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7. Techniques

7.3 Impact Mapping

Agile Extension to the BABOK® Guide

Impact Mapping is used to align stakeholders with organizational goals and the creation of customer value.

Impact maps align initiatives and delivery activities with overall organizational goals. Impact maps help all stakeholders stay focused on value creation (the why) instead of feature development (the what). Impact Mapping enhances the feedback loops between the Strategy, Initiative, and Delivery Horizons by tying activities to organizational goals.

Impact Mapping is a lightweight approach which shows a big picture view while identifying specific details. In order to ensure the discovery of information from all perspectives, business analysis practitioners generally facilitate a face-to-face brainstorming session.

The impact map is a visual map that breaks down the organizational goals into specific deliverables. This is an example of an impact map:

Figure 7.3.1: Impact Map


.1 Components

There are four primary components to an impact map:

  • Goal: identifies the organizational goals the solution aims to achieve. It answers the question “why are we doing this?”

  • Actor: identifies the stakeholders who can contribute to achieving the goals. It answers the question “who can influence goals?”

  • Impact: identifies the actions actors can take to achieve goals. It answers the question “how will actors influence goals?”

  • Deliverable: identifies which deliverables and functions will help actors achieve the organizational goals. It answers the question “what activities help actors complete goals?”

.2 Process to Create

Creating an impact map is best done as a face-to-face facilitated exercise to capitalize on the interaction between people of various expertise and knowledge areas. The steps to create an impact map include:

  1. Gather all key stakeholders and team members in one space to collaborate.

  2. Have space to create the visual impact map.

  3. Facilitate the identification of each component, starting with goals, then actors, then impact, and then deliverables.

  4. Once the impact map is created, keep it visible for later revision and refinement.

.1 Strengths

  • Gets the team focused on organizational goals rather than features.

  • Reduces waste by preventing scope creep and over-engineered or over- designed solutions.

  • Provides transparency to know when business outcomes are achieved and when to stop projects before too much money is spent.

  • Impact maps can be created in a short period of time.

  • Gives large context with little information.

  • The goals or "why" components specify quantifiable objects.

  • The visual formats enhance refinement and decision making as new information is found.

.2 Limitations

  • Best done through face-to-face facilitation.

  • Impact maps need to be visual, accessible, and can be revised.