Why use Impact Mapping?

Impact mapping is fast, visual and collaborative. It makes it easy to engage people from various roles and backgrounds, expose hidden assumptions and document important decisions. It provides just enough structure to facilitate effective planning and prioritisation, but does not get in the way with complicated syntax or bureaucracy.

Who should use this technique?

Impact mapping is for product managers, business sponsors and senior technical leadership working with iterative software delivery, who want to focus effort, restructure existing initiatives or communicate a vision for a new idea.

How to make an impact map?

Think about behaviour changes that would make a big impact on the users of your product, capture them with post-it notes or write down in the middle of a whiteboard. Group impacts by actors, personas or user categories. Add deliverables that could support those behaviour changes on one side. Add organisational goals supported by those impacts on another side. Connect the related items visually to create a mind map. Prioritise from the goals down to impacts.

What do impact maps look like?

Impact maps usually take the form of a mind map, or a hierarchical outline. Structuring information as a mind map allows you to describe many different dimensions of a product milestone plan in a single visualisation. Use colours, letter type and size, position (hierarchical, vertical/horizontal and relative), outline shades and shapes and additional symbols such as asterisks to describe importance, priority, grouping or impact.