Mind Mapping as a Project Management Tool
Tony Buzan’s innovative mind mapping technique is being used in diverse situations with increasing benefits. The tool or concept essentially helps in thinking laterally and hence is useful in problem solving situations, brainstorming, planning, etc.
Points to note while creating a Mind Map
- The emphasis should not be on the structure – let the map be created as per the work flow or the process
- Do not spend too much time in creating the map – the ideas should keep flowing
- The points should be in brief – no need to expand on them
- A new idea can be added as and when it occurs by adding an additional branch
- Use images, pictographs as much as possible
- Take a step back when you are done and check for gaps, errors etc and modify
- And most importantly remember that the mind map is a work in progress.
Mind mapping helps in organizing our thoughts, ideas and work, and create a visual map which can be used to for coming up with solutions for different problems. It is a very effective tool that can be used by one and all irrespective of the role and business unit they are in.
Project managers can use this tool to define goals, objectives, assign tasks for the project. It is of great use in the initial phase of the project where the project execution strategy is being framed. It helps in weighing different options, evaluation of possible solutions, brain storming etc. Using this one can define the project goals and objectives better. The project brainstorming sessions become much more qualitative once this technique is used by helping in creating a project map which is essentially a contribution of the whole team. Not only does it help in coming up with possible ideas or solutions, it also helps in evaluating the various project risks. And the most important point to note is that mind mapping can be in Agile project management methodology too!
There are quite a few good mind mapping software available which can be used for project management. A few of them are:
- Mindjet MindManager Professional 2012: This is a desktop application which is easily integrated with Microsoft Office. It helps in project planning, organizing and data analysis.
- NovoMind Pro5 for Windows: A very useful tool for project management which helps in communicating ideas, data efficiently and collaborate better.
- MindView Business 4.0 for Windows: It has different schema for different purposes and can exported and imported easily from Microsoft Office.
There are many free software too which can be used for mind mapping such as CAM Editor, Freeplane etc.