What is an Impact Map

Published about 1 year ago • 3 min read

What is an Impact Map

If you build your product roadmap based on outcomes, you have an idea of which problems you’re planning to tackle now, next, and later but you probably don’t have clarity on exactly how you’re going to solve those problems.

And that is perfectly ok.

You need to be able to identify different options for solving those problems, pick the options that will make a difference and avoid the options that won’t make an impact.

A technique that helps you identify and evaluate those options based on the behavior changes they drive is impact mapping.

Impact mapping combines mind mapping and strategic planning to help a team explore what behaviors they should try to influence in order to reach a particular objective.

Teams use impact maps to discuss assumptions, align with organizational objectives, and develop greater focus in their products by delivering only the things that lead directly to achieving organizational objectives. This also reduces extraneous activities.

Impact mapping structures conversations around four key questions:

  • Why are we doing this? The answer to this question is the goal that the project is trying to accomplish as measured by an objective.
  • Who can bring the organization closer to this objective, or conversely who may prevent us from reaching the objective? The answer to this question identifies the actors who can have some impact on the outcome.
  • How should our actors’ behavior change? The answers generate the impacts you’re trying to create.
  • What can the organization (specifically the delivery team) do to support the desired impacts? The answer to this question identifies the deliverables, which will typically be software features and organizational activities.

This week’s issue shares some resources that explain what impact mapping actually is.

If you have any experience with impact mapping, reply to this email and share your experiences.

Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects

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!

Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects By Gojko Adzic is a practical guide to impact mapping, a simple yet incredibly effective method for collaborative strategic planning that helps organizations 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.

Pick up your copy of Impact Mapping today.

The links to purchase Impact Mapping from are affiliate links. When you purchase a copy of Impact Mapping via these links you’re also making it possible for me to continue to send these weekly emails. You’re also helping to support local bookstores. Thanks for your support!


Impact Mapping Website

Gojko Adzic put together to introduce the impact mapping technique and provide links to a wide range of resources. Go to the website for an overview of the resources available to learn more about the technique.

Take a look at the following resources to get some more specific information.

Product Discovery and Impact Mapping Technique

Product Discovery helps an organization to see whether its planned features or additions to the product are in alignment with the overall company goals or not. Parth Amin explains how to use Impact Mapping as a part of product discovery to identify the features that do not add to a goal and that you don’t need to do.

Impact Mapping - a cheatsheet

Tom Donohue put together this impact mapping cheatsheet which you can use as a reminder, or help you run an impact mapping session.

My Key Takeaways From Impact Mapping

Saeb Amini received the Impact Mapping book as a gift from his company, Telstra Purple. Saeb it a great and easy read while being full of gems. A lot of the concepts resonated with him, especially because he already knew about the concept, but he still picked up a few ideas. Here are the golden nuggets he wrote down as he was reading the book.

Impact Mapping

The folks from ProductPlan explain that Impact Mapping is a graphic strategy planning method to decide which features to build into a product. As it begins with the intended goal and extends out from there, all identified features have a direct impact on achieving that goal and a clear rationale for how they will do so.

Thanks for reading

Thanks again for reading InsideProduct.

If you have any comments or questions about the newsletter, or there’s anything you’d like me to cover, just reply to this email.

Talk to you next week,

Kent J. McDonald
Founder | KBP.Media


Hand-picked resources for product owners, business analysts, and product managers working in tech-enabled organizations. Check out the resources I offer below and sign up for my newsletter!

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