Mind Mapping for Group Problem Solving

New Jersey Chapter

Charles Borrelli is an IT Project Management Consultant in New Jersey.

Using a mind mapping tool for group problem solving can be an excellent way to resolve complex issues. A good group mind mapping experience has the added benefit of improving group dynamics and eliciting better participation.

Background
In the business I worked in at the time, we had one main web-based computer system for tracking the clients and services provided. However, there was a long-term project for migrating the old mainframe system—and any ancillary databases—into the main system as well. When we came to the referral unit, we ran into some problems. The issues and resolutions will be addressed in this article.

Preparations and Avoiding Mind Mapping Traps
I generally like to limit meetings to 90 minutes, with exceptions made for requirements retreat, trainings or other special agendas. Mind mapping can be a bit tricky. You want to keep the topics moving and be inviting of different ideas, but you still need to be focused on the task at hand. You need a good mind mapping tool and something easily to understand. I generally prefer working on a tablet-based mind mapping tool because the input methods are responsive and intuitive. However, I have also had great success with sticky notes, yarn and pushpins.

In addition, there should be a facilitator and another person managing the mind mapping tool. All ideas are respected and placed on the board&…

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