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Map Camp: Weird Mapping – How to Create a Revolution

Dave was delighted to be asked to speak at Map Camp. Map Camp started in 2017 with a tweet from Simon Wardley asking if anyone would like to have “a small meetup in London on mapping”. It had so much interest that it quickly turned into a full-day event. Map Camp includes a series of talks and workshops about mapping techniques used in organisations.

Map Camp attracts speakers from around the world, with different skill sets and experiences. Dave joined in with the ‘Keeping Mapping Weird’ track! He shared the limelight with Manish Andankar and Tope Sadiku looking at ‘How to Create a Revolution’. In this session there were discussions around mapping the elements essential to create a revolution and how companies can use mapping to maximise value in the modern cloud.

Weird Mapping – How to Create a Revolution at Map Camp

Damian Ondore introduces Dave Anderson at Map Camp

I’ve got three speakers. Dave is an old hand at Map Camp and an old friend. Dave spoke at last year’s Map Camp on a similar topic which he’s now published as The Value Flywheel Effect book. So I want to let you introduce yourself and plug the book for a moment.

Dave Anderson

My name is Dave Anderson. I think it’s a great topic: ‘How to Create a Revolution. So let’s get into it! And as Damian so kindly mentioned I want to tell the story of how I went about publishing ‘The Value Flywheel Effect‘ book with IT Revolution.

A story in maps…..

We often use maps to tell a story so I thought I should tell this story with maps! Over the last ten years, I, with my colleagues and co-authors, Mark McCann and Michael O’Reilly have been using maps to effectively create a revolution within our companies. I am going to talk about one of the big maps that was very impactful. It allowed us to drive change in a big organisation.

1. Below The Line Map

The map has this ‘below the line’ area. Things below the line should be just taken care of. And above the line there are things like Serverless First that are really important. Your Cloud Strategy is above the line. And your architecture and traditional engineering are below the line. This was a fundamental lesson for us.

I’m not going to talk through each of these maps in detail. I am going to focus on the impact of the map as we have done in the book. But any time we drew this type of map, Mark McCann would come in and draw a big line through the map. And he would say ‘everything below this line doesn’t matter!’.

You need to figure out that as a company. You worry about the stuff at the top versus the bottom, that you don’t need to worry about. Instead you create a shared responsibility with your cloud provider.

Dave Anderson at Map Camp
Below The Line Map at Map Camp

2. Start With The Need Map

One of the things that mapping taught us, as a team of technical leaders, is to always start with the user need. Always start with the customer and the need. Even our mind maps are drawn like a map. We start with ‘the why’, what we want to do and the underlying needs we need to figure out.

3. Joining the Dots Map

We have drawn so many things over the last 10 years. Starting with the need helped us to join the dots. In this map we started with the business owner. It could be the President, the CEO or a board member. Instead of Lambda or Machine Learning, the user needs were more likely to be about speed and costs.

We would draw a map and figure out the needs going from speed and cost to items like an agile program and how to handle cost and engineering. Cloud capabilities were at the bottom. You could spot the inertia from using a simple map to join the dots. It was always super impactful.

Joining The Dots Map at Map Camp
Joining The Dots Map at Map Camp

4. Make Mapping Accessible for Engineers Map

The next thing that was interesting was making mapping accessible for engineers. When we started mapping we were like everyone like. Our maps were very complicated. And we’d lose ourselves figuring out the terminology. So we came up with a nice system of mapping with teams. Even though these teams had not heard of Wardley Mapping or were not experts.

We devised a way of doing a grid with the four evolutionary states along the bottom. Genesis, Custom, Product and Commodity were numbered one to four. And we had ‘visible to invisible’ labelled with letters a, b, c and d on the y axis.

That gave us a way to quickly put components, products or applications in a particular area. We could say that’s ‘A’, that’s ‘A2’ or you’re an ‘A3’. And that’s good. But if we got down to a ‘D2’ we could ask ‘why are we doing that?’. It gave us a brilliant mechanism to map out things in a grid reference. And we could talk in shorthand about a ‘C2’ or ‘D2’ in low level invisible custom, for example. And that we need to get rid of that or move it over to the right. It became a really valuable way of talking to teams about where things were in the value chain.

Making Mapping Accessible for Engineers Map at Map Camp
Making Mapping Accessible for Engineers Map at Map Camp

5. Mapping from an engineer’s perspective

Another thing that was really useful was using the engineer as a persona to map out what the engineer had to do. This is a brilliant way to identify the tipping point of each evolutionary state and the items we needed to move. Each time we drew a map there would be 30 to 40 components. The map would be really complicated. But it helped us to see the one or two things that were important. For example, in this map, DORA and your devops throughput scores is something we need to move. We can identify key components that need to move. Mapping the landscape from an engineer’s perspective allows us to figure out the right lever to work on. That was extremely impactful as we changed the engineering and cloud capabilities in the company.

Identify the Tipping Point Change Map at Map Camp
Identify the Tipping Point Change Map at Map Camp

6. Sense Making Map from 2015

In 2015, Mark, Mike, I and a few others were thinking about the future of the company. We mapped out the things we needed to do. The persona we used was a ‘team that delivers customer outcomes’. This map led to our serverless first approach. We kept this map on the wall for three or four years. And we’d always go back to it.

We even used it to talk through outsourcing versus off the shelf versus build. Or the rent, reuse or buy build cycle. We used this map to try to make sense of what we needed to do.

When you are creating the revolution there are so many things to consider. You need a way to sense make in order to know what to go after first. The map gave us visibility and helped with our decision making to start here and work our way up.

Sense Making Map at Map Camp
Sense Making Map at Map Camp

7. Creating Space for Innovation map – The Value Flywheel Effect

For the book we developed a concept called ‘create space for innovation’. And we went completely meta by mapping a book about mapping! In ‘The Value Flywheel Effect’ we look at the CEO of a company. And we focus on where’s your Clarity of Purpose, your Long-term Value and your Next Best Action? And all of that is based on the idea of Challenge, which makes up the four phases of the value flywheel.

Customer needs must shift to the right to create space for innovation. This is a tidied up version of the map that took two years to draw. And this has become The Value Flywheel Effect book.

Creating Space for Innovation Map at Map Camp
Creating Space for Innovation Map at Map Camp

The Value Flywheel Effect

We created an impact and change in the company through an iterative a way to join business and technology strategies.

First of all your ‘Clarity of Purpose’ should be at the top of your map. In other words what’s your North Star? Then create the right environment which is psychological safety and an environment at the bottom of the map. ‘Next best action’ is making sure Engineers are well skilled and have a good cloud strategy. That’s on the left moving to the right. And then eventually ‘Long-term Value’ or being very clear about good architecture standards. That’s on the right, It’s best practice.

Applying the Value Flywheel to a company is a great way to drive change and create movement without taking a big bang approach.

A lot of companies have moved to the cloud but they’re not finding the value they need. The value flywheel is a way to use mapping to find that value. And it’s the story of how we’ve used several key maps over the past 10 years to figure stuff out. We went from writing a bunch of stuff to evolving that into a published book. In order to help you learn mapping and effect real change.

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