Using Mind Mapping Software for Keeping Track of Complex Projects

For the majority of my time as a user, an advocate and now teacher of how to use Mind Mapping in Business, I have been primarily someone who has concentrated on using hand drawn maps.

I have dabbled in using Mind Mapping Software, primarily to help deliver training programmes and seminars, but until the end of last year, I really wasn’t using it to its fullest potential.

Over the last 6 months I have really been getting into benefitting from the power of using Mind Mapping software to help be run my business more effective.

This isn’t just about me having to use it because it is within my sphere of interest and specialism.

No this is about finding practical ways to benefit from the combination of up to date technology with an amazing thinking process.

Here is an example of how it is benefitting me right now.

I am working on a very complext project with a client that involves these activities:

  • Keeping track of multiple and parallel lines of communication between as many as 20 different people in at least 4 different time zones
  • Monitoring and collating an ever increasing library of inter-related documents in at least 3 different forms
  • Designing a programme of facilitation against the ever changing requirements of a demanding client
  • Collating and arranging the assembly of a resource list to support a complex and involved facilitation
  • Understanding the structural and organisational complexities of an international company
  • Researching and learning about new areas of knowledge outside of my own professional and academic training
  • Meeting, networking with and keeping track of my notes about the personnel involved in the project
  • and much, much more….

In the past I would have found it extremely difficult to not only keep track of all this but also retain sufficient mental capacity to contribute creatively to the solution we are developing for this particular client.

However through the creative application of Mind Mapping Software (Mind Manager in particular) all of this is being managed from one single map.

In just a few seconds I can review the entire project and with just a couple of clicks can access any document I want from the many that have been collated for this project.

It is incredible just how empowering it is to feel in so much control over something with so much complexity and it is all down to using Mind Mapping Software.

I am just surprised it has taken me so long to buy into the benefits of using the software.

So the moral of the story is this – if you are a dyed in the wool hand Mind Mapper who has resisted using Mind Mapping Software, then I think it is time you investigated it because you are not only missing out by not using it, you are probably being left behind.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Roy March 2, 2009 at 3:30 am

    Hi Michael,

    Something I’ve thought about for a while is that mind mapping gurus often have a strong focus in one use or aspect of mind mapping.

    I can think of some who say they are convinced that hand mind mapping is a waste of time and advocate using software only. Others don’t regard anything but one word per node as being useful, or that using software negates all the benefits of freehand mind maps. Then there are those who consider mind maps to be useless and concept maps the only pure form of information map … and so it goes on.

    Out in the real world, my observation shows me that mappers use all sorts of styles and maps, and follow or break rules according to why they’re making the the map, the audience it’s intended for and their own personal taste.

    If more gurus (and if you don’t mind, I’d put you in that category) recognized as you have here, that the choice of map type, tool, guidelines followed and style needs to take account of circumstances, we could get all the mind mappers pulling together and extending this great technique to the wider world. I do think we’re gradually getting there, though.

    The mind mapping wiki

  • Michael Tipper March 13, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Hi Roy,

    Thank you for your insightful comment.

    I agree with you that there are not enough Mind Mappers (both gurus and users) who come down on both sides of the Software/Hand Drawn divide and I would also concur that there are far too many Mind Mappers who are convinced it is the ONLY way.

    If we can get people to focus on what they are trying to achieve more then perhaps we can start choosing the right tool (and its format) for the job.

    As you will no doubt understand, I think that using Mind Mapping is a VERY good place to start with just about any thinking process you can think of but I do know that there are better tools out there for specific tasks.

    However I do believe that the use of Mind Mapping can elevate any thinking process to a higher level across the board more than any other thinking tool.

    When I find a better device believe me I will jump ship at the drop of a hat.

    Maybe using the term “Mind Mappers” to describe those who use Mr Buzan’s remarkable invention is part of the problem – I don’t call myself a typist just because I am using a keyboard and I suppose many would cringe at the thought of being called “writers” just because they can use pen and paper.

    The root cause of this challenge we face in diseminating the power of this amazing tool is that the early supporters focused on the tool itself rather than the benefits it can bring…that in my opinion is why we still have a long way to go.

    Thank you for your contribution and for your time.