On my previous post, Scope or: how to manage projects for organization success that included the eBook Scope – Kills Bad Breath and Kills Projects [link below] I introduced the importance of scope before a project launches. The numbers on project failure are sobering: 70% – 90% of all projects fail and this post follows up both the blog and eBook with the first template available for you to download and use: The Impact Analysis.
With an impact analysis you hope to unearth the layers and levels that the change will effect. Just like tossing a pebble into a pond, projects cause ripples that are carried far beyond the initial splash.
An impact analysis is an early-phase assessment to identify all stakeholders, their needs, their awareness, and their insight into the project – these people are not only sponsors and customers, but the people you want to invite people into the change. Inviting people in develops deeper commitment, understanding, and ownership to the change they will work and live within. Involvement impacts success.
Participation is the difference between getting a project done and getting a project accomplished. This is the beginning of risk management: managing the scope is managing the risk.
This blog and link to the downloadable and customizable Impact Analysis template coincides with slides 28 – 34 of the blog and eBook.
The goal of any impact analysis:
- Understand sponsor goals & expectations;
- Understand strategic context and intent;
- Assess internal context: stakeholders, process, technology
With an impact assessment you look to:
- Identify impact issues through focus groups, interviews and conversations with key personnel, drawing on past experiences and knowledge, and project team discussions
- Categorize areas of impact; the departments affected are identified (i.e., HR, Communications, etc.), employee positions affected are then ascertained, following classification of the impact issue by business area
- Prioritize impact by:
- Frequency (i.e. how often)
- Criticality (extent to which the impact threatens project success)
- Time Involved
- Number of Business Areas Impacted
- Position Impacted
- Difficulty of Implementation
- Develop impact strategy: After prioritizing the impacts, highest priorities are addressed first. The focus is to address and minimize negative results of change and typically done during team meetings to ensure that the strategy will incorporate a diverse perspective. Those issues with high degrees of impact are addressed first and given more time, energy and focus
- Implement: After impact strategy development, the strategy is reviewed with the project sponsor. Findings should be factored into the project scope and project constraints
Impact Analysis Principles
- An organization is inter-related and change to one unit causes bigger ripple effect;
- The identification of who is impacted will guide how to manage stakeholders, scope, training, communication;
- To understand impact you need to include every conceivable point of contact: customer, audience, influencer, competitor; and
- Time invested on impact directly improves scope planning
Impact Analysis Objectives
- Identify risk
- Identify every touch point upstream and downstream of the project
- Invite expert insight
- Identify process inter-relationships affected
- Ask for involvement
- Discover critical success factors
- Identify resistance
- Share accountability
- Who does it impact?
- What will it impact?
- When will it impact?
The template is fully customizable and provides not only a base line view of impact, but a management, monitoring, and measurement tool along the project road. Select this link for an Excel.xls file to edit and build your Impact Assessment. Also view the Scope presentation below.
No doubt I got some things wrong, or left out some important ideas. Please let me know what you think and suggestions you have for me to add value.