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Ben Cheetham · local gov digital

Having a go at Wardley Mapping

Last Friday I participated in a Google Hangout organised by Richard Barton to look at Wardley Mapping and bookings.

For those of you that don’t know Wardley Mapping or Value-Chain Mapping, it’s a technique by Simon Wardley that I think has a lot potential to help local government understand what it does and how it’s delivered. There are a couple of videos of Simon talking about mapping at OSCON which explain it well.

Context is key

The original plan was to investigate what a generic booking capability might look like but we quickly found that we needed some context to be able to determine what the items in the value-chain were. We then moved on to mapping the value-chain for booking an appointment with a planning officer. The common or generic capabilities will only be found once you mapped a number of needs and overlay the maps.

Understand the purpose or audience of the map

As we moved down the chain from needs and into the applications used to deliver the service we also had to think about where the focus for the map is and how detailed we wanted particular areas to be, for example when looking at products in the chain vs the functional capabilities they provide.

This focus needs to be based on who the audience is and what the purpose of the map is. My interest is to identify opportunities for using shared, commodity technology to deliver services and challenge, where appropriate, the big line of business systems that enforce departmental boundaries or mean we are procuring the same functionality in multiple ways.

Many councils are implementing CRMs (such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM) or “platform” products (such as Firmstep or GOSS iCM) that can provide a wide selection of functions such as customer account, content management, scheduling, case management, workflow and SLA. Mapping by product means you’re missing out an opportunities to identify areas where the organisation is potentially unnecessarily duplicating data or is paying for multiple systems that in effect do the same thing. This highlights a potential opportunity to rationalise the technology, processes and people and improve the service.

A Head of IT is likely to be more interested in the tail of the value-chain where items such as the “data centre” that contains the IT equipment used to run the applications is mapped and also power. With the advent of commodity cloud services such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure it is harder to justify equipment sitting in a custom-built datacentre.

The image below shows what we were able to achieve in the session:

Wardley Mapping Hangout output

Not bad for a first attempt! We all learnt more about the process and what the benefits of mapping our services could be if we start to do this within our councils and share them.

We’re planning more introductory Hangouts

We’re still learning the technique ourselves and if you’d like to join us, sign up to the LocalGov Digital Slack #wardleymap channel, tweet me @BforBen or Richard @CIOPortfolio.