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What next ?
So i've discovered mindmapping. I have to say its been very very rewarding. After a few days of playing with the mapping tools out there, which in itself was great nerdy fun, we got down to some serious mapping.
We now have maps relating to several brainstorming sessions and more business focused sessions.
My question is, what now? I don't mean what do I need to do to my business (though comments are welcome
) but rather now that we have the mindmaps we need to turn these in to a list of tasks and directions, possibly assign these to people.
As the information is in the mindmap it would be good to know if there is some general best practice on how to turn the mindmap information and data in to tasks and responsibilities.
I know some apps have the ability to turn map nodes in to simple lists. Is this the best way forward or is there a particular methodolgy that I should be looking at learning in order to take the next step?
Welcome to mind mapping, and welcome to the Mindmappers' Forum, Oliver.
Good to hear you're getting value out of mind mapping already.
People have all sorts of ways of using mind maps, so I'll tell you what I do when I've done the initial stage and others can chime in as well.
To turn a mind map into an action plan, it's useful to be able to treat each node as a task and add task information. Not all mind mapping software can do this. To find out which can, you can look for software that can produce Gantt charts or can export files in MS Project format.
Go to Vick's Pick and select Gantt chart from the Category box and you'll see these: ConceptDraw MINDMAP; iMindMap; MindGenius; MindManager; MindMapper; MindView and Xmind. Some can export to MS Project as well.
These are the ones I know of that are well suited to project management.
Each node on your mind map can represent a task. Then this is how I proceed: Enter your estimate of how long each task will take, who will do it, add dates where you can, and most importantly, decide which tasks depend on which other tasks.
Then you can produce your first Gantt chart, make adjustments, allocate tasks and get started.
OK so I'm guessing your using a mainstream product and becoming familiar with its command and function structure. What product are you using, and why?
It seems you are trying to organize a task management use of the mapping format and functions. If this is the case; most products Vic mentioned have task management capabilities.
I would say; be careful as to the product you eventually use as your default. The simple answer to any manager who intends to use a Visual mapping product fro Task, Process and System project management is this: A Gantt chart does not indicate the mapping product is a project management tool. And IMO, the products that have built in Gantt capabilities may be less useful in the long run, due to their inability to be updated with software improvements within an agile development arena.
Enough said for now; I look forward to your answers.
Wallace Tait (Visualmapper)
Im using Xmind. The reasons are mainly that it's affordable, cross platform, and has more features than a number of the online tools (which would be a logical choice). MindManager was my preferred option but then it's many times more expensive and would require several licenses to cover my two machines and Im not sure it has any real online service to share my maps between machines.
Xmind has the ability to create gantt charts and task lists, and the tasks lists are more what I'm after.
We use mindmaps for visualising business ideas, downsides, new ideas etc. Real high school style brain storming. And it works well. However the next step is just to decide who is going to take care of what.
It's not real project management at all that Im after, just really a list of nodes that I can then assign to people, and perhaps see the assignments against the mind map for quick visualisation.
I was also keen to know whether there is a accepted methodology or technique to take a mindmap from a visual guide to a practical workable list. Clearly not all maps are for projects or even equate with the idea of a project and goals and milestones.
Xmind is a great freebie for more than the basics of visual mapping. I recall Xmind was up to 2008 a commercial product; then the developers decided to go open source.
While this was a boon for those who were open source types; this model is extremely difficult to justify within corporate, who need tools to have a support and development system that has commercial strength.
Stephen Zhu and his colleagues at Xmind have done, and continue to deliver. an excellent product. The caveat for Xmind is that; they initially were a commercial product, and now they are not. This hardly gives professional users the feeling of agile development strategies associated with a product.
You mentioned "we" relating to your use of Mind mapping; what kind of business are you operating in?
I understand if you are a small business; operational costs may not allow you to invest in more robust commercially supported products such as MindManager and ConceptDraw. Taking into consideration of the reality of portable computing and tablet usability; I would be interested in knowing if you use Cloud SaaS mapping products and/or tablet type of approaches to information management.
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