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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 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 23 May 2017
It doesn't take long to get through this book but I have already used many of the thoughts and ideas in this book in my day to day work. Highly recommended
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on 26 April 2017
Crisp, surgical with a continuous focus on what has the highest impact. Great read and insight into impact mapping approach for delivering any project.
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on 18 July 2017
extremely useful
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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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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 18 November 2012
First, a confession of self interest. Gojko is a new professional friend, who I have met at several IT Conferences. He cites and credits me, and my ideas, in his book. All of his ideas are highly resonate with my own. So, what is not to like?

On the other hand, I have a reputation, I hope, of being highly critical of most all the new IT development trends. Partly for the sport, partly because software as a trade is still so embarassingly primitive, and failure prone (a subject Gojko leads in with). So, if there is something wrong with the book, something that would waste the readers time - I am honor-bound to say so!

I have a method for reviewing books. If the point made in a sentence or paragraph is IMHO a good one, I write a `+' in the margin. If it is debatable, a `?' and you can guess what symbols I use for brash claims and bad logic. If it is generally bad for long stretches, I don't mark anything, put it aside and, politely, don't review it.

Hopefully the intelligent public won't be fooled either, by useless books. But the IT development community is famous for liking and adopting very `simple' development ideas, that don't work. Or, worse, the methods work a little better than even worse, previous methods. Our failure rate is still horrendous - a shame to the profession. I read this book in 3.5 hours straight, interspersed with other things (OK, family TV).

So how does this book rate? Every page has about 4 to 8 `+'s. There are no `-`s at all. There are a very few places where a `?' means it might be clearer for me. So that means I think Gojko has hundreds of well-formulated and useful insights (`+') that are worth sharing. Pretty good, since some books in our profession have none (IMHO).

But the overall picture is even more important than a stream of deep and useful insights.

1. He totally understands that IT and software development must primarily be about delivering real value for money to stakeholders (who he calls `actors').
2. He understands that software alone is not the solution to all problems and objectives, even in a software-dominated system or application. He understands that we have to include a notion, that others call `systems engineering': meaning `considering the totality of smartest ways to solve the problem, of delivering value for money to stakeholders'.
3. He gives us a simple co-operating set of potentially useful tools (`Impact Mapping') for helping us keep focused on the real stakeholder objectives - in spite of a complex and rapidly changing world.

He is very open to any ideas that might help us further the `value for money for stakeholders' objective, and draws on a rich, but reputable, variety of credited sources. He is enthusiastic about his toolset, yet clear about the fact that it is early days in his own personal use of the entire method, and that we need to get experience with it, and perhaps evolve it - as he already has done compared to his previous book. He does not yet offer detailed case studies, let alone scientific studies of the method. But he hopes the community will help collect this data, and specifically refers to a website to start a community of practice. If history is any guide, the case studies will arrive, and data will be collected. And `Impact Mapping' will hopefully turn out to be a useful wave of improvement.

I know, from my own experience, the power of much of what he recommends, for example the power of taking the step of quantifying the top level project drivers; to clarify the stakeholder values. This step is like day from the night of the pervasive management BS driving most all software projects.

He tries to describe pitfalls, so we can avoid them. I like such a balanced picture, and a realistic picture.

One central idea, if not THE central idea, is that there is a causal chain from the central `business' objectives of the development project, to the stakeholders, their values, and finally to the means (design) to deliver prioritized satisfaction of those values. I am totally in sympathy with that idea, and it has been totally missing from the current `agile' culture, as I have repeatedly pointed out.

IT systems are too important to society to be put in the hands of `coders' who cannot raise their sights to the interests and values of victims of their craft.

Gojko gives us a practical set of tools to work this value chain, and maintain its integrity during change.

Are their things I would improve upon? Of course; and so will Gojko, and hopefully maybe you, reading this. But we all are subject to the cultural maturity of our clients and students. We cannot impose `ideas of sophistication' on the many who are not yet motivated, experienced and ready for such `improvements'. Culture change takes decades, at least, and we have to be patient.

I, for one, would be delighted if Gojko helps us get more buy-in, for real, of the central practice of `recognizing that the central mission for IT developers is to consistently, early, frequently, and cumulatively deliver central, critical, high-level improvements to the stakeholders'.

Imagine if we `nerds' one day became famous for our ability to deliver amazing value quickly?

Tom Gilb
18 November 2012
Kolbotn, Norway
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on 4 June 2017
Great read! It explains the technique which helps to move focus from the bunch of features to the Business Goals and impacts/behavior changes that We would like to produce. The book is full with the examples and suggestions for further readings which also makes it even more useful.
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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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