Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beating the odds by mind mapping IT projects

Monday night (26-Nov-2007), I delivered a presentation to IT professionals at the Waterloo Wellington Information Technology Professionals IT Forum event held at triOS College in downtown Kitchener. My presentation was a look at how to use mind mapping techniques to manage IT projects.

I've presented other talks to our group about mind mapping before, but this presentation focused on project management, especially on using MindJet's MindManager Pro v7.0 and the add-on Project Management JetPack to conduct project management without the headaches associated with a complete deployment and rollout of Microsoft Project and/or Project Server to the enterprise.

For many companies, Microsoft Project is overkill. More importantly, the time and energy required to deploy and train staff in the proper use of a full-blown Enterprise Project Management solution can sabotage project management initiatives before they're started. That's because everyone needs to understand how to use MS Project before team collaboration with the tool will be successful. For many, that's simply too big a hurdle to contemplate.

With mind mapping (especially MindManager Pro), only team leaders need to have familiarity with the tool - the viewer will be sufficient for everyone else on the project team. Even then, if you determine that you do need the resource and scheduling management tools in MS Project, you can readily include MS Project in the entire solution matrix, but only for project managers. In other words, deployment of both MindManager Pro and MS Project can be limited to project managers with everyone else using standard viewers and Microsoft Office productivity tools like MS Word and MS Excel.

But in addition to the deployment and training savings, using mind mapping techniques reaps rewards in productivity and team collaboration that I've not seen matched in any other software category. Download my presentation in PDF format for a full description of how this works.

If you decide to do that, you'll see an example of a new PowerPoint methodology I'm trying out called Beyond Bullet Points or BBP, something which I think will improve my presentation quality dramatically. The developer of BBP, Cliff Atkinson, also has his own blog and web site devoted to the methodology.

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