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Mind Mapping Strategies for Project Teams

written by: Tara Duggan • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 11/8/2010

Mind mapping strategies for project teams involve drawing pictures that represent the project details. Mind maps (diagrams using words and pictures to represent ideas) help teams see relationships, remember details and creatively solve problems. Find the best mind mapping strategy for your team.

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    Guru Mindmap 

    Mind mapping strategies for project teams typically include drawing pictures during team meetings or conversations as a note taking technique. Project team members can also generate visual diagrams during independent research activities or use diagrams when troubleshooting problems and making project decisions. A mind mapping strategy helps everyone brainstorm solutions. A visual representation of the project details provides a snapshot view of the work that needs to be completed. Creating a mind map usually involves writing the title of the map in the center of the page or whiteboard and drawing a circle around it. Then, the project manager draws lines out from the circle and labels them with subheadings for each new topic, using single words or short phrases. By adding additional lines, colors, symbols and pictures, the project manager records details that can be remembered more easily.

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    Taking Notes Using a Template During Project Team Meetings

    Establishing a mind map template for project team meetings ensures that all the topics are covered consistently. For example, a note-taking template should contain the date of the project meeting in the center of the page. Lines drawn from the circle list the items typically recorded in the meeting minutes, such as participants in attendance, status reports on action items from previous meetings or project task completion percentages and new business to cover in the current meeting. By using mind mapping as the strategy for note taking, the project manager organizes related information so dependencies become obvious quickly.

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    Researching Information During Project Planning

    Using mind mapping as the technique to keep track of research topics allows members of the project team to list information required, resources needed and experts who can be contacted for their expertise. By visually representing the facts, such as customer requirements, teams can quickly discover the relationships between project components and gaps in known information. As questions arise, blank lines can be drawn from the central circle as a reminder that the questions need to be answered before the project progresses.

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    Documenting Problem Solving Discussions

    When project teams face challenges (such as missed deadlines, cost overruns or product defects) analyzing complex problems can seem unwieldy, especially when tensions remain high. Brainstorming alternative approaches to problems can be documented by drawing mind maps. Comparing mind maps can reveal the best solution available and allow the team to make a decision based on logic rather than emotion. Mind maps also serve as a record of the discussion and can be used a reference for future projects.

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    Using mind mapping strategies instead of conventional note taking or document creation gives a project a visual representation of project information such as milestones, status, issues and roles. Mind maps allow the team to record conversations and meetings in pictures that can be easily restructured and modified if the project changes, which makes the information easier to remember too.

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    References and Image Credit

    • Image Credit: Guru Mindmap ( "Innovation Tools.
    • "Innovation Tools. (accessed November 5, 2010).
    • "Learn how to draw Mind Maps - MindMaps, Note Taking Skills and Techniques, and Reviews of Mind Mapping Software from" Mind Tools - Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training - Right Here, Right Now.. (accessed November 5, 2010).
    • "SmartDraw." SmartDraw. (accessed November 5, 2010).
    • "ThinkBuzan - Official Mind Mapping software by Tony Buzan." ThinkBuzan - Official Mind Mapping software by Tony Buzan. (accessed November 5, 2010).