Workshop Exercises: Goals

Dependency Mapping

Prevent upstream bottlenecks and unintended downstream effects

Illustration of Dependency Mapping
Run a Dependency Mapping play

Alternative plays: Impact Mapping, Opportunity Solution Tree Mapping

Follow-up plays: Golden Path

Timing: Planning

Prep time
5 minutes

Run time
60 minutes

Group size

Why: Your work does not happen in isolation – understand what could potentially impact your success

When: When a team embarks on a new endeavor

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Introduce the exercise. Explain the importance of identifying how your work impacts different systems, potential risks, and creating an action plan. Outline each step of the exercise.
  2. Identify impacted systems. Ask participants to list all systems affected by your project while you as a facilitator lists them on a whiteboard. For each system, specify:
    • Who is the owner – who is responsible?
    • Type of Impact – how does your work influence this system?
    • Characteristics of impact – list details relevant to build a shared understanding among team members and stakeholders.
  3. Outline potential risks. Conduct a 5 minute Silent Storming, asking participants to list potential risks. Have them Playback each one and Dot Vote on the most critical.
    Share, agree, and document the top risks in with the following information:
    • Risk Level - High, medium, or low.
    • Mitigation Plan - Countermeasures for the risk.
    • Owner - Who will lead the mitigation?
  4. Next steps. Review the outlined risks and dependencies. Identify stakeholders to help manage the most critical risks. For each, note:
    • Stakeholder - Your partner in managing the risk.
    • Review Frequency - Weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
    • Feedback & Actions - Document updates from stakeholder conversations.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Share your map

Share your map with relevant stakeholders and teams and let them suggest additions or edits

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