February 18, 2020
Why you should use Mind Mapping in project management
When it comes to project management, Mind Mapping might not be the first thing that immediately jumps to mind. We all have our processes and ways of managing our tasks, but there’s no denying that the initial ideation stage is key in ensuring that your projects are set up to follow the right path.
Mind Mapping is a versatile technique which has stood the test of time. It is used by millions of people around the world to not only gather ideas, but improve their creativity, memory and productivity. From planning to execution, managing a project effectively requires a combination of leadership, organization and productivity – with a dash of innovative thinking for good measure. Mind Maps act as a catalyst to draw your most creative ideas from your mind and capture them into something tangible – making it the ideal tool to take your project management to the next level.
The power of visual thinking
Our brains don’t naturally think in a linear fashion. Yet, we so often reach for our notepads or whiteboards to document our ideas and tasks in the form of lists. When we think of an idea, this usually sparks a chain of interconnected ideas in our mind. Mind Maps work by capturing these radiating thinking patterns in the form of branches that all connect back to a central topic or idea. This helps to enhance your brain’s natural thinking power and ensure nothing gets lost the recess of your memory.
You may think of yourself as being more driven by either creativity or logic. The two hemispheres of our brains are responsible for different functions, with the right side of the brain dealing with visuals and creativity, and the left side with logic and analytical thinking. Mind Mapping allows you to tap into both sides of your brain, combining the two in a way that reflects your natural thinking processes. Mind Maps use a combination of keywords, colors and images to harness our creative brain power, allowing you to visualize ideas and concepts while making them easier to understand and remember.
Innovative idea generation
No matter what project you’re working on, being able to think strategically as well as creatively will set you up for success. Continually questioning how you can do things differently and uncovering original thoughts is what will help you to stand apart from your competitors. It’s vital to stay on top of trends within your industry to ensure that you are still providing a need for your customers. From here, you will have a good starting point to establish a clear plan of action that you and your team can all get behind and execute with success.
Mind Maps are designed to encourage your ideas to come to the surface. Before getting started, check out our step-by-step guide on how to Mind Map so you can get the most out of the process. Try setting the goal of your project as your central idea, then allow your mind to wander as you capture as many ideas as possible as branches that stem from this central idea.
The unrestricted canvas of a Mind Map means you can freely add branches to your map as your imagination expands. By only using one keyword per branch, you will find it much easier to draw multiple associations between your ideas. For example, you could name a branch ‘Target audience’ and then have 3 child branches stemming from this named ‘UK’, ‘men’ and ‘over 40’, rather than one branch which says ‘UK men over 40’. Already, you can see the opportunities to delve deeper into your target audience from these singular keywords, as opposed to one restricted branch.
Once you have your ideas mapped out, Mind Maps allow you to view the entire scope of your project, so you can see the bigger picture. Ideal from a strategic level, here you can see at a glance the areas that you may wish to develop further or explore in more detail while showcasing quickly and easily to your team the overarching goals and themes of the project.
Ideal for problem-solving
When faced with a problem, it can be all-too-common to feel overcome with stress and trying to find a solution by writing multiple notes on a whiteboard or post-it notes. We all know that cluttered notes lead to a cluttered mind – which will ultimately make your problem appear even more confusing and challenging than before. Put your notes and whiteboards to one side, and create a Mind Map when problem solving instead. This will actually provide more clarity, sharpening your focus so you can pinpoint solutions as part of the bigger picture.
Capturing your ideas in this way will also save you valuable time; with everything saved instantly, you will no longer need to desperately try to see how your post-it notes fit together, only to follow this up by writing up long-winded notes to share with your team.
When tackling a problem, it can be easy to feel like you’re stuck in a hamster wheel of ideas. Stepping back and approaching your challenge from a different angle can make all the difference. Try conducting a reverse brainstorm; a creative thinking technique where you essentially flip your problem on its head. Instead of thinking about what you should do, think of what you shouldn’t do. For example, brainstorming ways you could lose customers, instead of gaining them.
By recognizing the actions you want to avoid, you will find it easier to reverse these issues to find solutions to your original problem. Plus, the beauty of conducting this exercise with a Mind Map means that no idea is left forgotten and your creative brain power is sparked to think outside of the box.
Enhance your collaborative working
The power of teamwork is essential when it comes to successful project management. Your team is full of employees who have their own specialist skills – by gathering the creative input of your team, you’ll be able to pull together everyone’s knowledge and insight into something tangible.
Be sure to get your employees motivated and excited about the project. Using Mind Maps as part of the project management process will encourage your team to contribute their most creative ideas. By allowing your team to actively participate in the project planning process, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged and feel their ideas are valued when it comes to working on the project.
Mind Mapping is typically considered to be a solo thinking process. And while brainstorming your own ideas is key to kicking off your project plan, two heads are better than one. Bringing together the resourcefulness of your teammates is what will help to elevate your ideas to the next stage. Work management software, Ayoa, combines collaboration features with Mind Mapping – so you can brainstorm ideas fluidly and effectively with multiple team members in real-time. For example, try bringing up a Mind Map in your next team meeting. In Ayoa, you can invite people to your map and collaborate on the Mind Map together, expanding on each others’ ideas.
Maintaining a seamless flow of communication throughout the duration of the project is essential in ensuring everyone is aware of their responsibilities, as well as any updates that every team member needs to be aware of. Mind Mapping also comes in particularly useful in terms of presenting information in an engaging way during team meetings, or to higher management who wish to see an overview of your project.
Turning your ideas into reality
The idea generation stage is vital to kicking off a project or campaign. However, this becomes pointless if you’re unable to turn these gems of inspiration into actions that you can track successfully.
Ayoa is a platform that combines Mind Mapping with Project Management features, allowing you to turn your ideas directly into tasks that you can manage and track from start to finish. With task features such as Progress Percentage, Start and Due Dates, Urgency Tags, Checklists and much more, you can manage your entire project, from ideation to execution, seamlessly within one workspace.