Exploring Wardley Maps

I’ve been reading up about Wardley Maps and trying to understand where they fit in with EA. So a few thoughts…

  • In EA terms what I believe the Maps show is an Architectural “View Point” of an EA Model.  So we have a Graph (as  in Mathematic Graph theory, not as in an X/Y plot) presented against a pair 0f variables – “Value Stream” and “Evolution” (Which being very picky fits in with the Dictionary Definition of a Graph, and not a Dictionary Defined Map which seems to stick Spatial (Geographic) Maps and DNA!) – See References below.
  • Anyway, the Model in Wardley Maps doesn’t really define what the nodes represent (a real map would use symbols and a key), but it is possible (not necessarily) desirable to represent them using ArchiMate for example – e.g. Roles & Actors (Client Role), Business, Application and I.T. Services etc.  Here’s is my effort at a Map for the “As-is” Blackboard VLE:

    Wardley Map for VLE

    Wardley Map for VLE

  • What’s really nice about the Maps is that they (and Simon Wardley’s “book”) manage to present in essence a Strategic level of Enterprise Architecture without once mentioning the phase “Enterprise Architecture” which I suspect helps make them more acceptable to senior managers.
  • What’s nice and clear from the Maps is that an Organisation should be investing time and effort towards the top left of the map – so Custom Build or Customise Product elements that are important on delivering value to the customer, whilst trying to use Commodity/Utility as much as possible for the “invisible” layers.   So for the University a key value stream is for Teaching and Learning for Students, so the “To-be” replaces the off the shelf (but mildly customised – e.g. Branded) VLE with a custom portal built on Office 365, looks like this:

    Wardley Map for possible Student Portal

    Wardley Map for possible Student Portal

  • EA would be able to provide other more detailed views of this data, and could record and summarise, for example, the costs for each of these building blocks e.g. by sizing the blocks based on cost, so showing which solution is more cost effective, or highlight the Security Risks by tagging the blocks with Red/Amber/Green icons.
  • Simon Wardley demonstrates duplication and commonality by overlapping multiple maps, which in the University’s case would likely show that even if the VLE were migrated to Office 365, the Windows Server/VMware elements would remain to support many other services with the only savings to be made there in the amount of hardware required.  Of course, a further map could show “evolution” of VMware etc to a cloud based IaaS solution such as Azure or a Hybrid Azure solution which would sit across the Product/Commodity boundary?
  • The examples are very much a first try at Wardley maps and so I’ve already seen some missing elements – e.g. Networking!


Oxford Definition for Graph

Oxford Definition for Map

About Graph (plots) vs Graph (Theory)

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