5 Simple Steps to Run your First Impact Mapping Session

Anton Zotin
Jul 10, 2017 · 2 min read
illustration by Mimi

Recently I was asked by a very good PO that I worked with about instructions to one technique that I ran with his team. I started to answer and realized that my answer looks too much like a post. And I decided to put it here to make easily accessible for everyone.

So let’s start. This method called Impact Mapping. In short, it works the next way:

  1. Discuss & put in the center of a flip-chart a goal you want to achieve (satisfying SMART criteria would be great). It answers the first question: WHY do we do this?”.
    Good example: “Get 1M users”.
  2. Discuss and try to answer next questions: WHO can produce the desired effect? WHO can obstruct it? WHO are the consumers or users of our product? WHO will be impacted by it?
    Here we think about real groups of people, not tech abstracts.
    Good examples: “Active Users”, “Our Marketing Guys”, “External Advertising Agency”.
  3. Discuss and try to answer next questions: HOW should our actors’ behaviour change? HOW can they help us to achieve the goal? HOW can they obstruct or prevent us from succeeding?
    Good examples: “Recommending/posting (by Active Users)”, “Organise PR event (by Our Marketing Guys)”, “Publish our banners on big buildings in a city center (by External Advertising Agency)”.
    Notice that we still don’t talk about features. We talk about real people and their actions.
  4. Discuss and try to answer next question: WHAT can we do, as an organisation or a delivery team, to support the required impacts?
    Notice that even here we talk not only about features but try to open all possible ideas (because very often it’s much cheaper to achieve something without even writing a single line of code).
    Good examples: “Content to share/post about (to support Posting)”, “Invites (to support PR event)”, “Banners design (to support bunners on big buildings)”.
  5. And a final secret ingredient. Remember that this technique shouldn’t be done by a lonely warrior (like Product Owner). That’s the way how to fail. This technique is a very powerful facilitation method that should be used for a rich group discussion (at least an overall product development team but ideally plus all more or less involved stakeholders).

P.S. You can find all the necessary information about Impact Mapping here: https://www.impactmapping.org/index.html

P.P.S. Also highly recommend reading a book written by Gojko Adzic, a creator of this method: https://www.amazon.com/Impact-Mapping-software-products-projects-ebook/dp/B009KWDKVA

The End.

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