Do you need a map day if you have a WBS or SOW?

This thought came up recently when one of my clients brought me in to do a map day. They already had a very detailed SOW (statement of work) that they had provided to the client. The SOW was almost a Work Breakdown Structure. How would this work?

In many of the map days I’ve been in, the teams have a broad idea of what they are supposed to build but not a detailed understanding of it. So we build the WBS/SOW on the fly.

In this case, we already had the SOW. This provided us with the opportunity to do a tremendous amount of pre-work. I took the SOW, populated the deliverables matrix with it, came up with abbreviations and pre-printed the Post Its with the information. What I lacked was owners and users and, in most cases, any kind of dates.

Using these pre-printed Post Its, I led the discussion. We focused on the first year to make sure we could meet the commitment for the first year. Lo and behold, we were done in about 1/2 of the time that it usually takes for a map day! In this case I would call it a map 1/2 day! We did find some items in the SOW that were not deliverables; we found a few things that were missing, but not much.

The one question was handling the higher levels of the SOW. My first approach was not to plot them but then I realized that people need the grouping to get a better picture of how things fit together and their timing. We needed to watch out for putting dates on higher levels that were not supported by the lower levels but this became obvious.

Once we had this information, I updated the spreadsheet and immediately had a tracking tool. Because of contract requirements, I exported the matrix to MS Project.

So, next time you have a map day, check to see if there’s a WBS or a SOW available. It will save a lot of time and your team will appreciate it. But to answer the title’s question, you do need a map day. Maybe a 1/2 if you are lucky!

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