Monday, 6 May 2013

On impact and behaviour

Something a bit different, some thoughts on impact mapping and a workshop that I was recently lucky enough to attend. One of the first product owner survival camps run by Gojko Adzic with Dave Evans. The workshop description starts with ...
So you're a product owner with an agile team? Congratulations, you are the winner of the world record for the worst named, worst understood and most confusing role in software delivery. Apart from the fact that the PO almost never actually owns the product, they are pushed into an unrewarding role that is mostly about managing "someone else's problem".

That certainly rang true for me ;) how can you take a backlog of items that you are positive that you need right now and prioritise for small, sane iterations. Further, how do you avoid WaterScrumFall in this world? The answer presented here was around impact mapping and expressing things in terms of business goal and how much the "customer" was willing to invest in that goal. Notice the lack of features or cost there? Interesting tack to take in integrating agile projects into an upfront approval/waterfall world.


One way of avoiding the focus on features is to think in terms of the behaviour that you want to change. I think that innovation requires a change in behaviour, so with this method the development cycle should be free to concentrate on innovative solutions to problems not just incremental product development.

The workshop format worked very well for me, talking in terms of business goal and behaviour have seemed easy in theory but going through the process outside of your day-to-day domain and projects provides a practical way to reflect on the process.

Another factor I liked was the intention that the course is the start of building some kind of community. Where the attendees can share how we got on and discuss topics that we didn't have time for on the day. One piece of homework I have for this is writing up my five key learnings from the book "The Connected Company" by Dave Gray.


Edit 07/05/2013
Gojko mentioned a couple of tools for capturing the maps and examples:

  • SpecLog - which I think we are already looking in to at work
  • effectcup - that looks very interesting, but might be another tool too many at this point in time!

Further "reading"

Impact mapping site
BDD and The Agile Business Analyst - Chris Matts (video)

Finding the Truth behind the Story - Dave Evans (video)
Make impact, not software - Gojko Adzic & Dan North (video)
They’re not User Stories - Liz Keogh

Tom Gilb - Evolutionary project management: focusing on the top level critical objectives and delivering real value early in software IT projects & programmes 

Edit 10/05/2013 - couple of extra innovation links
Innovation is about behaviour not products - seems to me impact mapping is all about behaviour change driving the product
3 Keys for Innovation: Why Lean Startup Isn’t Enough - again I see impact mapping as a way of approaching this in a holistic way

Getting email up and running for side projects

Photo by Songeunyoung on Unsplash Rectifying my previous mistake - not building community by using email engagement - has proved to...

Highlights