What is Impact Mapping?
March 17, 2022
Impact Mapping is a technique that helps in planning and prioritizing features in product development. Find out how to use it!
Impact Mapping is a visual technique that helps to put the development of product features in context, contributing to the alignment between the development team and company management. The idea is to reflect upon product development from the viewpoint of business goals, main stakeholders and impacts we want to provoke in each involved party in order to achieve these goals.
All this information is organized in a Mind Map, a format that facilitates collaboration between everyone involved in defining the strategy and allows for rapid comprehension and adaptation.
Besides promoting alignment, this technique can also be used to prioritize backlog items, since it clarifies the relationship between each functionality and business objectives.
Why use this method?
The first advantage that comes to mind is the agility that this technique provides. Since it is expressed through a Mind Map, it stimulates collaboration, can be easily comprehended by anyone, and allows for rapid adaptation.
Another advantage is that it facilitates the measurement of delivery success. Once each functionality is linked to a determined impact and business goal, its success can be measured in terms of these factors, which also facilitates management’s understanding of product progress.
Last but not least, one of the main reasons to use Impact Mapping is to avoid waste. By putting deliverables in context, you acquire focus and avoid wasting your team’s time developing something that won’t contribute to the overall business goal.
How to do Impact Mapping?
As already mentioned, Impact Mapping consists of creating a Mind Map. Therefore, before you start, you need to make sure you have the necessary tools to create one. If you are applying this method onsite, you might want to find a board where you can glue sticky notes or draw. However, if you are working remotely, you can use a free Digital Whiteboard tool, such as Strytegy.
Every Mind Map starts with a central idea. In this case, the idea is the business goal you want to achieve.
Starting from this concept, you should add all the main actors that can influence the process of achieving your goal. This might include people who can help or obstruct your efforts, clients and users, and other people impacted by this goal and your product.
From each actor, create new branches to represent the impacts you intend to provoke. In other words: how should this actor’s behavior change so they can help me achieve my goal?
With that, you already have a three-level Mind Map: goal, actors and impacts. The last level of branches should connect all this context with the development of the product itself. You should create new branches indicating what needs to be done or developed to provoke the behavioral changes you wish to cause in each stakeholder, which in turn contribute to the main goal.
Done! After going through all these leves, you will have a clear and complete vision of how functionalities relate to business objectives and this will make decision making easier to prioritize development.
Impact Mapping is a simple yet powerful technique to prioritize the development of a product in context, taking into account the main organizational goals and stakeholders. More than just a tool, it is an invitation to collaboration, which helps in aligning the development team with management, assuring that the product is going in the right direction and avoiding waste of time and effort.
Want to try out this technique? Start it now using Strytegy’s free Whiteboard tool and see how Impact Mapping can help you better plan your product.