Evolve: A Quick Reference for Wardley Mapping

About two years ago, I was doing quite a bit of Wardley Mapping, and I found myself looking up the same parts of Simon’s blog over and over.

At the time I was super interested in information microsites (single-topic sites like this one), so I built one to host the one thing I referenced most — Simon’s evolutionary characteristics cheat sheet.

As is the case for many open source beginnings, I had a real need and was motivated enough to do something about it. For a time, I was without a doubt its #1 (and only) user.

Knowing that it was just for me, I was super cheap about building it. I just threw a bunch of custom HTML together on top of the Twitter Bootstrap framework and hosted it on GitHub Pages. Good enough!

Over time, the site progressed. I added markable cells to the cheat sheet so I could keep track of my thinking about each characteristic as I mapped and evaluated a component’s evolutionary stage. It made mapping a little easier and a little faster.

Then came the site’s first independent contribution — Tasshin Fogleman added a Wardley Mapping intro, and then a Doctrine section soon after that. We even made the Doctrine tables markable as well, so we could use the tool to evaluate organizational fitness as needed.

Traffic from the last 30 days

As far as I’m aware, he and I have been the main users of the site up to this point, though based on the analytics there may be more…

Regardless, it’s been a quite useful tool for us (especially whenever we’ve wanted to share mapping with someone new), which is why when Tasshin began adding more contributions, I was ready to put a little extra work into an improved design. Which brings us to today…

Instead of focusing only on Evolution and Doctrine, Tasshin and I worked together to envision a more comprehensive Wardley Mapping reference site, dubbed Evolve, which you can check out at evolve.hiredthought.com.

The newly redesigned site has several sections to provide helpful quick-reference information for practitioners of Wardley Mapping.

The Introduction has a short definition of mapping, a list of questions mapping helps answer, as well as a key 6-minute section from one of Simon’s talks. If you want someone to get a taste of what mapping is, sending them here should get them started.

The Landscape section provides an introduction to making a map, as well as a markable evolutionary characteristics cheat sheet based on Simon’s original.

Climate and Leadership sections both have quick-reference tables with hoverable cells that reveal greater detail about each concept.

Doctrine is similar to Landscape, except you can mark cells according to different degrees of organizational readiness.

Visit evolve.hiredthought.com to check it out!

One of the cooler tech aspects of this redesign is that we can auto-generate the above sections of the site based on Tasshin’s canonical spreadsheet of all things mapping (probably the most dense collection of Simon’s mapping material that’s widely available).

We also leveraged a templating framework to make repetitive sections a little easier to build and maintain, so as the background material expands, we can easily expand as well.

Tasshin and I are still focusing on our own needs, but we have a suspicion that there are more than a few of you who will also find it useful. 🙂

The site is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0, and contributions are welcome on GitHub!


Interested in mapping, devops, or serverless? Want to hear what Simon Wardley and Andrew Clay Shafer have to say? Join us at Map Camp Atlanta this April! We’re hosting a joint event with Devopsdays Atlanta and Serverlessdays Atlanta at the Georgia Aquarium. Visit here for more information.

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