A visible and well-formulated focus on impact not only strengthens your project internally, but also the attachment, co-ownership and support from stakeholders.
Several customers have told us, that the effect of working on impact right from start of a project, ensures clarity about purpose and the benefits the project needs to deliver. This is supported by a survey we conducted at our webinar about Impact as a core element in Half Double. In the survey, 72% of participants stated that they wanted to use the tool impact mapping and 74% of participants stated that they wanted to use the tool Impact-based solution design. But what do these tools consist of and how can you apply them to your own project?
Do not underestimate visuals
The quick overview that the project tools’ visual approach provides, means that all project participants can get a simple overview. Participants can clearly see the benefits/impacts pictured on posters in the project room, and thereby do not need to close-read reports, where they have to interpret sentences and uncover the main points. This provides a far better common understanding of what you have already achieved in the project and what you have yet to accomplish.
Of webinar-participants wanted to work impact-based solution design
Of webinar participants wanted to work with the tool effect mapping
Effect spreads like ripples in water
An approach, which focuses on consistently delivering from project start to finish (and communicating it visually) does not only function as a guiding star for the individual project. If communication about a project’s output is facilitated early on and frequently, the narrative will spread like ripples in water, and reach the rest of the organization and, most importantly, the stakeholders. The stakeholders’ excitement and positive impression of the project’s deliverables is an important step on the road to change and project success. This is highlighted by the principle “Stakeholder satisfaction is the ultimate success criteria”, which is described in the report Project Half Double, results of Phase 1 and Phase 2 (Aarhus University, June 2019) about the core element Impact.
Create impact with 3 tools
Within the Half Double structure, three core elements are defined: Impact, Progress and Leadership, each with their own collection of tools and methods.
The core element Impact utilizes the three tools below. In this article, we go over the two tools which were outlined at our webinar, impact mapping and impact-based solution design.
- Impact mapping
- Impact-based solution design
Create support using the Impact Map
The Impact Map helps to uncover, why the project should be completed and how it can contribute to the organization’s/business’ strategy.
In this way, it makes the project’s meaning clear and thereby creates the necessary support from management. Often, an important success factor for the project is that the project owner’s mandate is on the level of the project’s strategic significance.
If the project owner’s mandate is on a lower level than the project’s strategic significance, it can be difficult to handle challenges in the project which demand that management makes on-the-spot decisions. And managerial handling of challenges is exactly one of the principles, that the agile approach builds upon to create fast progress.
The Impact Map is closely related to the classic project tools, The Goal Hierarchy, SMART and from the PRINCE2 PID-document, the benefits map and end-product description, and from the IPMA complexity evaluation, where the project’s strategic significance is evaluated.
It is important to create the impact map at the beginning of the project in collaboration with the project owner and the people in the organization/business who will benefit from the impact of the project deliverables. But remember to revisit the impact map several times during the project process, so you are sure that the project’s deliverables focus on the right impacts, as well as if the organization/business has changed in a way which influences the identified impacts.
Create co-ownership among the participants
Impact-based solution design is really a simple process, where the project manager and the project owner design the way to describe the project’s impact map and solution design.
The process has a very simple approach: 5 workshops are planned, each with their own purpose, content and participants. For each workshop held, the focus is narrowed down further, and in this way, the tool functions as a funnel that brings you closer to identifying the real impacts of the project. By these means, all workshop participants can see how they need to ensure, that decisions are made at the workshop which bring the project closer to a solution design. By doing this, you avoid the classic workshops, where the participants cannot agree on things like the project’s requirement specification. Thereby you can “wrestle” the large number of workshops, which are often conducted in connection with projects.
We can only recommend that you take a closer look at the tools under the core element Impact, if you want to become inspired by project tools that can create ripples in the waters of your organization/business.