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I ordered and read this book in an hour, thanks kindle Word Runner.

This book reminds me so much of Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems. That is also a visual mapping technique serving to surface all private (or hidden) agendas and resolve 'wicked problems'.

I think Impact Mapping (and Effect Mapping) are part of the practises described here Visualising Argumentation: Software Tools for Collaborative and Educational Sense-making.

This book is a much better option. It is more accessible as it uses mind mapping techniques that many people will know. Worth reading several times and trying out the next time you get a stakeholder prepared to spend some time with you.

My only concern is all of these mapping techniques encourage people to think of every concept. It's part of the innate 'once through' mentality. Mapping sessions should be an iterated activity. In my experience repeating things like this (and project planning) never happens. So they become the Big Modelling Up Front anti-pattern.
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on 19 November 2012
This book describes the technique of "impact mapping" in enough detail to allow you to use it with working teams, and facilitate workshops on it.

For more on the technique itself which is a useful way to generate ideas for features that are firmly oriented to business value (the opposite of just 'doing them because we can'), see Gojko's website at impactmapping.org

What I specifically appreciated about the book was:
- it's short - long enough to cover the ideas in good detail, but with no bloat (300 page textbooks that include 30 pages worth of value are a bane!)
- useful tips on how to apply the technique in different contexts
- draws on and references a lot of the best thinking and best practices in agile product development in general so it's a v useful starting point for further reading.
- clear and jargon-free

In general I think impact mapping is a hugely useful addition to your portfolio of techniques if you're doing agile / startup product development and if you're going to do it you should really get this book.
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on 2 November 2012
I have done quite a lot of work trying to get requirements out of business peoples heads in a form that can be used for software development. I have used some of the work of Tom Gilb, I have used Mind Maps amongst many other techniques.

So first off, I am very impressed with the way Gojko has synthesised a number of techniques to produce something which quickly extracts the key information from stakeholders, in a workshop environment, with more precision and yet without getting into implementation details. You don't usually get much time to do this sort of thing, so focus an speed are essential.

I have not yet tried this technique myself (but I will!), but there is an interesting vimeo which includes a section by a facilitator from a company using the technique: [...]

So another key point is the amount of background material already available on [...]

The book itself: it is nice and short, with a light writing style, so quick to read. It covers what Impact Maps are, their role and how to create them. I particularly liked the emphasis on pragmatically extracting measurements, plus warning signs for various types of problems such getting the right people, right number of people, facilitating tips, and specific mapping gotchas.

This book is well worth the price and the short time you will require to assess the relevance to you - mastering will take longer.

Why not 5-stars? I would have liked a section which took a look at another example in more detail - there is a running example through the text which is good, but an example which was almost a "play through" of a session would have been perfect.
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on 19 November 2012
This intentionally short book serves as a great introduction to the tool of Impact Mapping and also the principles and ideas behind it. I read the e-book version and have to say it was presented beautifully. The presentation, coupled with the brevity of the book should hopefully help to disseminate the ideas within.

Impact Mapping is a tool that is intended to help organisations to utilise 'Agile' principles throughout software development organisations rather than localising these changes within Tech Departments. It is intended to help clarify thinking in such a way as to allow organisations to derive project scope from their goals.

I've yet to try the technique of Impact Mapping but I have been persuaded by the argument for deriving product design and features from the desired effects and impacts that a software development organisation wants to have, rather than (as I am more used to seeing) from a set of desired features or features derived from perceived user needs.
The change in thinking required to use Impact Mapping, or any other tool with similar intentions, must in my opinion require many decision-makers to reach the conclusion to work in this way. As a lone voice in a crowd, seeking change, I suspect I require my boss and my boss' boss to consider these ideas.

Which leaves me with the troubling question, how do I encourage others to read it?
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on 21 March 2017
I really enjoyed the fact that this is a short read, I read it in one session. This allows you to take in the ideas easily. Even the illustrations help get the key messages across really well.

I would particularly recommend this book to Product Owners/Managers looking at the best way to ensure products address real business objectives.

I rated this as a 4 because while the examples were simple and easy to follow I would have liked at least one more that was a bit more complex .
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on 7 May 2014
I'm going to give it 5 stars, with a reservation. I think the idea itself is worth 5. It's a short book, and I've read it 3 times.

Where I feel the book is weak is by not actually making the concept so clear. After the first read, I kind of realised the book had a big idea worth understanding more, but I needed to read it again to get a grip on it. Why it failed is, in my opinion, by trying to be too visual, with lots of cartoon pictures to summarise topics. The main set of pictures uses a racing car, driver, mechanic, engine and stuff, and this made it less clear, not more.

However, once I went over the book and got my own metaphors and pictures (I'm certainly not against pictures), once I personalised the ideas, in other words, I recognised the book as contributing substantially to my thinking in business model design.
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on 31 December 2012
I've read both of Gojko's previous books and they've made a significant impact on how I think about and approach development projects as a business analyst on an agile team. I had read the 'beta' document that eventually became this book and it didn't disappoint once it was in print, it's nicely illustrated and easy to read. What I like about all his books is his practical, concise use of realistic examples, and an honesty that the techniques he describes are capturing his latest thinking and don't claim to be a silver bullet and the final word in software development.

The book addresses a problem any type of project often faces - how to get agreement from stakeholders on what the goals of a project are and what needs to change to achieve it, and avoid jumping straight into a wishlist of features and solutions driven by who shouts the loudest. The technique has the added benefit of keeping the project at a level of definition where solutions can still be negotiated and evolved iteratively, and will help to keep the team focused on meeting the business objectives.

I've also recently read 'Discover to Deliver' (Gottesdiener/Gorman) and can see impact mapping working nicely with the methods described there.
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on 22 July 2013
Great Agile-led development is when the review of the iterations have context.

This book provides an excellent framework for providing visibility of the the business context in a simple to understand manner that focuses on the minimum required pertinent detail.

When I used the technique to work through a live programme's goals it quickly and clearly showed flawed assumptions, backlog tasks unlinked to the goals and a lack of empirical justification for prioritisation of resources. The resulting format was easy to work through with product owners and other stakeholders to collaborate in how to re-align the programme.

Highly recommended particularly in engaging with the senior business stakeholders.
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on 13 March 2018
Short ? yes, it's little more than a pamphlet. quite a few pages have about 12 words on and massive cartoons. abstract concepts, no specifics, i saw nothing useful in it, although i was so irked by its lack of content for the price that i only flicked through it before discarding. others may approach it more generously than i did if you can borrow a copy. anyway, i sent it back for a refund, there is better stuff on the web for free.
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on 30 January 2014
In many companies, the gap between business people and development team is pretty huge.
- Dev teams are working using a water-scrum-fall methodology. This means that only the development teams are agile while the business is still working old school style.
- Dev teams and business should communicate really more.
- Communication is often a document-based communication. Business and dev teams are “sharing” information only via specifications documents
- Dev teams are not aware of the real business goal behind a not-that-well-written user story; they do not know what kind of business value (impact) their development would bring.
- Dev teams and business are even not speaking the same language!
- …

This book will give you the right tool to solve all this.

Impact mapping will get business and technical people together. They will share goals. They will share and agree on what are the different options that would reach the goals. Business and technical people will build the map together, having the same objectives in mind, sharing the same vocabulary. Even user stories will be tied to the impact map, using the same actors, impacts and deliverables. This will obviously bring agility into business team as switching to one branch to another if the first choice doesn’t match the measured goal, requires a short feedback loop.

Thank you Gojko for having gathered all those great ideas within that short, useful, practical, reference book!
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