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Stefan SteinbauerJune 27, 20233 min read

Wardley Maps 101: Kickstart Your Software Strategy Like a Pro

Tired of tangled software strategies? Discover how to leverage Wardley Maps to streamline your decision-making and optimize resource allocation. 🧩🌟

A step-by-step guide to harnessing the power of Wardley Maps for your software project

Getting started with Wardley Maps is easier than you think. Follow these simple steps to jumpstart your software strategy:

Empty Wardley map with axes Value chain visibility and evolution

1. Identify your user needs and purpose

Begin by outlining the primary purpose of your project and the needs of your users. This will provide a solid foundation for your Wardley Map, ensuring you stay focused on what truly matters. For example, the purpose of a video conferencing tool would be to enable virtual collaboration and the key needs are functionality, ease of use, and security. 🎯

To achieve this, create a list of specific user needs, like low-latency video calls, real-time chat, and secure file sharing. You should also consider the various user personas (e.g., remote workers, students, IT admins) and their unique requirements.

2. List your components

Break down your software into its key components, such as user interfaces, data sources, APIs, and third-party services. For a video conferencing tool, components would include video/audio calls, screen sharing, recording/playback, authentication, etc. as well as third-party services like the video communication API Eyeson. This helps you visualize the building blocks of your project. 🧱

When listing components, be sure to consider not only the technical aspects of your software but also the human and organizational aspects, such as customer support, marketing, and sales.

3. Map the components on the value chain

Create a value chain by placing your components along the X-axis, with the most user-visible components on the right and the most infrastructure-focused components on the left. For example, put video/audio calls on the right, data storage on the left. This enables you to identify dependencies and better understand the flow of your software. 🔗

To ensure accurate placement, consider how each component contributes to the overall user experience and the degree to which it is visible to the end user. For example, a video conferencing tool might have a chat feature that directly impacts the user experience, while a database for storing call records would be less visible.

Value chain with users, user needs and activities

4. Determine component maturity

Assess the maturity of each component by placing it on the Y-axis, with more mature and widely adopted components at the top and less mature, custom components at the bottom. Mature components like Eyeson would be at the top, while a proprietary video codec would be at the bottom. This helps you spot areas for potential cost savings and increased efficiency. 📊

To evaluate maturity, consider factors such as market adoption, availability of off-the-shelf solutions, and proven effectiveness. For example, widely used programming languages like Python are considered more mature than niche or experimental languages.



5. Analyze your map

Examine your map for patterns, risks, and opportunities. Look for components that can be replaced with off-the-shelf solutions like Eyeson, which can save you time, money, and reduce complexity. Map evolution to see emerging new needs. The mapping process can also uncover gaps in your knowledge that require further research. 🚀

Identify areas where you can invest in innovative solutions or where you need to develop new capabilities. For example, if you find that your video conferencing tool lacks a key feature, such as virtual backgrounds, you may decide to develop this in-house or explore third-party plugins.

6. Iterate and evolve

Continuously update your Wardley Map as your software project evolves and new insights are gained. This will ensure your strategy remains agile and adaptable in the face of change. As user needs and technologies change, go back to steps 1 through 5 to refine your map. 🔄

Regularly review your map to ensure it accurately reflects the current state of your software project, and make adjustments as needed. This may involve adding new components, re-evaluating component maturity, or re-aligning your value chain.

Incorporating Wardley Maps into your software strategy is a game-changer, providing the clarity and direction needed to maximize your project's success. So, what are you waiting for? Start mapping your way to a more efficient and effective software strategy today!

Full process to create a Wardley Map


Images created with Excalidraw
For more info on Wardley maps visit LearnWardleyMapping