What is Impact Analysis?

What is Impact Analysis?
What is Impact Analysis?

Impact Analysis is the methodology to study the requirements’ data, to understand the pros and cons of any change. As the world keeps evolving, changes are to be expected, even in a well-developed system.

Changes can happen for a variety of reasons: a change in a client’s requirements, adjustments to business needs or new technologies.

Since changes can potentially result in a failure, it is prudent to proceed with proper planning when making necessary changes.

This is where “Impact Analysis” comes in.

This is a technique that helps to identify the consequences of any changes being planned in a software or a product.

How is Impact Analysis Done?

There is a small procedure to be followed for effective Impact analysis:

  1. View the change request and check its feasibility in the system.
  2. Identify the sequence to perform a task and how to interrelate it with the current one.
  3. Change is a critical component of product evolution.
  4. Identify the effects of the change request.
  5. Identify the change request’s priority.
  6. Analyze and document the outcome.

Once completed, the impact analysis report must be shared with all stakeholders so that they can determine if they should support the change, or not.

The Importance of Impact Analysis

An Impact Analysis is meant to provide a better overall understanding of the change request and system, and reveal potential issues before taking any action.

For example, let us assume a location change is required after an unexpected disaster. In this instance, an impact analysis can help the management understand the true cost of fixing the situation they are in and and reveal the best way to move forward.

But Impact analysis can help in making business decisions too. When a company is faced with a major change, an impact analysis can help lend clarity before making impactful decisions.

An Impact Analysis also helps understand the possible outcomes of implementing the change request. By observing outcomes, the user can predict the overall performance of the product after a change is made.

In a software, this analysis can help identify all the files, documents and models that may be affected.

Based on this information, the development team may decide to make certain modifications to make the change implementation smoother.

The analysis will also help estimate the effort needed behind implementing the change, and identify the tasks required to implement the change properly.

What are the Things You Put in an Impact Analysis Document?

It is not always important to document the analysis in a formal manner with all checkpoints. But a few checkpoints are applicable in showcasing the impact of a change request:

  • Description of an issue(Change request)
  • Change request ID
  • Title
  • Description
  • Prepared date
  • Estimates: This includes relative benefit, relative penalty, relative cost, and relative risk
  • Estimated total efforts: Time in hrs
  • Estimated lost efforts: Time in hrs
  • Estimated Schedule impact: in days
  • Quality impacted
  • Another requirement affected
  • Another task impacted
  • Integration issues

Requirements changes are a part of the development cycle. The concerned stakeholders coordinate with software engineers to identify the requirements defects, changes, adding new requirements, and requirement prioritizing.

In product development, surprises are rarely good news. Before a developer says, “Sure, no problem” in response to a change request, he or she should spend a little time on impact analysis.

It’s critical to understand the specific set of requirements and features that need to be retested after a change is implemented. Skipping impact analysis doesn’t change the size of the task. It just turns the size into a surprise.

Author — Ayushi Gupta, DLT Labs

About the Author: Ayushi is a young professional in our Business Analysis team. She has been primarily focusing on DL Asset Track producing requirement documentation, user stories, and mockups. She has a bachelor of Technology in Computer Science.

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DLT Labs is a global leader in Distributed Ledger Technology and Enterprise Products. To know more, head over to: https://www.dltlabs.com/

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