Hi, First of all I thank you for visiting this blog.
I am Babou Srinivasan & I am a Project Management Professional(PMP) since 2004. I have around 14 Years of experience in IT (especially in ERP Applications). I worked in different product development & implementation projects. I am currently working as Project Manager – Applications Development in a MNC in India. I am practicing project management for past 4 years. I did my masters (M.S) in software systems from BITS, Pilani,India.
I have passion towards Leadership and Project Management. I am learning about Leadership, Project Management, Strategy and like to make most out of it. One of my lifetime goal is – I want to contribute to Project Management community – by finding new method of managing projects and people. Areas of interest now is Communication, Risk management, Strategy.
I am planning to fulfill my wish through this blog too.
Mind Mapping and Me
My Association with Neural Networks:
In my school days, I had very good interest knowing how our body parts function esp. Brain. This carried forward even in my college days, I took neural networks as my project topic in one of my engineering subject. I tried simulating pattern recognition using software programming. There I devoted more time in understanding how information stored & retrieved by neurons.
First iteration of neural network program is learning cycle in which the program reads notations to store information about various English characters. The more iteration we choose for learning cycle, the more accurate pattern recognition happens in the later stage. Every time we remember an event (or experience), we make it more prominent & faster retrieval. In computer analogy, you can say it is stored in RAM instead of Hard Disk. This way, I got some introduction how brain learns & stores information.
My Association with Mind Mapping:
After moving to IT, I came across various learning styles. I studied different learning patterns & I felt Kolb described a very good theory on that. Past few years, I am an enthusiastic learner of Mind Mapping. In simple words, Mind Map is graphical representation closest to how information are stored in neurons, which uses various concepts that makes learning a faster & fun filled activity.
My Project Management Career and Mind Mapping:
After my PMP in 2004, I got a feel that PM Job is challenging due to lot of variables in project environment. Planning, organizing, monitoring – all needs more understanding of process & easy to apply tools/techniques to tackle the issues in timely manner. Project success is a factor of clear goals communicated across entire project. As project documents grows in size & versions, most of the time total focus is lost. Though well proven rock solid processes are documented, going through 100 pages of that document was boring & time consuming. Many time we forget the first point when we review #30th point in the notes we take in few pages.
After my introduction to Mind Mapping technique, I started practicing it in each little repetitive activity which I was performing many years. I mapped status meeting points, activity time sheet, recruitment process, bug fix development process, blog post notes, one-to-one with team member & manager points, etc. You can also see a lot of mind maps of project management process ITTO in mind map form in this blog. It took very little time to do brainstorming of ideas. It is an excellent feeling to have more organized thought process.
Starting from May 2010, I do seminar on ‘Effective Project Management Using Mind Maps’. Here is the seminar handout for your benefit.
Mind Maps Definition & Explanation:
Lot of definitions in simple words are available in the web. So I am not going to define it once again. I will present you the one I liked the most.
Mind Maps are graphical representation of information using colors, numbers, images and words that are arranged in an order which resembles sun radiation with a central idea. Mind Maps created in the same way how human natural thinking process works hence it brings out complete brain potential.
In a mind map, topics are chosen to bloom and flow. At first Bloom happens with Basic Ordering Of Ideas(BOI) and this forms first level of ideas that pops out of central idea. This one should be more creating & it is so important that makes a mind map to have infinite association branches like a banyan tree. Flow relates ideas in branches to sub branches makes it complete with more detail level. Each sub branch will in turn allows it to branch further.
Sticking to Rules:
Rules are really tricky part in Mind Maps. As a long hand notes takers, I tend to put sentence in node instead of a single keyword. Using appropriate keywords makes infinite associational capacity to the map. This is one of the frequent rule breaking we found around all mind mappers. Sticking to the rules is much more important in making the mind map more productive tool than just a place to capture some info.
— Use a central image (or at least use keyword with some artistic style) and more images appropriate for topics throughout the map.
— Use different colors for branches with thicker to thinner level of line sizes while moving from central to next levels of branches. Make your map as beautiful as you can.
— Use one keyword per line. This gives you thought improvisation & freedom.
— Make printed words and lines same size. Show variation in word dimension in order to emphasis.
— Connect lines & use boundaries to group topics.
— Create a master map and branch out to different child maps.
— Present the keywords also in a list form. This helps those having good learning ability when presented in traditional list way.
— Software gives you great way to modify your maps without much clumsy look. But always start with pencil & paper to jot down ideas.
— You cannot gather all your ideas in a single go. Take enough time to improve your maps.
— Try to perform your keyword notes taking of the book that you read to a mind map. This gives a key lessons from the book available in single place. No need to go through all pages once again to get glimpse of what you learnt.
Lot of Mind Map Software are available in the market now. There is no right or wrong software. Each of them has their unique features to bring out best of your brain. I evaluated few and got satisfied with their result. Here are few:
1. Buzan’s iMindMap
2. MindJet’s Mind Manager
3. Mind Mapper
4. Free Mind (Open Source Freeware)
5. Visual Mind
6. ConceptDraw Mind Map
Here are few resources for your review.
The use of the term “Mind Maps” is claimed as a trademark by The Buzan Organisation, Ltd. in the UK and the USA. The trade-mark does not appear in the records of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. In the U.S. “Mind Maps” is trademarked as a “service mark” expressly for “EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, NAMELY, CONDUCTING COURSES IN SELF-IMPROVEMENT” – other products and services are not covered by the trademark.