Agile Risk and the Business Landscape

March 7, 2019

Simon Wardley does a marvelous job of highlighting some of the essential requirements for understanding and defining strategy. There are five key elements that he describes in his book:

  • Purpose – why are we trying to do something
  • Landscape – the map of the business domain
  • Climate – the weather
  • Doctrine – the rules of the game
  • Leadership – decisions we make

The underlying premise is that you can’t have meaningful strategy without a map. All of these elements support that contextual understanding of strategy and the decision making necessary to interpret and navigate the business landscape. Otherwise, without a map you are flying blind. Wardley’s book does a wonderful job of explaining this much better than I can.

So as I’ve been trying to digest and understand strategy and the need for a map, it occurred to me that this might also apply to risk. Can we understand risk without an understanding of the landscape? Is Wardley Mapping not only useful for strategy but risk assessment as well? I suspect some might argue that strategy and risk are inextricably linked. That could be the case. Perhaps all strategy is really a very high level of risk management? Or perhaps it is just one element of strategic thinking. Because I would assume that accounting for risk is part of all good strategic thinking. Food for thought.