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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

What is an Impact Map, what makes it robust, and why should an experienced BA know how to create one?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 724 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Agile Methods, Project Management

ANSWER

Impact maps are a powerful tool in the agile BA toolkit. First introduced by Gojko Azdic, a Strategy Consultant, in 2012,  Impact Maps (IM) are a fast and straightforward strategic planning tool. They provide a high-level graphic view of business goals and how they may be achieved. Several free and paid tools can be used for creating Impact Maps. It facilitates collaboration between technical teams and business stakeholders as well as being an enabler for getting all stakeholders aligned regarding goals and the strategies for achieving them.

Often a team may have a lot of potential features or some pretty vague ideas. Impact maps can help in sorting out which are the most beneficial. The flexibility of impact maps also allows one to work backwards when features are being considered – ask yourself the question, what pain point will this feature solve?

Impact Map

Image by www.impactmapping.org

 

There are only a few steps with crucial questions, making it an attractive way to extract critical information from stakeholders.

When to use it

  • Sprint planning and scoping
  • Deciding on the most valuable features to be built into a product
  • Testing assumptions about features or user problems and experiences
  • For converting vague requirements into comprehensive user stories

Steps for creating an Impact Map

  1. Select Pain Point
  2. Choose Goal
  3. Select Personas/Actors
  4. Identify Impact (behaviour you want to influence)
  5. Assess Features to Achieve Business Goals
  1. Ask yourself: What is the actual problem that I am trying to solve? Select or identify the pain point or problem that your customer is experiencing. These could be productivity, process or support-related problems.  This can be achieved by actively listening with empathy to your customer and asking the right questions, don't make assumptions. Next, establish the metrics that can help you track the customer pain point and measure the success of implementing the deliverable or feature. For example, 50% of support-related calls in a contact centre are about customers inquiring when their parcel will be delivered.
  2. Ask yourself: Why is this necessary? Once you have identified the pain point, consider what can be done to address it and what value it will achieve. Example: Reduce parcel delivery time support calls to 20% of total calls received by the contact centre. These are the goals you intend to achieve.
  3. Ask yourself: Who is affected by this problem?  Identify the personas or actors that will help you in achieving your goal of reducing the customer’s pain point. Example: the customers calling in. We want to influence their behaviour.
  4. Ask yourself: What behaviour can help us achieve our goal?  Consider the behaviour or impact that can help us achieve our goal. Example: What behaviour can help us reduce the volume of customer calls about parcel delivery time. Customers are less likely to call the contact centre when they know what time to expect their parcel.
  5. Ask yourself: What needs to be done to enable this behaviour? Assess what deliverables or features can help us to achieve our goal. Example: Customers can receive regular updates about their parcel’s whereabouts – this could be real-time tracking on the website or scheduled texts.


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Cheryll Singh
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.

 



 




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