Investment Logic Mapping

Important Note: I have chosen to include the Investment Logic Map as part of this wiki because I believe it is broadly transferable to any sort of organizational change effort and because I think a Business Analyst is a rational choice to take on the facilitator role when the technique is used outside of the confines of the Australian and New Zealand governments. It is my opinion that the vast majority of projects and change initiatives remain poorly defined until AFTER they are already underway and that this technique may help BA’s in improving that situation. Or at least it can provide an easy way to define the objectives and success criteria of an initiative at a high level and get buy-in from key stakeholders where this has not already happened.

What is it?

An Investment Logic Map (ILM) is a single-page depiction of the logic that underpins an investment.  It represents an ‘agreed investment story’ that is logical, able to be supported by evidence and easily understood by a layperson.[2]  It is designed around the idea that all potential investments, regardless of size or complexity, should follow the same ‘line of inquiry’ to develop their respective investment story.[4]

It is created as part of efforts to determine if a potential investment (in the form of a project, purchase, or other initiative) is worth further investigation by the organization.  As such it acts as an initial hurdle for initiative viability and is done before a formal project is initiated, before a business case is created, and before any sort of project charter is created.

Essentially, the ILM is created in order to answer four fundamental questions: [11]

  1. What is the problem that is driving us to consider a new investment (both the cause and effect)?
  2. Is there evidence to confirm both the cause and effect of the problem?
  3. Is the operating environment characterised by uncertainty that could significantly impact the cause, effect, likelihood or severity of the problem or the need or demand for change?
  4. What benefits can the organisation expect in successfully responding to the problem?

It is important to note that this is a departure from the way many (most?) investment decisions are made.  Most of the time the investment decision logic follows this pattern:

  1. What is the benefit we want?
  2. What are the impediments preventing us from realizing the benefits?
  3. What investments do we have to undertake to remove the impediments?

The Investment Logic Map can be used to tell an investment story at different conceptual levels.  The Investment Management Standard specifically identifies using the ILM to tell investment stories at the following levels:[11]



An Investment Logic Map is a single-page diagram that is made up of up to five columns.  The columns vary depending on the entity the Investment Logic Map is being created for, but are always selected from among the following: [4]

The logical flow of how these concepts are linked together is best shown through the following diagram: [11]

Investment Logic Mapping Logic

Entries are added to the diagram for each of the five subjects above starting from the left column and progressing to the right. Each entry within a column is weighted in importance, and then relationships between the entries are specified by arrows as appropriate.


Project Management vs Investment Management

To better understand the concept of an Investment Logic Map and its place in your decision making, it’s useful to understand how the creators of the ILM differentiate the concepts of Project Management and Investment Management.  The table below gives an overview of the questions answered by the different practices in the investment process:[11]

Investment Stage Investment Management questions Project Management questions
Planning Is the logic for the planned investment clear?
Is there a sound case to invest?
Have we defined the best solution?
Have we considered how to respond to uncertainty?
Do we have the resources to deliver the solution?
Do we understand risks to project delivery?
Delivery Does the problem still exist and do we still care about it?
Do we need to reassess how we measure benefit delivery?
Do we need to re-shape the investment to respond to exogenous changes or increased uncertainty?
Will the project complete within budget?
Will it deliver to its planned schedule?
Evaluation Were the intended benefits delivered? Were the expected products or services delivered?


The Investment Logic Map is mostly defined during one or more facilitated workshops.  Some refinement, reviews, and approvals are also done outside of the workshop structure but the vast majority of the work is done during the workshop.

All of the versions of the Investment Management Standard before the 2017 version mandated a single workshop with a two-hour time limit for the creation of the Investment Logic Map.  Two hours was thought to be short enough to obtain the time commitment of senior people, and long enough to extract an agreed investment story.[4]  There was also a stated belief that if the Investor (see Roles below) could not sufficiently identify the issue and a compelling need for investment during a two-hour facilitated workshop, then the compelling need for an investment should be questioned.[3] Additionally, all supplemental work done outside the workshop such as refinement and approvals should be completed no more than 48 hours after the completion of the workshop.[4]

However, with the lessons learned over the different versions of the IMS and the greater focus on risk and uncertainty included in the 2017 revision, the two-hour total and single meeting restrictions were removed and now the goal of completing the ILM in a single workshop is the exception rather than the rule.

While each workshop is still expected to take roughly two-hours, the new guidance provides different expectations for how many workshops there will be and what the workshops will achieve based on the level of complexity of the investment.  These expectations are summarized in the table below:[12]

Simple Investment Medium Investment Complex Investment
1st Workshop Set the Scene
Gather Issued & Identify Themes
Unpack Problems
Rank & Weight Problems
Determine Benefits & KPI’s
Determine Preferred Response and Interventions
Outline Recommended Solution – Changes & Assets
Finalize Workshop
Set the Scene
Gather Issued & Identify Themes
Unpack Problems
Rank & Weight Problems
Determine Benefits & KPI’s
Set the Scene
Gather Issued & Identify Themes
Unpack Problems
Rank & Weight Problems
2nd Workshop Not Needed Determine Preferred Response and Interventions
Outline Recommended Solution – Changes & Assets
Finalize Workshop
Determine Benefits & KPI’s
Determine Preferred Response and Interventions
3rd Workshop Not Needed Not Needed Outline Recommended Solution – Changes & Assets
Finalize Workshop

Of course, these expectations are not in stone and rather are provided so that expectations can be set among the participants on what a realistic timeline might be.

Ideally the workshop will consist of 6-8 total participants, with an upper maximum of 15 participants being recommended.



The Investment Logic Mapping (ILM) process includes three specific roles.  Those roles are:

Facilitator:  The facilitator’s role is to help the participants develop the most compelling, evidence-based case for investment that they can.[2]  Specifically, the facilitator is expected to: [2, 4]

Investor: The Investor is the person who has identified the problem or opportunity.  They are expected to make or advocate for the investment decision, and who will be ultimately responsible for delivering the benefits.  This is roughly the equivalent of a project Executive Sponsor.

Participant:  All of the other attendees of the workshop are classified as ‘participants’.  They are there to assist the investor in understanding the problem, defining the problem, and who can provide evidence that the problem is real.[11]  They will also be asked to help identify the objectives needed to respond to the problem, the expected benefits from addressing the problem, and the possible organizational changes needed to achieve the benefits.[2]

They are selected to participate because they have the most knowledge of the problem and its impact; because they are stakeholders who will be important in making the potential investment; or because they have an awareness of broader strategic policy areas of the organization.



The Investment Logic Map is the first artifact created under the Investment Management Standard (IMS) defined by the Australian State Government of Victoria - Department of Treasury and Finance.  Aspects of the IMS had been evolving since 2004 within the state government, and they were formalized into the Investment Management Standard in 2007.

The IMS was initially created to support decision-making for information and communications technology (ICT) initiatives, but has since been expanded and applied to any investment decision made by the state government.

The process has been under continuous improvement since that time and has been adopted by other Australian entities, as well as the government of New Zealand.  The versions of the standard and when they were in effect are identified below:

The Investment Logic Map is first of four documents that come out of the IMS process.  The other three documents are all created after the ILM and are the: [4]

Those other documents are not part of this wiki page and may be covered in the future.  However, I do not believe that the ILM must be followed by those other documents to be of use.


Why do it?

The best answer to this that I have comes straight from the Investment Management Standard:

Most organizations have adopted the business case as the way that potential investments articulate and justify the case for an investment. In common practice, business case documents have a strong focus on the solution that is planned to be delivered.  However, they often fail to adequately describe the problem, explore the strategic options or specify the benefits that the investment will produce.[4]


How do I do it?

Step 1 – Set up the Workshop(s)

The first step in the Investment Logic Mapping process is to set up the workshop.  This includes identifying participants, identifying an appropriate 2-hour block of everyone’s time, identifying a location to have the workshop, and scheduling the session on everyone’s calendar.

It is the Investor’s responsibility to identify the Participants who should attend the workshop and they should provide the facilitator with initial information such as the names (and preferably relevance) of the participants; as well as the scope and intent of the investment.

Typical participants for a Problem Definition workshop might include:[12]

The Facilitator should work to:[12]

This basic information should be provided to the participants before the workshop.

Lastly, a venue needs to be identified and reserved that can accommodate the number of participants comfortably and which has at least one suitably sized whiteboard.


Step 2 – Set Expectations

Once the workshop gets underway, the facilitator should set some expectations.  These may include: [2]

Additionally, the Investor should identify the overarching organizational outcome they want to achieve from the investment.  This outcome should be written at the top of the white board and should act as the initial title for the Investment Logic Map.[12]


Step 3 – Problem Identification

Once the expectations have been set, the next step is for the Investor to outline the driver(s) that have caused them to consider an investment.  According to the IMS, this typically takes 3-4 minutes.

Once the Investor has finished, the whole group should proceed to ask questions and expand upon the identified driver(s) and their context in order to build a shared understanding among all of the participants.  This is a critical step because it both defines and builds consensus on the specific external forces that are causing an investment to be considered.  This builds a shared frame of reference among Participants that will drive the rest of the process.

All of the drivers identified as contributing to the need for an investment should be documented on a whiteboard or similar location where they visible to all workshop attendees.  The drivers are NOT placed in the ILM matrix at this time, but are rather kept off to the side and visible to all participants as a reference.

Once the list of drivers is complete in the opinion of the attendees, the list should be organized by general issue or category.


Step 4 – Identify & Weight Issue Statements

Using the drivers that were identified in the last step, the workshop attendees should start to define the specific issues (either problems or opportunities) that the investment is intended to address.  These issue statements may be derived through root cause techniques such as Five Why’s or through general discussion amongst the attendee’s.

The IMS guidance indicates that there should be no more than 4 issue statements for a given initiative, and that in most cases two to three are sufficient.  You should remember that the Investment Logic Map is meant to be a high-level document and these issue statements will guide the scope of the subsequent effort.  One issue statement at this level may encompass such a wide field that the necessary change initiative could be at the organizational or program level, with multiple project-level initiatives below it.

The following are key questions that will help the attendees craft good issue statements: [2]

In the end, all issue statements should share the following characteristics: [2]

Once you have created the 1-4 issue statements for the initiative, they should be weighted.  The weightings of all identified issues in the ILM should add up to 100% with the group assigning weights based on importance and impact.

Generally, any issue that is assigned a weighting of 10% or less should probably be removed from the ILM as the idea is to focus on the issue that matter that most.

Lastly, no two issues in the ILM should have the same weight value.  This forces the attendee’s to rank all of the problems in an ordinal manner.


Step 5 – Identify Benefits

Once the primary issues have been identified and weighted, the next step is to define the benefits that will be delivered to the organization, its stakeholders or its customers as a result of the investment.

The following are key questions that will help the attendees craft good benefit statements: [2]

And in the end, all benefit statements should share the following characteristics: [2]

As each benefit statement is defined, a link should be made from each issue statement to at least one benefit statement that would result from addressing the issue identified in the issue statement.

At least one benefit statement should be crafted for each issue statement that was created in the prior step.  If no benefit can be identified from addressing the issue, the issue should be removed from consideration or restated in such a way that benefits can be defined.

Additionally, each benefit statement must be supplemented by key performance indicators (KPI’s) and target measures for those KPI’s that will show that the benefit has been achieved.  It is critical any benefits claimed are supported by reasonable KPIs – ones that are meaningful, attributable and measurable.  These KPIs should be outcome focused, rather than output or activity focused.  The emphasis should be on the results or impact of the work that is done to deliver the benefit and address the issue. [2]

You should aim for a maximum of four benefits and a maximum of two KPIs for each benefit. [2]

Lastly, each benefit should be weighted in the same way the Issues were waited.


Step 6 – Define Strategic Interventions

A strategic intervention is a high-level strategic action that could be taken as a response to an identified problem.[2]  To be valid, a strategic intervention must have the potential to deliver some or all of the identified KPIs and their target measures.  And to ensure a strategic intervention is of sufficiently high level, its implementation must also allow more than one possible solution.

Therefore a good strategic intervention needs to pass three tests.  It must: [2]

Generally, most strategic interventions are likely to fall within one of three general categories.  Those are: [2]

  1. Demand changes – Can you stop, slow, divert (for negative demand) or increase (for positive demand) demand for resources or products
  2. Productivity changes – Can you improve productivity in ways that relate to the benefit(s)
  3. Supply changes – Can you increase it, fix it, make it cheaper, etc.

Note that these categories can attack the same issue from different directions.  For example, if you have an issue where your organization is struggling to fulfill commitments on time due to a resource-constrained activity of some sort; you might look at options that reduce the demand for that activity, increase the productivity of the resources who undertake the activity, and add more resources to the group that undertakes the activity.

The following are key questions that will help the attendees identify good strategic interventions: [2, 12]

A minimum of four and a maximum of eight strategic interventions is likely as you try to determine the best strategic response. Ultimately you will select a combination of one to four interventions to form the strategic response.

And again, each strategic response should be weighted in the same way the Issues were waited.


Step 7 – Outline the Recommended Solution

Once a range of potential strategic interventions has been defined, the next step is to define the Changes and Assets that will make up the recommended solution that the investment will implement.

Changes are the things that must be done by the organization if the expected benefits are to be delivered and each Change must align with at least one strategic intervention.

Assets are any physical items that must be acquired to enable the identified Changes to occur.  Examples of assets include technology, infrastructure (such as roads and hospitals), machinery, and buildings.  Each Asset must align with at least one Change.

According to the Victoria government, most investments have between 4 and 6 changes and between 0 and 4 assets.  Going beyond this tends to make the ILM too complex to understand and evaluate.

The following key questions have been provided in order to identify potential Changes and Assets:[12]

Unlike the prior steps, Changes and Assets do not need to be weighted.


Step 8 – Finalize Workshop

Once the steps above are complete there should be a completed draft of the final Investment Logic Map. And based on that map, there are three possible outcomes from the ILM workshop. These are:[12]

  1. The participants like what they see (validation that the idea has merit)
  2. The participants don’t like what they see (seemed like a good idea at the time but we don’t see a good enough story to move forward)
  3. The participants couldn’t define a coherent story (we don’t know enough about the problem to consider investing now)

If option 2 is the outcome, the workshop achieved a useful result and the investment consideration will be stopped.

If option 3 is the result, the participants should decide if further investigation is warranted.  Idea for further investigation may include bringing in other participants who know more (this may include outside specialists such as consultants who can provide greater knowledge of the issues and factors involved); as well as more investigation by the Investor to better understand the investment option.

Lastly, if option 1 is the result the process moves forward with:

  1. The Facilitator advising participants that a cleaned-up draft will be distributed in a formal ILM format to them within 24 hours.
  2. The Facilitator will include any observations of the ILM draft on its strengths and weaknesses and how it might be improved when it is distributed.
  3. Participants then have another 24 hours after distribution of the draft to provide any feedback upon the draft.
  4. The Facilitator and Investor will agree upon any feedback to be incorporated and a Version 1.0 of the ILM will be created.
  5. Within 24 hours after the feedback period is over, that Version 1.0 will be distributed as the final output of the ILM workshop to all Participants.

What Should the Results be?

The image below is one of the ILM examples provided by the Victoria Government and represents what a completed ILM might look like:

Investment Logic Map Example  







IMPORTANT NOTE:  The ILM process has been undergoing changes over the years and so has the Government of Victoria website.  Unfortunately, this means that many of the links below may stop working suddenly.  I have found if a link does stop working that you can just go to the Government of Victoria website and search for Investment Logic Map or Investment Management Standard and you will be able to find most of these documents.

  1. Document: ICT Guideline – Investment Logic Map. By the Government of Victoria – Chief Information Officer.
  2. Document: Facilitator tips and traps – Problem definition workshop. By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  3. Research Paper: An examination of the value of the Victorian Government’s investment logic map as a tool for front-end evaluation of investment proposals. By Aaron Doty.  Evaluation Journal of Australasia.  8, No. 1. Pgs 26-39. 2008.
  4. Document: Investment Management Standard version 5.  By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  5. Investment Logic Map Example - Initiative.  By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  6. Document: Investment Logic Map Example – Organization.  By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  7. Document: Investment Logic Map Example – Program.  By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  8. Document: Initiative Investment Logic Map Template.  By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  9. Document: Organizational Investment Logic Map Templates. By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  10. Document: Program Investment Logic Map Templates. By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2012.
  11. Document: Investment Management Standard 2017 Departmental User Guide. By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2017.
  12. Document: Investment Management Standard 2017 Technical Guide for Facilitators – Problem Definition Workshop. By the Victoria State Government Department of Treasury and Finance. 2017.

Other Resources