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Case Study - Mind Mapping for Business Analysts

Following her interesting article about mind mapping for project management on LinkedIn, we got in touch with Surbi Mahnot to find out more about how she uses mind mapping in her professional life.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

I work as an independent Business Analyst with a passion to build innovative software solutions.
I currently reside in Hyderabad, India.

My role primarily involves requirements elicitation, building prototypes, management & planning, coordination & communication.

I am always interested in learning new technologies or adopting new methodologies at work wherever appropriate. I usually blog about my experiences at work with planning, management and analysis techniques that help me.

How were you first introduced to mind mapping?

A few years back, I was working on a complex project where a lot of people were involved. The project could be divided into multiple modules but each module had a lot of interdependencies and I was having hard time keeping up with it. I knew there had to be a better way to keep track of all this and that is when I discovered mind maps.

Mind maps have been helping me since then and I love using it till date. I find it the best way to put the thought process on paper, be it for brainstorming, plotting complex scenarios, team communication or planning. It becomes so easy to recall the concepts anytime.

How do you use mind maps in your day-today work?

I use mind maps primarily to visualize my thought process, keep a track of dependencies and have clear communication throughout the team.

Being a business analyst, my job demands a lot of collaboration, planning, management and documentation. To start with requirements elicitation, I must do a lot of brainstorming, critical thinking, perform market analysis etc.

Mind maps are usually my first choice to keep a track of all the initial analysis in different directions and then delve further into a systematic approach.

From my experience, team members have been more comfortable with going through mind maps or data represented in a similar manner than to have to look at a moderate sized document scrolling through all the text. It has also allowed me to change scope easily and track daily changing requirements efficiently.

I discuss mind maps with my stakeholders to quickly collaborate on the project leaving very little room for confusion or miscommunication.

Sometimes when acting as a product owner, I have used mind maps to monitor project progress, schedules and roadmap using color coding and annotations to get a clear picture for the project. I also added meeting notes in my mind maps against the specific agenda and then used these to discuss with team and come up with action items.

Mind maps have usually been the best way to explore any topic followed by guided notes, mapping and detailing.

What do you think is the greatest benefit working this way?

When someone can put their thoughts in a manner that can be visualized by others and have a collaborative discussion, I suppose that is the greatest benefit for anyone that mind maps can provide. It ensures that all the involved stakeholders can be on same page and it leaves little room for any sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding.

The other benefit it brings is the organized documentation for the project. All the relevant notes, feedbacks, meeting discussions can be stored against each specific point which provides handy access to the information anytime moving forward during the project.

What do you think is the greatest barrier to wider adoption of mind mapping?

Of all my colleagues and interactions with them, only a few of them have heard about mind maps but they didn’t know what it is to be used for or how to create mind maps.

The greatest barriers I found are firstly, the lack of knowledge about mind maps itself and secondly, the lack of knowledge about the tools that are available to plot the mind maps easily.

Would you like to add anything else?

Mind maps could be used for almost everything in life for better clarity and improved learning. Whether you are into research, or want to brainstorm any idea, or need to have an elaborated plan, try mind maps. You will love using them!

Why to wait for more when Biggerplate have a great library of mind map templates to begin with!

I explored and I found the templates really helpful!

Thank you Surbhi for your interesting insights! If you have any similar experiences you would like to share with us then please do get in touch!

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