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Thursday, 24 May 2007

Hand Drawn Mind Map to Project Plan

My facilitation work often involves helping project managers develop their plans. Recently I had the opportunity to develop ideas from a hand drawn map into a software tool and finally into a project plan.

My preparation for the session with the project team involved reviewing the draft project initiation document (PID). From this I noted my initial ideas using a hand drawn mind map.

Then with the project team, we captured initial thoughts on a work breakdown structure using MindManager. We used the tool to regroup and restructure the ideas until we had a structure that reflected the deliverables, phasing and nature of the project. Next we began entering task information on key items – milestone dates, elapsed time, resources and dependencies.

When we had a working draft in MindManager we exported the map to MS Project (at this point you could actually feel people thinking ‘Wow!’). Using Project we began to schedule the tasks and review the resources. The team took away the Mind Manager map and the Project file to develop the plan further.

The project team were very impressed with their deliverables and the fact they had produced so much in so little time.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Real Time Mind Mapping

I’ve been on a training course recently and used it as an opportunity to practise my real time mapping skills. This was made very easy as the trainer organised the material well, maintained a comfortable pace and also provided excellent diagrammatic summaries which he flip charted as he talked.

I found I was able to produce neat maps, incorporating colour and images. At several points, rather than make my own maps, I copied the flip charts as drawn by the trainer – they were so visual and easy to copy. On the second day, he began presenting some of the material using mind maps. I copied a few of these also before I started to realise my attention was wandering. It struck me that I was paying more attention to copying the diagrams and maps than to the information being presented and discussed.

They key to making sense of information and remembering it subsequently is the effort that is applied in assimilating it, I think. I discovered then when I made my own map, rather than copy that provided, I was more attentive, understood the material better and was able to recall more of it subsequently.

For me, the lesson learned is to make my own notes, in my own words and using my own maps.

Coming Soon - Mind Manager 7

Yesterday I participated in a short presentation given by MindJet to introduce the latest version of MindManager. It includes:

  • new topic editing features
  • the ability to save views of the map based on selections and filters
  • a new toolbar interface conforming to the MS Fluid UI or "ribbon".

This is just a sample as we weren' t able to explore everything in the time available. Also being launched is a "Jetpack" of project management tools containing useful templates and white papers describing how MindManager can transform your approach to project planning, management and reporting.

MindManager 7 is launched on 30th May. Click here for more details.

I can't wait!