What Is Impact Analysis? And Why Is It Important?

5 minutes read
17 Jun 2022

Impact analysis is a well-detailed study of infrastructure, activities and dependencies. It can show us how some products are delivered and examine a disruptive event’s potential impact over time. At this time, impact analysis is widely used to check and find the mistakes in the performance of a system, new features. Read more in this post.

Pam Dawson
Tech-Journalist, Data Science Enthusiast
What Is Impact Analysis? And Why Is It Important?

The impact analysis was first described and published in 1996 by software engineers Robert Arnold and Shawn Bohner in the book called “Software Maintenance”. They stated that impact analysis is all about locating the potential consequences or estimating what needs to be modified to accomplish a change successfully. Impact analysis is one of the most important aspects of responsible requirements management. Almost every single company uses this analysis to figure out if there are some issues so they can get fixed in the early stages.

Impact Analysus Matrix

To the authors of the book “Software Maintenance”, 1996, there are 3 types of impact analysis:

  • Dependency Impact analysis is used to determine the depth of the impact on the system.
  • Experimental impact analysis is finding and locating similar situations that occurred in the past to determine if they may happen in the future.
  • Traceability impact analysis captures the links between specifications, design elements, requirements, and tests by analyzing their connection so they can determine the scope of initiating change.

These types enable the teams to swiftly locate the impact and respond to it from the best angle.

An example of Impact Analysis

Here are 5 steps that will explain to you what impact analysis looks like:

  • The first step is to identify the sequence in which the task has to be done and how they may be interspersed with present responsibilities.
  • The second step is to find out if the change will impact the project’s critical path. If by any chance, the assigned task is on the essential slips of approach, that means that the completion date will also slip.
  • After the two steps above, we need to evaluate the impact of the newly introduced change on the project’s completion time frame and cost.
  • Estimate the proportional benefit, penalty, cost, and technical risk of the modification compared to other discretionary needs.
  • Document the outcomes of the influence research study to all stakeholders to ensure they may make use of the data to establish whether to permit or turn down the improvement proposition.

This technique shouldn’t take even more than a few hours to complete. This might appear like a bunch of time to a busy developer. Yet, seeing that the project sensibly invests its limited information is a tiny financial investment. So go straight ahead of time; produce certain you’re not stepping into mire if you may adequately analyze the effect of a modification without such a step-by-step examination.

Read how Acure can help you conduct impact analysis and investigate incidents in our use cases section.

How to Do Impact Analysis?

1. Prepare Your Team & Ask for Permission to Do the Impact Analysis

The first and most crucial step is to prepare all necessary information since it is very dependable on success. You will need a good team who has access to all the data. You will then need to get a permit from the senior management. Finally, describe what you are planning to achieve with the impact analysis and define the goals and objectives. Having a lousy team will most likely result in a failed impact analysis.

2. Gather the Information You Need

After that, brainstorm high-level areas that would be impacted through the recommended adjustment, such as the team’s strategy, customer teams, and business processes, and acquire the records required to do the research. Finally, if you know the improvement will undoubtedly influence several departments, produce a listing.

3. Appraise the Gathered Information

Eventually, it’s time to assess the information gathered. Ask yourself what the significant benefits and drawbacks of the shift will be, and then work out how to best cope with them. Finally, create an impact analysis report to summarize your findings. The report should begin with an executive summary that describes the methodology used to collect data and evaluate it and a summary of results and recovery suggestions.

What is an Impact Analysis Document?

An impact analysis document (or report) is a checklist to evaluate the change request before working on it. It is an essential document since it can create a list of what to do next and make your team more focused on solving all the problems. Skipping this part can lead to confusion between the team and much less productivity so it is very essential to be done.

You can download this template here

The document is supposed to give details like:

  • The summary of the problem;
  • Explanation or demonstration of how the flaw causes failure or inefficiency;
  • Complexity estimate;
  • A cost and time estimate for the repair;
  • Tested functionality;
  • A list of the new test cases developed due to the modification;
  • Mention the reference document, technical specification, or other relevant information.

Impact analysis is a critical component of responsible requirements management because it offers an accurate knowledge of the consequences of a proposed change, allowing everyone concerned to make educated decisions.

The challenge is that in large projects with thousands of artifacts, manually describing and tracking the life of a need from idea through specification and development to deployment is practically impossible.

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