What Is The System Context Mapping For?
Exploring the unknown
Whenever you want to get very quickly a clear picture about a system (a system being anything). The System Context Mapping method answers and documents several questions:
- What are the limits of the system?
- Which other systems or actors interact with it?
- How and with which interfaces interact external systems with it?
Agreeing on the same
Different teams or stakeholders working together typically call the same or similar things by different names. They all use their own tech-language which causes misunderstandings and confusion.
In this case the System Context Mapping helps to figure out two things:
- How will we name these things when working together?
- Where one system ends and the other one starts.
The System Context Mapping can be done alone or in a group and takes only some minutes. You need pencil and paper, or alternatively a flip-chart and a marker. You can also use any drawing or diagramming program, but make sure, that everybody can contribute actively with the mapping.
- In the middle of the page draw an ellipsis and inside write the name of the system of interest (System).
- Around the System draw all External Systems and name them.
- Draw all Flows to and from the System to each External System and name them.
- While drawing the Flows, determine and draw the respective Interfaces and name them.
Always sketch up immediately what comes to your mind, refine and complement later.