Finding a path, Wardley Mapping Notes
15 Dec 2019
Notes based on Finding a path Wardley mapping, chapter 2 on Medium.
Throughout our history, it has always been standardisation of components that has enabled creations of greater complexity.
The map is visual and context specific. It is unique to that line of business containing the components that influence it at that moment in time.
The map has an anchore which is the user and their needs.
The position of components in the map are shown relative to the user on a value chain, represented by the y-axis.
Each component needs the component below it. The higher up the map a component is, the more visible it becomes to the user.
Stages of evolution
- Genesis: The unique, rare, uncertain, changing and newly discovered. Focus is on exploration.
- Custom built: The very uncommon that we are still learning about. Individually made, tailored for a specific environment. Bespoke. Frequently changes, is an artisan skill. Focus is on learning our craft.
- Product (including rental): The increasingly cammon, manufactured through a repeatable process, the more defined, better understood. Change is slower, we see many of the same product. Focus is on refining and improving.
- Commodity (including utility): Represents scale and volume operations of production. Highly standardised, defined, fixed, fit for a specific purpose and lots of repetition. Focus is on ruthless removal of deviation. Increasingly less visible over time (automatic, like habit aquisition).
Step 1 - Needs
The anchor (user need) is critical to mapping. It requires you to define the scope of what you're looking at. The user needs of one map are components in another (the user needs for a company producing nuts and bolts become the components used).
If you are at a tea shop then your users may have needs such as a refreshing drink, a convenient location, a comfortable environment, a quick service and a tasty treat like a drizzle lemon cake. This in turn requires you to have the capability to satisfy those needs.
At the same time, you should distinguish between the many things that your users want but do not necessarily need.
Start with questions like:
- What does this thing need to do?
- How will its consumers interact with it?
- What do they expect from it?
Lots of techniques to help with this, but nothing more effective than talking to your own users. Creating a user journey for how they interact with it and what you provide is a good start.
Step 2 - Value Chain
What components do we need in order to build this capability?
- Top level components: Your capabilities, what you produce, what is most visible to the user (placed at the top of the chain).
- Subcomponents should be placed underneath with lines drawn between components to show how they are related (this component needs that component).
- Lines which connects components mean "This needs that", from the top to the bottom of the chain.
Step 3 - Map
The different stages of evolution can be described even if you can't measure evolution itself over time or see into the future.
For each component the group should question how evolved it is:
- How ubiquitous (present, appearing or found everywhere) and well-defined is the component.
- Do all my competitors use such a component?
- Is the component available as a product or a utility service?
- Is this something new?
Potential blockers in this stage: Some members of the group may declare a feature is unique even though their competitors do the same thing.
Thoughts on chapter
After reading this chapter, I felt like the process was vague. Like if I went ahead and brainstormed needs, components and sub-components, that they might be entirely the wrong thing. Lots of interesting insights, but I don't feel empowered to do Wardley mapping right now. Though I do have a solid ground to start with, which is better than before I read this chapter.