How we got started
I started using mapping tools for productivity in the 1990's when I saw the guy on the plane sitting next to me using this strange, but interesting tool, to generate talk points for a presentation he was working on. Wasn't being nosey intentionally, but when you're sitting shoulder to shoulder with people... Sometimes you can't help but see people's screens.
I had to ask him what it was! That tool was MindManager from a company named Mindjet. When I got home, I downloaded it. The more I worked with it, the more intrigued I became, because the wheels started turning in my head as to a number of different ways I could use it.
I joined groups, spoke to tons of others interested in mind mapping and started to become more and more creative with it.
I kept running into snags and excuses. People on my project sites weren't buying in to it, and quite frankly, I just could not understand it! It really had me baffled and I wasn't the only person confused by this non-acceptance of such a great tool.
Many users that were trying to proliferate the use of mind mapping and enhancing the uses of it and promoting it were confused by people not embracing it to the extent they thought it should.
I pushed the use at client sites. Yes, of course, I had people shouting ooo's and ahhh's. Project management was a shoe-in for something like this. Why would anybody in their right mind not want to use mind mapping? Were they nut kabobs?? Geez!! Frankly speaking, it was a real head scratcher!
So, I withdrew from trying to push it off on people and used it on my own. It didn't stop the wheels from turning either. I've created tons of maps, map templates, processes, forms, techniques, and so on, over the years.
Even though I apply mind mapping to a lot of different things, I focus attention on project and program management. The more I created and produced, the more I'd use them around project teams.
Got the same old ooo's and ahhh's, too, but damn!! There was something blocking wider acceptance of it outside of the same brainstorming applications and simpler and more general usage. Smaller maps for doing simpler tasks & processes.
This was a real brain baffler to a lot of us, not only me. When the early adopters started to see these bottlenecks, some of them faded from the picture and reduced their involvement, as well, but many stuck with it.
As I kept working with mind mapping platforms, especially from a project management perspective, I started to think, "You know, maybe I'm coming at this the wrong way." In fact, perhaps there was a bit of a slant to the thinking behind the way to use these types of tools.
That lead me to...
THE PROBLEM FROM A PROJECT MANAGERS PERSPECTIVE
When you need tools and templates, depending on the type of project it is, I can't run around looking for them. I need these now, because I know I'm going to need a framework to get started. The type of project tells me what I'm going to need. For example, each of these requires a different approach, to an extent, a different set of tools, or group of tools.
Industry specific; pharma, chemical, CPG, industrial machinery, automotive, etc.
Functionally specific; GRC (governance, risk & compliance), GTS (Global Trade Services), Master Data Management, Master Data Governance, S4/HANA, Big Data, CRM, and the list never stops going and growing
Supply chain optimization
Rapid Deployment Solutions
Cloud Enablement - Internet of Things, ERP in the Cloud
Innovation & Ideation
Project QA & Forensics
A lot not listed
Every single one of these has a beginning and an end, a set of tools, a methodology, resources, time, costs and other factors. Some similarities and some differences.
The idea was and is, to creatively and innovatively, design a solution set to make projects successful in a near 360 degree way. How do we do this? C'mon, that's simply not possible, or is it, and if so, what approach? After all, there are tons of great ideas out on the market to deal with all kinds of projects.
Given the industry, scope and discovery documentation and requirements documents, I needed to focus on the business processes and how huge scenario processes like procure to pay or plan to produce work in different industries.
For example, Procure To Pay (P2P) functionality works very differently for a pharmaceutical manufacturer than it does for an automotive manufacturer. Now, add 25+ different industry verticals and you can see why people who specialize in this specific area, procurement, are required for each industry vertical.
You must understand how all of these processes work in your clients' environment, so that you can apply all of the business improvements and process streamlining (the deltas) to deliver the value you proposed to your client and the reason why you were awarded the engagement and not your competitor.
There's more! Much more!
There's a technical side to this as well. Not just hardware, software and infrastructure. We have reports, integration, interfaces, enhancements, data conversions, reports, forms, workflows, in other words, RICEFW.
Sometimes these things are simple and sometimes they're very, very complex. Sometimes there are a few of these development objects, and some clients can have several thousand. Are you going to do development work on site, offshore, nearshore, or maybe some combination of these? How will you set up collaboration and communication?
I'm sure that if you are in the project management realm, you understand what I'm talking about.
PEOPLE & ROLES
I'll have to know what people to assign to each role, both functionally and technically.
When I'm getting my team together and going through the on boarding process, I may have to go onto the recruiting market to get the right people.
Again, we need to put together a job description, validate for accuracy, and send it out to the recruiter and / or publish to a job board.
That workflow needs to happen directly in my dashboard (visual recruiting & on-boarding?). I can't fumble around, rewrite or dig to get to a specific job description. I could kill a good 30 minutes to an hour on that alone. My internal recruiting team should have access to a complete tool set right inside the Symytry dashboard.
I should have a library of job descriptions and I should access it in less than a minute. I could even have a separate resource dashboard where the recruiter and I can discuss everything together and update right on the fly and notify everyone of upcoming interviews and scheduling. One map. One place. One tracking dashboard. No wasted time. 1-2-3-DONE!
Geez, even the resumes coming into Outlook can be automatically flagged and collected directly into the dashboard. Keep the ones you want and reject the ones you don't. Done in a matter of a couple minutes, all in one place.
There's much more, because I'll need to have mind maps, or as I now refer to them as dashboards and control panels, as parts of other control panels and dashboards. They'll have be interconnected and intraconnected. Any map can be chained with another so that you have multiple processes linked for convenience and smooth workflow.
For example, Symytry's sales control dashboard is a tool set, because it contains all the tools that I'd find necessary to have as a business developer or an account manager.
That means I'd need all the tools from prospecting to the signed statement of work and everything in between.
TIME & COST
To project and program managers, this is where the rub occurs! This may not be in all cases, but I think we can agree that we have experienced some form of the following scenario at one time or another.
The consultancy or integration partner has promised that certain milestones will be met along with a set of deliverables peppered along the project timeline as it progresses.
In order to win projects, integrators will attempt to "streamline" the project as much as possible and to make the cost of getting it done more attractive to their client.
Whatever this winds up being, is what the project team will inherit and be tasked with delivering.
All too often, the consulting team is not generally asked for their opinions. Oh sure, there is the input required to get the proposal done, or to finish the statement of work. If you bring an experienced project manager to the final presentation at a prospective client, don't be surprised if that project or program manager wriggles in their seats, grind their teeth, or roll their eyes to the back of their head while they listen to some of the things being promised.
It's an uncomfortable position to be placed in, because you, or one of your project managers, will be forced to deliver on what's in that statement of work. To be fair, this may not always be the case, but it all too often is.
I also know that if project managers and the functional team had input to project time, the cost estimates would go through the roof, and... the integrators would seldom win any project engagements.
The thing to do is to come up with a combination of timing, resources and costs that will satisfy the client and the project team and it now seems this trend is changing somewhat, but it has been a very slow and tedious process.
Ask the prospect if there have been other integrators prior to your company involvement. Ask what happened, why it didn't work out. If your client has gone through this before with multiple attempts, it might be a good time to step back.
Enter Visual Tools...
This is where Symytry comes into play, and... the heart of mind mapping. Especially, where you have complex projects with a lot of moving parts! Explore this site. Ask questions. Then, contact us and we'll address your questions & concerns. Also, keep in mind, anything can be customized to your ways and methods of working projects and processes. It can be branded to the way you work and can easily employ your tools and your brand.
“I can't understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I'm afraid of old ones." — John Cage
Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.
--- Steve Jobs