Product Practice #302: Impact Mapping Helps You Answer These Discovery Questions

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As a structural tool, Impact Mapping helps you zoom in and -out of the micro of Product Discovery.

On a macro level, it helps you bring order to the insights artifacts you have:

  • IMPACT: How clear is the strategic focus? „Increase revenue“ is unspecific. „+34% margins of self-service Australian agency customers“ is specific.
  • ACTORS: How contextual are the segments you want to focus on? „Tim, 34, likes coffee“ is irrelevant to any business goal. „Product Managers overseeing $20M ARR using Stripe“ is a prioritization criterion.
  • OUTCOMES: Are the Outcomes rooted in valid user/customer/stakeholder problems (link to flipped)? „Make users buy more things“ is a BS outcome. „Understand shipping times without visiting the cart“ is based on a user problem.
  • EXPERIMENTS: Do you approach the solution space with a „building“ or „testing“ mindset? Building an MVP is an excuse to satisfy executive impatience. Picking hard-to-scale experiments to test critical assumptions is testing before building.

On a micro level, it guides the selection and execution of your Discovery tactics:

  • What must I learn about the most relevant actors through the research intent questions?
  • What combination of qualitative or quantitative techniques will reveal the „truth“ about the ACTOR‘s problems?
  • How do the results of my experiments affect my choices about ​driving prioritized Outcomes​?

Impact Mapping, like every other mapping tool, is a window into your reality at a given point in time. It points out your gaps so that you can select effective tactics, and it visualizes your decisions to bring team members and stakeholders along.

HOW TO PUT THIS THEORY INTO PRACTICE

  • Have people answer the questions of the Impact Mapping layers without doing a formal framework introduction (nobody needs more frameworks).
  • Connect the dots through the map to uncover inconsistencies.
  • Prioritize your Discovery actions based on these inconsistencies and gaps to avoid following dogmatic defaults.

That’s (almost) all, dear reader. If you enjoyed today’s issue, please share it on LinkedIn or Twitter to help more people discover it.

Thank you for Practicing Product,

Tim


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