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Mind Map Case Study: Mapping for Brainstorming, Project Planning and Getting Things Done!

In this mind mapping case study, we hear how Project Manager, Rene Corjanus, uses mind maps for effective brainstorming & project planning and for getting things done!

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am married and have 16 year old twin daughters. I like photography and am a keyboard player in a rock band. I have been working in IT almost all my life. I have over 30 years of ICT experience.

I have been an IT manager at Radio Netherlands (the Dutch equivalent of BBC worldwide) and at Bouter Cheese, which handles all the cheese for Holland's biggest supermarket, Albert Heijn. I've also been a Project manager since 2003. For the last 4 years I have been working for Bluewater Energy services (an Offshore company) as an IT Project Manager.

How were you first introduced to mind mapping?

In 2005 I took a 2 day course in speed reading and mind mapping at Brainstudios here in the Netherlands. I liked the visual aspect of it and started using Mindmanager. I implemented David Allan's GTD using mindmanager and the combination gave me lots of peace at mind. Since then I use it all the time in my work environment. I can not do without it.

How do you use mind mapping in your work?

I use mind mapping (with mindmanager) in a lot of ways. I use it for preparing meetings; structuring my thoughts on a subject; brainstorming with a bunch of people; preparing & planning for small and medium projects; creating work breakdown structures in projects. I also keep track of team members and other importend stakeholders by creating a map for each person and keeping track of personal data and some task related data. You might say it is my CRM approach.

I also used it for my implementation of Getting things done by David Allan. I used to use Resultmanager and Gyroq for that. But had to skip this when gyroQ wasn’t available anymore for the Mindmanager version I was using. I know it is available again, so I might switch back.

I also use Opti-P2 from olympic-limited. This plug-in has 2 advantages: it includes the Prince2 project managent manual and it is a great checklist for what needs to be done in Prince2 project. I also use their Map plug-in which adds a lot of extra functionality to MM.

I use it the most for projects and like to use Nick Duffils approach of funnel timelines. David Allan and Nick both advise starting with the end of a project in mind.

Imagine the project is ready, you’re sipping your champagne and looking back. What is needed to accomplish this (end) result?

I like to start brainstorming sessions on a new project from this point and repeating the question "what is needed to achieve this step?". Mapping the answers in a mind map gives all the project team members a clear overview of what needs to be done. If you allocate resources and time you almost have your planning and it is a great way to keep track of progress.

What do you think is the greatest advantage of working in this way?

I have done this project mapping many times and every time I noticed that it is easier for everybody to follow what the steps are, team members are more involved and a lot of times an "AHA erlebnis” occurs where team members tell each other “but if you do that then I have to do this as well”.

I have created a mind map for an oracle upgrade migration with 4 database administrators that way. At the end we had a mind map (below) which we plotted on a plotter, it was 2 meters high. We put it on the wall and everybody could keep track of what needed to be done.

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

For one it is the name mind mapping. Nigel Goult wrote an article suggesting the use of the word "business mapping" and I couldn't agree more.

A big thank you to Rene for sharing his story with us!

Want to share your mind mapping experiences with us? Get in touch via Twitter or by commenting below!

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
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