System Mapping

Discover, Explore & Communicate the Real Complexity of Your Systems (presentation from LastConf 2018).

Colin Panisset

Every organisation has legacy systems, and people who know “where the bodies are buried” – hidden aspects of dependency, communication, process flow and whatnot, which every system relies on to function. These are the dirty secrets swept beneath the rug of “business as usual”, and they represent risk and friction alike.

As Peter Drucker is famously quoted, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”, and the first step towards measuring it is to be able to describe it. How can you do this with gigantic, complex, intertwined systems whose origins are buried in mystery and legend, whose very operation and continued existence is dependent, frequently, on specific people, high priests who may not want to share their arcane knowledge?

This session from LastConf 2018 provides evidence-based techniques for uncovering this complexity, visualising it in a machine-friendly but fundamentally human-centric manner, and using the results to drive real organisational awareness that facilitates conversations and change.

For additional reading on System Mapping read Mapping System Couplings and Dependencies for Fun and Profit

Working example of System Mapping

Following on from the above presentation, I run through a working example of System Mapping and provide some real world examples.

You can find the exercise repo here