Impact mapping is a light cooperative planning approach for teams that desire to impact software products significantly. It is based on user interaction design, result-driven planning, and a thought guide. An impact map is a way to help a company unify the overall business picture with its goals and what it needs to build to achieve those goals, and create a work strategy around it. Impact mapping is one of these significant contributions to agile methodology and is now widely used by product, innovation, and business managers worldwide. Gojko Adzic introduced the Impact Map in 2012 in his book The Impact Map.
Impact mapping is a graphical method of strategic planning that determines which functions are built into a product. Since it starts from and extends from the intended target, all identified functions directly impact the achievement of that target, and there are clear reasons for how they will do so. The origin and basic principles of influence mapping are similar to story mapping and thought mapping and are a visual method for identifying features and prioritizing. It fast displays the path from the immediate plan to a specific position by identifying the relevant actors, how they can help achieve the desired goal, and what functions they need to perform these ideal actions.
Why Do Impact Mapping?
Most of the planning is around a “shopping list of features,” as Gojko puts it. Even when these capabilities are delivered, business goals often do not materialize. The impact map repositions us to deliver value, not function.
- The influence mapping method introduces a simple human-oriented design process; therefore, it is an excellent way to put lightweight design thought technology into practice.
- It is a visual thought guide that reduces the entry barriers for participants and presenters.
- This technique is highly adaptable because the core thought map is straightforward. Gojko’s original article describes a strategic planning workshop at the administrative level for approximately four weeks. It can also conduct 4-6 hours of meetings with project sponsors during the early stages of product development planning.
- It is a great way to have a conversation between leadership and autonomous teams around strategic priorities and translate that into teamwork.
- A focus on the influence of critical figures translates well into results.
Why Is Impact Mapping Important to the Product Manager?
Companies are so often haunted by building a solution that they forget the first thing they have to solve. Products change over time, and the result does not always match the original objective, which may lead to market alignment problems or result in a bloated product that provides unnecessary functionality for its core purpose.
- The Impact mapping helps the product team focus on the plan’s primary objective, mapping everything to that objective. If a function is not produced during that process that affects the profile, it may not need to be present in the product.
- It is also an excellent tool to explain to other stakeholders why some functions are given priority while others are not.
Impact Mapping Benefits
Prioritizing product functionality based on time, budget, user needs, and business objectives while maintaining good communication with the technical team can be challenging.
The Impact Mapping allows the product team to focus all of its efforts where it matters to the business and users. It allows the product manager to ask the right questions to determine what the development team needs to deliver to achieve the goals defined in the business plan.
In addition, affect that mapping has these benefits:
- Improving strategic planning
- Unified Team
- Clarify product assumptions
- Strengthening cross-functional cooperation
- Defined quality
- Making road planning easier
The Impact mapping is another valuable item in the Product Manager toolbox. It can be used in the early stages of product definition, in the ongoing development process to find out what to do next, or as a rational inspection in the product development cycle.
They focus on what to why so product managers can move away from a function-centric mindset and prioritize decisions based on expected results. Build consensus within the organization on what products are designed to achieve and how they can do so through Impact mapping.