maps playlist in Vimeo
Which are the best Wardley maps books?
Simon Wardley has open-sourced (Creative Commons) his book and is available for free. Originally it was a series of Medium posts which you can find here.
Practical Introduction to Wardley Mapping by E. Alex Hudson, here.
The Art of Strategy by Erik Schön. A Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International book about strategy through Sun Tzu, John Boyd, and Simon Wardley. Find it here.
Anyways, a lot of info in here 🙂
So, I hope this article will help you with your Wardley Map journey and help you start meaningful conversations.
Which one of these resources helped you?