More than a tool for notes
Mind maps are quickly labeled as a simple note-taking or brainstorming tool. The powerful visualization tool hides much more than nodes, subnodes and connections. Mindmapping is very flexible and adapts to different scenarios and needs. This flexibility and freedom supports particularly creative processes and thus creates real added value in various project phases.
In short, mind maps are a vivid diagram with a main node in the middle, which is split into relevant subnodes via connecting lines. Any number of branches and nodes can be created, all of which are connected to the respective higher-level node and thus to the central idea or theme of the main node.
Top 7 Mind Maps for Project Management
Mind maps can be used in almost every phase of project management. We have collected seven use cases that may inspire you for your next project:
1. Visualize Statement of Work & Develop Scope Statement
At the beginning of a new project, mindmapping is of course a great way to collect ideas. However, structured visualization is also ideal when it comes to drawing up specifications of the statement of work. In a new project, the most important points of the statement of work can be clearly represented in a mind map so that the project team is aware of all requirements. On the basis of this, the main elements of the scope statement can then be developed in a further mind map. With the help of the simple and clear structure of mind maps you ensure that all important requirements of the statement of work are covered in your scope statement.
2. Concept Development
Mind maps are particularly suitable for concept development at the start of a project. In the first step, you use the mind map to collect all the ideas that come to mind regarding the project commission. Here you can also start completely unstructured. The next step is to structure these ideas and transform them into a logical construct. With the help of the mind map, you can first look at your ideas from a bird's-eye perspective and thus find out better how the individual ideas could complement each other to form a coherent concept. The best way to do this is as follows:
- Let ideas flow: Create a free mind map without structure
- Create a second mind map with the basic structure of the desired concept (see e.g. Basic Components of a Concept).
- Copy the ideas of the first mind map and assign it to the second mind map
On this basis, it will be much easier for you to fill the concept with words and to finalize it.
3. Define Framework Conditions & Goals
Already from the official project kick-off, it is important that the project team and all relevant stakeholder know all the framework conditions and goals of the project. If, for example, you hold a kick-off meeting, you can record the details communicated there in a mind map. Or you can use mind mapping to prepare the kick-off meeting and then make the mind map available to all participants. This mind map will then form an important guideline that everyone will follow. Here, project team members can quickly have a look if they have forgotten an important detail about the project - because in the mind map they will find everything at a glance.
For this you can follow the 7 questions of project management:
- Where do we stand? (Initial situation, requirements, idea, etc.)
- Why does the project make sense? (Strategic significance, benefits, profitability, etc.)
- What is to be achieved with the project? (Measurable goals)
- Who's involved? (Project management, project team, stakeholders and shareholders)
- How should the objectives be achieved? (project structure plan, task structure, etc.)
- By when? (Determine milestones, etc.)
- How much does the project cost? (personnel, financial and material resources, project budget)
4. Start into Project Planning
You can also use mind maps to start into project planning. This means that the mind map is structured in such a way that the main nodes correspond to the individual planning phases (activities or summary activities) of the project. With the project management software InLoox for Outlook you can transfer the individual nodes into your project plan with just one click and convert them into tasks. The next step is to add any number of tasks and milestones to your project plan.
5. Task Management & Structuring of Meetings
With the help of a mind map, you can also collect important project tasks in a central location. This is especially useful in project meetings. For example, if you develop new ideas during a meeting with your project team, you can record them in a mind map. This doesn't take much time, and you make sure that no idea gets lost. With InLoox you can then convert the resulting tasks into project tasks at the end of the meeting with just one click and quickly distribute them to the responsible staff members.
6. Training: Notes in Lectures & Better Reading Comprehension
Mind maps also support you outside your projects, e.g. if you are on a training course or participate in a congress with numerous lectures. This allows you to easily record important findings during a presentation in a mind map and structure the content thematically. Mind maps can also be extremely helpful when working through complex texts, e.g. new guidelines for audits or quality management. With the help of the structured approach of the mind map, you can support your reading comprehension in a simple way and capture the points that are relevant to you.
7. Internal Communication: Visualising Responsibilities/Tasks
Mind maps can also be used profitably in internal communication. For example, it is a good idea to use mind maps to show the responsibilities or tasks of a department or team. In this way, other departments can see at a glance what is happening in the other teams and what their colleagues are actually doing all day. For example, the marketing team can use a mind map to visualize their areas of responsibility and then make them available to the sales and development department. This also helps with the on-boarding of new employees.