Meaningful Product Processes with IMPACT

Annie Dunham
Former VP of Product Management at ProductPlan

product processes for IMPACT product management framework

After reading a blog or a book or attending a conference or talk on product management, I’m always excited to try out the new processes and frameworks I’ve learned about. I try to get my team similarly enthused about this endeavor. But when I check in with them in about a week, you can barely tell that anything had changed… mostly because it hadn’t.

We tend to fall back into how we were doing things before because that cool new process isn’t meaningful in itself. Without the context for why it’s the most important way to spend our time, it wasn’t worth investing in making a change.

So when I tried coming up with my own mindset and mantra for improving product management, I found myself elevating above the flowcharts and execution strategies, looking for something more universal. I wanted to tie together the entire ecosystem and to identify a unifying measuring stick. Something equally applicable to how we prioritize projects as it is to our own careers.

Most importantly, I wanted to invest our time in something that will stick and make us all more productive and efficient product teams. Thus came the genesis of IMPACT, where six words can create a lens to reexamine everything a product professional does to ensure it truly is creating an impact and maximizing the opportunity.

Meaningful Product Processes with IMPACT

Solving Interesting problems that are Meaningful to People, with Actionable plans that are Clear and Testable. That’s what IMPACT’s all about, and if we’re not infusing our processes with IMPACT, then we’re potentially spending our energy on the wrong things.

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By making the problem interesting, we start to build momentum. People need a reason to care, so it’s imperative we tell stories and use our storytelling skills in everything we do. 

By helping our audience—from sales and marketing to engineering and QA—connect with the customer problem, we will drive better outcomes. We all know that when we focus on value over features, everyone’s happier.

The processes with IMPACT that help ensure we’re working on interesting problems include:


Is your solution meaningful to the customer or the business? Remember that excitement about an idea doesn’t always translate to value. The real test is how much they’re willing to pay for it, which truly shows how much they value the solution.

Aside from generating revenue, it’s also important to check if the solution aligns with the business’s direction, vision, and values. These processes with IMPACT can help you articulate what’s meaningful to business:


You must figure out the pervasiveness of the problem you’re solving and how many people will care. What will solving this problem unlock in the market?

Alongside understanding your research in solving the problem with a specific solution, it’s also essential to know how that investment may accelerate other innovations or solve related problems. This can lead to exponential growth and new opportunities beyond the original scope and scale of the situation.

By using as broad a lens as possible, you can also determine if you’re making a big impact for a small number of people or a small impact for a big number of people… both of which are worthy and sound investments, assuming there’s a willingness to pay. These processes can help quantify things:


Coming up with a great idea is pretty easy. Go ask a first grader, and they’ll give you some amazing, innovative ideas… that are completely unfeasible. Your job is to narrow things down to what’s possible, reasonable, and probable. 

You need to know you can deliver the solution, regardless of how big or important the problem is. These processes can serve as a reality check on what’s truly doable:


To build consensus, generate enthusiasm, and win over skeptics, you must be able to articulate the value statement of the solution clearly. This not only will help you secure resources and support for the project, but it also has a downstream impact on sales and marketing, as well as eventually how customers react to the value proposition.

Some key processes contribute to making sure the impact of the solution is clear to everyone:


Humans aren’t very good at knowing what they need, just articulating what they THINK they need. Therefore you must validate that the planned solution is valuable as early as possible. 

Embrace the sunk cost philosophy early and often. Additionally, don’t be afraid to walk away or initiate a significant course correction at any stage. This is only possible by leveraging processes that put your ideas to the test:

For more insights into how you can apply IMPACT to your processes, watch the webinar or download the free e-book today.