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Impact assessment, analysis template revised

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That will certainly leave a mark

Projects create change. A project that is predictive and sequential or iterative and incremental is a promise to change and every change has impact. Prior to launch, an impact assessment is a wise investment for any project that extends out a year as well as those with shorter weekly cadences.

A long time ago, in an enterprise far, far away, my projects were enterprise transformations. With Booz Allen and Deloitte I was involved with transformation change management for entire, complex systems. At that time of my business management career, the early 2000s, I continued to get directed from the board or a C-level executive that felt organization change followed a project life cycle start and end, such as:

Project Initiation,
Project Planning,
Project Execution,
Project Monitoring and Control,
Project Closure

With a project lens, change gave rise to the need for an impact assessment to better realize project disruptive intention across the organization, my pitch:

  1. Identify change impact on departments, roles, process, and technology along the enterprise value stream through to the customer, and
  2. work with sponsors to account, manage, or mitigate that risk.

A couple years back I created a series on Project Scope Management series where I reviewed introduced the Impact Assessment, Stakeholder Analysis, and Communication Template as tools to launch and manage project scope.

All Change is Local Change

Now?

Almost 20 years later?

Healthy organization, or should I say, sober, well, perhaps, competent, maybe, even qualified, organizations and leaders realize that change is constant. Change is less a single project to manage, but on-going dedication to cultural, change resilience, addressed with multiple efforts.

I made two changes to the template:

  1. New department impact analysis sheet
  2. New feature to select multiple selections

Change success is increased with identification of who changes what. Successful approaches identify the persona for change management.

Some organizations do maintain silo need, where their project impacts only that subsection of the enterprise. This may arise in common ways through regional focus or a business product line, as such, not the entirety of an enterprise-wide mandate. I would love to say it was a pilot to inspect and adapt … I am not here to judge.

The department or business unit could represent a pilot for the enterprise or remain wholly exclusionary, but again … I am not here to judge.

With local change in mind, I revised the impact assessment template to include division, department, or business unit focus.

First change to the template: Tab 2, Department Impact Analysis is revised for department, division, business or product line impact, smaller or localized at the business unit. 

Tab 1, Organization Impact Analysis, remains enterprise level, 

The effort is to start the impact conversation and gain feedback from a host of people impacted. This is the first effort to understand stakeholders and communication engagement for success.

Impact Assessment

Originally the template captured impact, one line per issue. Insight from each was then, filled in from left to right, to uncover and account for further risk. Items may need a thorough mitigation strategy, or at least an accountable discussion.

Look at column one, Impact from Business Case or Improvement Opportunity, go down this column and identify upstream or downstream impact. For example, with an enterprise Agile adoption I might list the following:

  • Product Lifecycle Management
  • Job roles
  • Career track
  • Product roadmap
  • Capitalization and depreciation
  • Development applications
  • Customer billing
Toby Elwin, impact analysis, template, scope management, risk, project management

Link to download revised Impact Analysis Template – fully editable Excel file

The great reality is to focus on people component of project impact organizations don’t change, people change. The path to change is similar to the product roadmap need to chart a course and calibrate feedback.

Second change to the template: Column “AG”, titled Change Mgmt Resolution allows you to check off multiple solution options. For the multi-selection option I added a Microsoft Visual Basic script*.

Upon Excel launch screen select Enable Macros to enable macros. Download macro-enabled or macro-free file.

Whether a waterfall promise or an agile design, an impact assessment reveals the people, process, and technology and need to identify sponsors, cultivate change agents, and understand required behavior fit for purpose. The project promise.

In waterfall methods, an impact assessment might lead to a stakeholder assessment then a communication plan. All within project initiation.

With an Agile view, a lean impact assessment would lead to a better business case, but ultimately a healthy User Story and Release Plan.

Impact assessments uncover stakeholders to develop communication campaigns that articulate the message and account for needed success factors across the system.

*I modified a Visual Basic script from Sumit Bansal’s Trump Excel site, an excellent site for Excel tips and tricks, to include YouTube links.

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