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Agile/Scrum, OpenStrategies

Impact Mapping and OpenStrategies PRUB-thinking

I enjoy reading Scrum-master Magnus Dahlgren’s blog and a recent one on Impact Mapping particularly caught my eye because of its similarities to OpenStrategies’ PRUB-thinking.

Magnus’s model links Goals to Deliverables:

  • Goals describe what a project is trying to achieve
  • Actors are the people who will use a product created by a project, or are impacted by it
  • Impacts are the actions of the actors, either to help or hinder achievement of the Goal
  • Deliverables are the things created by the project and which will be used by the Actors to achieve or mitigate the Impacts

In OpenStrategies, the basic model is PRUB – Projects, Results, Uses and Benefits. This can also be used in reverse (BURP) to work back from Benefits to Projects. Benefits describe the value obtained by people who Use the Results of Projects.

A partial OpenStrategies model for reducing childhood obesity might look like this (omitting Projects):

BURP obesity

An important aspect of this approach is that the Benefit ONLY arises as a consequence of children doing something differently; i.e. the Uses lead to the Benefits.

An Impact Map of this same situation might look like this:

Impact Map obesity

This approach separates users from their actions and, in some situations, it would be really helpful to be able to see this distinction. The key point of this approach seems to be its focus on Impacts which may either be positive or negative.

In contrast, OpenStrategies places its emphasis on identifying the cause and effect relationships that lead to a particular benefit. In this example, it is clear that childhood obesity will only be reduced if children alter their eating habits (Uses). It is, therefore, particularly good at weeding out activities (Projects) that cannot be linked via Results and Uses to the desired Benefit.

You can read more about OpenStrategies, here.

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