Impact Analysis


Quick Summary
When considering a project change or a particular solution, or choosing between multiple possible solutions, it helps to have a thorough understanding of how each option will impact business areas, systems, and external organizations. Will it add to the development time? Will it require additional training, or reduce turnaround times? An Impact Analysis will help you correlate all those variables and determine the best course of action.


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What this is

An Impact Analysis will help you capture and evaluate the impacts, both positive and negative, of a given solution or change on a project. Understanding how a solution will impact the business areas and systems within the organization helps with decision making, like selecting one of multiple solution options or evaluating the addition or revision of a requirement. In addition to defining the work to be done from a technical and project perspective, it also starts identification of the change management planning efforts that will be necessary if the solution/change is approved.


Why it's useful

Within the project lifecycle, and within the domain of business analysis, there are two primary uses for an impact analysis. The first is to understand the impact a given solution will have on the business. If the project team needs to choose between multiple options, for example, completing an impact analysis for each will help identify which is the more favorable solution.

The other use for an impact analysis is to assess and articulate the impact of any changes that come up during the project lifecycle. Analyzing the impact of the change helps determine whether or not the change is feasible and whether or not it should be approved.


How to use it

  1. Clearly define the item or items to be assessed. A clear definition will help you understand which areas of the business and its processes might be impacted. You may be using the impact analysis to document the impact of a single item or compare the impacts of multiple options.
  2. Understand the goals. Review the objectives and requirements of the project to use as the baseline for evaluating impact.
  3. Decide which areas/domains you will focus on during the analysis. An impact analysis is similar to a cause-and-effects assessment, so look for areas where the solution or change will affect people, processes, capabilities, or resources, to name a few. When evaluating several similar items, such as comparing solution options, developing a common and consistent set of analysis domain elements will help ensure an apples-to-apples comparison.
  4. Gather information and conduct the analysis using the guidelines and template. Impact analyses are part independent assessment (your own assessment of what is known) and part collection of input from stakeholders, users, the development team, and surrounding organizations. Use the project's Stakeholder Analysis to identify people and departments that may have valuable input. (See the Stakeholder Analysis template on our website for an example.)
  5. Evaluate the results. Once youÂ’ve analyzed the information and consolidated it into the analysis table, step back and evaluate the overall impact.
  6. Finally, summarize your findings and develop a recommendation to be provided to the project stakeholders, sponsor, and project manager.

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Related Templates
Guideline for a Simple Change Control Process
A simple set of guidelines a team can use to indicate which project documents should be put under project/program level change control and when it should happen. This process was created by an IT organization, but is applicable to any group.

Stakeholder Analysis
Your project team has to balance the interest of many different project stakeholders. Some of these stakeholders may have competing goals and interests, and many may have limited resources. This stakeholder analysis can help the team schedule appropriate attention to each, and decide how best to mitigate conflicting stakeholder interests when they do happen.

Recommendation Template
Craft an organized, well documented recommendation to proceed with a given business solution or alternative. It includes all of the key components needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to endorse or approve the recommendation.



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