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Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects

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Software is everywhere today, but countless software products and projects die a slow death without ever making any impact. The result is a tremendous amount of time and money wasted due to wrong assumptions, lack of focus, poor communication of objectives, lack of understanding and misalignment with overall goals. There has to be a better way to deliver!

This handbook is a practical guide to impact mapping, a simple yet incredibly effective method for collaborative strategic planning that helps organisations make an impact with software. Impact mapping helps to create better plans and roadmaps that ensure alignment of business and delivery, and are easily adaptable to change. Impact mapping fits nicely into several current trends in software product management and release planning, including goal-oriented requirements engineering, frequent iterative delivery, agile and lean software methods, lean startup product development cycles, and design thinking.

Who is this book for?

The primary audience of this book are senior people involved in building software products or delivering software projects, from both business and delivery sides. This includes business sponsors and those whose responsibilities include product ownership, project oversight or portfolio management, architecture, business analysis, quality improvement and assurance and delivery.

- Business people assigned to software projects will learn how to communicate their ideas better.
- Senior product or project sponsors will learn how to communicate their assumptions more effectively to delivery teams, how to engage delivery teams to make better strategic decisions, and how to manage their project portfolio more effectively.
- Delivery teams that are already working under the umbrella of agile or lean delivery methods, and more recently lean startup ideas, will learn how to better focus deliverables and engage business sponsors and users.
- Delivery teams moving to agile or lean delivery methods will get ideas on how to address some common issues with scaling these practices, such as creating a big picture view, splitting work into small chunks that still have business value and reporting progress more meaningfully.

About the author

Gojko Adzic is a strategic software delivery consultant who works with ambitious teams to improve the quality of their software products and processes. Gojko won the 2012 Jolt Award for the best book, was voted by peers as the most influential agile testing professional in 2011, and his blog won the UK Agile Award for the best online publication in 2010. To get in touch, write to gojko@neuri.co.uk or visit http://gojko.net.

93 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2012

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About the author

Gojko Adzic

17 books145 followers
Gojko Adzic is a partner at Neuri Consulting LLP, winner of the 2016 European Software Testing Outstanding Achievement Award, and the 2011 Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Award. Gojko's book Specification by Example won the Jolt Award for the best book of 2012, and his blog won the UK Agile Award for the best online publication in 2010.

Gojko is a frequent keynote speaker at leading software development conferences and one of the authors of MindMup and Claudia.js.

As a consultant, Gojko has helped companies around the world improve their software delivery, from some of the largest financial institutions to small innovative startups.

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5 stars
467 (35%)
4 stars
564 (42%)
3 stars
236 (17%)
2 stars
46 (3%)
1 star
20 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 112 reviews
Profile Image for Kevin Albrecht.
177 reviews20 followers
February 13, 2013
Simple, straightforward, and indispensable.

After reading this book, I started using this technique for the next milestone of our current project, and in just a short time, it has led us to making better decisions about prioritization. In a time-boxed project, better prioritization decisions are the difference between failure and success.

The book itself is concise and well-written, with clear examples and practical advice for creating and making the most out of impact maps. If I have one criticism (and it is a tiny one), it is that the most valuable tool for me--using impact maps as a tool for creating better user stories--is not mentioned until halfway through the book. This one insight alone more than pays for the value of this book 100 times over.

Strongly recommended to developers on agile teams, product owners, scrum masters, and the business people who rely upon them to create great products.
Profile Image for Ana Blue.
111 reviews12 followers
January 20, 2019
Impact Mapping, the method, gets 4 stars from me.
Impact Mapping is a strategic planning technique that enables the iteration in strategy and the collaboration between business and technology people. In the "trying hard to work agile" organizations, this method can be the answer to many questions. It is vizual, fosters cooperation and has a lean and easy to work with structure.

Impact Mapping, the book, gets 2 stars from me. Half of the book is a description of other concepts or methods that the impact mapping goes well along with. Thing is that these descriptions are too shallow, so if you do not know the methods they do not bring much to you and if you do know the methods they are purely repetetive. Moreover, I would have enjoyed a bit more diversity in the cartoons that depicted purely white male figures in all the "senior" roles. I am pretty sure there was no malicious agenda behind the chosen cartoons, but it would have been nice to have noticed the homogenity before publishing it.

So, in total, it is a 3 star review. :)
Profile Image for Andy Lowry.
4 reviews6 followers
May 13, 2013
A strange book to read, much of it feels more like a marketing blurb than a technical book. The second half of the book which talks about methods for producing impact maps, is clearly written and would make a good reference guide. It also provides a lot of practical advice on facilitating the workshops to produce an impact map, although most of this is not really specific to this technique.

The technique itself appears a sound and effective approach to communicating between stakeholders and focusing teams.

I'd recommend this book to anyone working on projects in a large team or organisation, who needs to communicate the big picture across that organisation.
Profile Image for Alex Fürstenau.
171 reviews7 followers
August 20, 2015
in one word: perfect! it's short, hands-on and providing a lot of value on every single page. It focuses one one topic, not more but also not less and it fulfills that purpose perfectly. The graphics were concise and support the current point pretty good.

Definetly a re-read.
Profile Image for Ben.
177 reviews12 followers
January 1, 2018
Very quick read with some good ideas, so worth reading.

Good reminders of what to focus on, but I personally was hoping for a bit more depth on techniques to ensure you / your team does focus on the right stuff. Overall it felt like 2 pages on what the impact mapping technique is then the rest of the book just listed other product management best practices and pitfalls followed by a pretty cursory, "and that's why impact mapping is great." Lack of additional detail on impact mapping in practice and examples beyond the "more players" one are why I'm hesitant to give it more than 3 stars.

(Aside: a thumbs down to the book's illustrations in that all people depicted appear to be exclusively white males with the exception of a cartoon image depicting the problem of having too many people in the room. I highly doubt there's some malevolent conspiracy behind this oversight, but it would have been nice if this had been noticed during the editorial process.)
Profile Image for Sergey Shishkin.
157 reviews41 followers
October 23, 2012
This book is jam-packed with modern product development wisdom. Highly recommended to those who struggle bridging agile with the outside world.
Profile Image for Sicofonia.
275 reviews
May 30, 2019
It seems that Impact Mapping is very popular these days in Agile circles. This prompted me to buy the book to learn more. However, I was left a bit disappointed because the book was only 70 pages and the content is very superficial. It explains what an impact map is and how to build one, along with some gotchas to be aware of. However, I'm afraid the content falls short from being anything practical.
So now I will have to dig deeper on the web to learn more hands-on stuff about the technique. The book is short and to the point, easy to understand and the illustrations are lovely. However, it lacks the substance that any professional would be looking for in a book.
Profile Image for Damien ALAWIYE.
10 reviews
February 18, 2021
I liked Gojko Adzic's summary on Impat Mapping and it's a cool openning for that practice and the focus on impact rather than output .
I felt it lacked more practical examples as it was a bit simplictic in the examples given.

Nevertheless, it's a good start to learn that innovative practice.
Profile Image for Alistair.
41 reviews6 followers
May 3, 2014
This book presents the concept of 'Impact Mapping' which should provide anyone involved with software projects some useful tools for requirements analysis and product development strategy.

I really like the concept of this book - small, self-contained, and free of filler, it presents its concepts succinctly. I'd love to see a series such as this on software product development/project management topics.
Profile Image for Eugene.
67 reviews2 followers
March 3, 2023
Показана изящная схема управления it-проектами: как использовать опыт айтишников и бизнеса, как выбирать порядок реализации фич, как выявлять истинные потребности заказчика, как измерять и отображать прогресс проекта. Если короче: как делать нужные вещи и не делать ненужные. Кроме прочего, в книге много ссылок (похожих на полезные).
Profile Image for Amanda Varella.
46 reviews
August 14, 2016
Despite being a very interesting and useful topic and technique, I think the concept It's not worthy of a book. It can be explained very easily in a presentation or video. The first 40% of the book are basically introductory. The technique only is explained from the 60% (kindle version). So, if you want to understand how it works, you can start from the 60% and on.
4 reviews2 followers
November 25, 2016
Very good approach to giving structure to agile processes - but I kept looking for the real meat, the stuff I couldn't just read of the web. Didn't find it in the book. I'll try the approach on my next project and see if a re-read of the book while actually doing it reveals something new.
Profile Image for Dennis.
108 reviews15 followers
November 24, 2014
Went through in one quick session. Will definitely have to re-read it sometime soon. With a large marker pen at hand. Great stuff. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Erwin Verweij.
Author 2 books3 followers
May 8, 2014
Good small book if you want to start with mapping. If you know how mapping can work this one is i think a bit shallow. But there was some good advice in it
Profile Image for Peter Rybarczyk.
95 reviews9 followers
August 1, 2020
I see that people here are complaining about length and content of this book. It's true some way, as this is a very short book with very compensated content. But its definitely worth of reading & the author gives a lot of references to other places when you can find more information about specific techniques.
What's important, this is no technical book in any aspect, it's a short guide to how to start with impact mapping and what it is all about and in this form a give it 4/5 stars.

About book

Shors, with content enough to start thinking about facilitating a workshop in your workplace. But there is a bit too little information about facilitating itself. If you haven't been facilitating EventStromings, GameStorming etc. this can be a bit hard read & hard start. But if you know these terms, and do a few workshops before, this book will be more than enough to start.

About method
Haven't done it yet, but for sure I will try. From my perspective, it will be nice introduction and complement for a Event Stormings as it's on even higher level that Strategic ES. Just after reading this book, I see how it could help me with avoiding a few bed decisions I've made.
Profile Image for Daniel.
13 reviews
September 14, 2021
Hut ab, das Buch ist zwar aus 2012, aber man merkt es dem Inhalt in keiner Weise an.
Als großer Fan von Mindmaps kann ich natürlich dem Impact Mapping viel abgewinnen. Es ist eine visuelle Argumentationskette, die herleitet warum wir die Dinge tun die wir tun und es wird hinterfragt, ob die dahinterliegenden Annahmen auch die richtigen sind. Wie können wir es möglichst schnell ohne große Aufwände validieren und ggf. bessere Alternativen finde.
Das Grundgerüst, auf dem alles basiert sind (ist liste es auf englisch auf, da es nur in einer Sprache erhältlich ist, soweit ich es zumindest weiß):
* Why - Goal, Objective
* Who - Actors
* How - assumed expected Impacts, Outcomes, Key Results
* What - assumpted Deliverables, Output, Key Actions

Ich bin begeistert, aber es passt auch sehr zu meiner Denk- und Arbeitsweise, so das ich hier vermutlich zu subjektiv bin.
Das Buch ist eher ein Heft, das wirklich schnell durchgelesen ist, aber dennoch hat es einen hohen Informationsgehalt, der eine Bestellung aus UK durchaus rechtfertigt.
Profile Image for Pavel Gatilov.
3 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2018
A well-focused guide

I think the book is great for fulfilling its promise - give a short guide to the impact mapping technique with further references. It's good that it's short as it keeps focus. At the same time, it covers everything important: the idea, the benefits, the how-to and the pitfalls.

I would recommend it to everyone interested in agile management practices. This should not be restricted to managers. Engineers might find the book useful as well because everyone should make good decisions on the scope of an agile product, especially in small teams.

I assume the technique should be usable in many areas, not just software. I don't see anything software-specific in the book. Any goal oriented business following agile management approach should find impact mapping useful.
24 reviews
March 2, 2020
Good reference material

Gojko's book presents a series of elements that are helpful for the alignment of products and projects, facilitating communication with stakeholders and joining the technical and business side to an extremely rich conversation, aligned with a set of topic of agility; concepts such as value delivery, early iterations, collaboration, flow visualization, Upstream in Kanban Method, Outcome over Output, the Impact Mapping can be of great importance in our teams when defining the strategy we will use, leaving aside the features and list of requirements, for more essential core elements... Interesting material, to have it as a reference...

100% recomended !! 😎 👍 👍
Profile Image for Marcin Golenia.
33 reviews5 followers
March 11, 2021
After reading about Evidance Based Managment, Impact mapping seems to be a compelling visualization technique which helps to connect the dots in the "Experiment Loop". What I like the most is the way in which Impact Mapping makes user stories honest and moves the focus to outcomes, not outputs.

It also fits nice into product initiatives and strategic goals described by Melissa Perri in her book "Escaping the Build Trap".

The thing is that I doubt I could get as much from the book without reading the two that I've mentioned. Without them You may just not "spot" that much benefit of using this technique.

The book is short (and long enough), pictures are nice, the format is not usual - you may feel that you read some kind of newspaper. All in all the book is valuable.
Profile Image for Jyri.
69 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2019
This was actually a pretty good read. The core idea of starting from a business goal and then drilling down to impacts looks sensible. Practical instructions and examples are provided. Benefits are expressed clearly and even the most typical obstacles are addressed.

Right now I'm launching a new project, for which I need to create a backlog. Impact mapping has given me some new ideas to apply in my planning. The model is loose enough that I can fit it in the existing framework but it has some clear benefits to my earlier way of working, especially when it comes to priorization together with the business owners.

Recommended reading for anyone managing any kind of development.
Profile Image for Christoph Kappel.
307 reviews4 followers
October 11, 2021
Another really short one with an easy method to get a good overview about features, actors and ideas how to solve them.

The first part explains how this method can be applied and in which ways it can help and the second part is more like an example how it can be done.

For me the method is really interesting: I kind of love mind maps and think they a visually appealing on a board and also quite easy to understand. Another thing that I also like is the idea to use it for discussion and work to get a shared understanding of a feature and its drivers. Having different ways to reach a goal on the same page makes it easier to discuss trade-offs of a way.
Profile Image for Mike Hales.
120 reviews2 followers
May 26, 2018

I'm in the early stages of a potentially huge project and had the good fortune to have someone point me towards this book. It has given me both the tools and process to properly plan my project, involve stakeholders and generate a shared vision. How happy am I! Short, practical and extremely valuable. If you're planning a project of any kind, this is worth your time and money as it might just save you a fortune and improve you're standing in your business in one hit as you lead a successful project with transparency!
October 16, 2018
I enjoy it this reading. The format is interesting, is more a booklet format. I liked the illustrations and its easy to read. The autor explain what the technique, their benefits and then walk through how to facilitate the workshop and finally some advices and good practices. As I always are interested on doing things with a driver or goal behind, this is a great technique to map goals to actions gathered created by the intelligence of crowds. It's a simple technique for modern product management.
Profile Image for Alicia.
157 reviews6 followers
May 5, 2020
The first part I found very useful. It was the missing link between what I learned during PSPO training and the bigger picture. It's a useful tool to create an overview of what you want to achieve and look for those solutions that offers the most value. The last bit just didn't teach me anything I need at this particular moment. Considering the situation we're in, I would have liked more information on digital collaboration, seeing as brainstorming in a room and creating a map together on a whiteboard isn't possible at the moment.
Profile Image for Stephen Kawaguchi.
6 reviews4 followers
November 26, 2021
Builds upon great ideas to create a practical, flexible tool for strategic planning

The author has drawn from many sources to create a well-thought out approach to bridging the gap between strategy and tactical execution, while somehow keeping it lightweight and nimble. This is one of those rare techniques that seems to yield immediate value, but that will also get better with practice. I can’t wait to try it out!

I did notice enough small errors to distract. This doesn’t take away from the brilliance of the ideas, the apparent wisdom, and the conciseness.
Profile Image for Toni SCRUMptious.
31 reviews2 followers
August 12, 2018
Impact map = “Visualisation of scope and underlying assumptions, created collaboratively by senior technical and business people.”
Why? Who? How? What?
“Iterative delivery plans often lack a big picture.”
1. Discover real goals
2. Define good measurements
3. Plan first milestone
4. Draw the map skeleton
5. Find alternatives (diverge)
6. Identify key priorities (converge)
A great partner read to “Lift off” by Diana Larsen
For more info see impactmapping.org
Profile Image for Arturo Hernández.
Author 2 books32 followers
February 5, 2019
This short book proposes a way of framing company objectives so they can be correctly understood by business and development teams and thus their interaction advances smoothly. Impact mapping aims to reduce friction when things change since its dynamic nature can remind everyone at all times about the real goals.

Overall, it’s a short and informative little book (with lots of noteworthy mentions about other related texts ).
7 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2019
Actionable advice for building technology roadmaps

The author examines the problem technology teams have with having a huge task list with no goal posts, and with senior tech leaders not being able to see the impact of all those user stories at a level where they can map it to business outcomes.

Invaluable actionable techniques to get senior business and tech leaders to communicate unspoken assumptions and needs and to communicate effectively across the organisation.
10 reviews4 followers
September 26, 2020
Nothing short of one of the best books for generating team cohesion, clarity of purpose, and what feels like a genuine plan, without all the pitfalls of either over-planning or over-improvisation. Incredibly succinct and to-the-point, the biggest marks I can put against it are that its small stature belies its significance, and occasionally it will mention other techniques or ideas without explanation.

I cannot recommend it higher, it is among my favorite books dedicated to business.
6 reviews
October 20, 2020
I'm a big fan of understanding "why" an initiative is being pursued. Without connecting back to a clear goal - how can we determine when we are done? How can we work toward prioritizing between many possible options?

Impact Mapping is a well-written book and relatively quick read. As more and more organizations look to scale agile, support governance and focus on business value - this is a great book to read and a valuable tool to add to your toolkit.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 112 reviews

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