Question: Is there an effective way of producing a milestone plan using mind mapping software?
Mind mapping and other visual mapping techniques are great for generating a list of milestones for a project. Using mind mapping software, the milestones are created as a set of topics. Most mind mapping software will let you set “when” dates and owners (probably as “resources”) for each milestone.
You will also have a range of formatting choices and structures to alter how the milestones are displayed. This is a great for a simple set of milestones. Next you will want to add dependencies between milestones, to create what some practitioners might call a milestone path. You will create these dependencies using relationships. The normal links between topics and the parent or central topic are not relevant to the milestone path and many mind mapping applications will let you hide these.
So far so good. Now, what if you want to add sub-milestones or high level activities to each milestone? In milestone planning, these sub-milestones need to be achieved (or passed) on the way to reaching the overall milestone. Before it can be said that Milestone 1 has been reached, Sub-Milestones 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 have to be reached first. Such a scenario is normally modelled in linear fashion (in logical and chronological sequence) and in appearance might look like an inverted hierarchy.
A compromise solution is to accept the in-built top-down hierarchy as is and to use relationships to indicate the sequence in which the milestone plan is to be read. It might look good but its not necessarily easy to understand.
Has anyone else tried mapping milestone plans using these tools?
What solutions did you come up with?