Simplifying Projects With Mind Maps

simplifying projectsHow often do you use mind maps for over-viewing your projects and simplifying projects?

Were you even aware that you could use a mind map for doing this? Did you instructor tell you to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of this?

If you don’t use it or you were unknown of the fact that you can mind map projects easily on paper (or on your computer) here is what you should know.

The Benefits of Simplifying Projects In Mind Maps

Most people look at the huge amount of work they need to do and don’t like what they are seeing. It is simply too much… How can they ever do all that? Or even worse, they don’t really see what they need to do and are still ‘in the dark’ about their activities and sub goals.

Fortunately the simple cure is using a mind map. That’s right, you should use a simple and single mind map. The important benefits of doing this are:

  • One overview, all information easily over-viewed
  • One source of information that can be edited and updated
  • One sheet that can be used to keep track of your progress
  • Easily see what you need to do next in order to move forward
  • You are much more flexible because of a good insight in the work
  • Single sheet + simple overview = less stress & more control

Of course there are more benefits. But I think you understand by now what this simple mind map can do for you when using it for project management.


How You Can Be Simplifying Projects In Minutes

Look at your current projects. Are they all going smoothly? Are you working within time and within budget? Do you and your team have a good overview of the work, deadlines, milestones and tasks?

If so, you may not need to use a mind map. If just one of the questions is answered with a NO, you definitely should think about using a mind map. Don’t start straight away by converting all your plans into mind maps. Just start slowly. Think baby steps. Take a small part of a project and convert the planning and goals of that part into a mind map. If you see it works for you, you can expand.

Now we have a look at how you can create a mind map of your project. This is just one way of doing it that we discuss. There are many different outlines and arrangements. We only start with a simple one. If you like to learn more, we can always look into more detail in this together.

The first thing you should do is identify your goals. The moment you have them, you can put them into the mind map. They become the first level of information in the map.Put them in the correct order in the map. So the first goal you want to accomplish is placed at the top right side. The next one below that. You work your way clockwise until you added all your goals.

Add them in the next level. As you can see, we are not first working on everything that is related to the first goal, before we think about goals number two. We work from a helicopter/20000 feet overview and we work out way down. This way you can keep track of the flow that is best suited for you.

The next step is to understand what tasks need to be done to reach that goal. If you need to add sub-goals in between them, just do so.

Write in keywords or at max very short sentences. Don’t over think stuff. Just add the most logical tasks and see if they help you reach your goal.

When you did that, you are now ready to overview the entire map again. Is everything still in the correct order? Should goals or tasks be moved to a different location in the map? If so, do that. If not, we move forward.

Add dates, people, needed resources to the map. The is the lowest level of information you will add. When you have all of this done you are almost ready.

The first part of the final step is that you add (if needed) relationship lines between tasks/people/goals that are in different branches but which are related.

goal task

Your map is ready to be used. And this is the most important step you can take right now. You use the map and you update the map when needed. Achieved goals are marked as such or removed from the map. All the tasks that are not relevant can be made invisible or hidden so they don’t create noise in your overview (of course much easier to do with a digital map).

You edit and use the map.

Let me know if this is working for you. I am sure that when you work this way, all you need is a single sheet of paper that shows you all you need to know.

Can you imagine the clarity this offers? Do you feel your stress levels lower already?

I am sure you like this.

So just follow the outline I just gave you and benefit from simplifying projects by visualizing information this way.

image: training