Mindmaps for Project Management

From Innovation Tools:

Mind mapping software can be a powerful tool for managing your projects, your goals and even your to-do lists. Mind maps are very visually oriented, and enable you to gather, manage and share a large variety of information and resources quickly and easily — making them an ideal tool for managing projects.

Here are some of the ways in which you can utilize any of the most popular mind mapping software programs — such as MindManager, MindGenius or ConceptDraw MINDMAP — to streamline your workload:

Idea file: A mind map is an ideal place to store ideas related to your project. Better yet, you can maintain a separate mind map as your master idea file.

Project objectives: You can use a mind map to list objectives of the project, and keep them close at hand throughout the project to help you stay focused on its outcome.

Milestones: You can use your favorite mind mapping program to define project milestones and track the progress of key elements of the project. Some software programs enable you to attach percentage done icons to tasks within your map, which enable you to gauge your progress toward these key project milestones at a glance.

Questions: A mind map is an excellent place to create a list of all of the questions you have about the scope of the project, questions you need to ask other people, and other related questions.

Information needs: You can use a mind map to create lists of the information you need, research you need to do, resources you need to explore, people you need to contact for specific information or expertise, and other information needs.

Links to project resources: You can easily use your favorite mind mapping program to create links to web sites, documents, reports and other project-related resources to which your team members need fast, easy access. I have found this to be a big time-saver for me: Instead of wasting time searching through my file directories, looking for a key document or spreadsheet, I can create a link to it within my project map — so I never have to hunt for it again!

Define team roles and responsibilities: You can create a branch of your map that concisely summarizes each team member’s roles and responsibilities.

Experts and sources: You use a mind map to maintain a list of experts who you need to contact for specific information related to the project.

Project notes: Most mind mapping programs enable you to attach notes to the branches of your mind map. You can use this capability to store additional information related to the items in your mind map. Storing them in this way keeps them out of view until you are ready to look at them. At any time, you can easily drill down to read the notes you have stored regarding that aspect of your project.

Business Week’s Asian Stars

Three Indians in Business Week’s list of 25 “Stars of Asia” – Sonia Gandhi, Ratan Tata and Nasscom chief Kiran Karnik.

Here is what BW wrote on Karnik: ” As the outsourcing debate in the U.S. has raged over the past year, the individual who may have the most to lose has been a picture of calm. In the face of a steady flow of invective from Washington and U.S. state governments, Kiran Karnik — the quiet, brainy chief of India’s software trade group, Nasscom — has avoided any angry words. His response has been to point out that the U.S. economy gets $2 in benefit for every $1 that American companies spend on outsourcing in India. Indian companies buy U.S. hardware and software, Indian tech workers spend wages in the U.S. and pay taxes there, and U.S. consumers save through lower costs at companies.”

Nandan Nilekani Interview

Excerpts from an interview with Infosys’ president and CEO in SFGate:

Q: What transformations or changes have you seen in your own country because of your industry?

A: To understand the changes, we have to go back to 1991. What happened in 1991 was that India went through a major process of reform. Before that, it was very difficult to do business. There were import barriers, high import tariffs, and it was difficult to travel abroad.

It’s very coincidental, because the new prime minister is a gentleman called Manmohan Singh. He actually was the finance minister in 1991. He was the architect of this whole change.

Essentially, the impact was that India became much more of a free-market economy, and industries like ours, which had a global component, became very strong.

To give you an idea, in 1991, the total revenue in the Indian economy from software exports was $50 million. Now it’s about $1 billion, and the whole industry is about $12 billion in revenue.

And what has happened is it has created all these jobs, a lot of new companies, a lot of very nice campuses where these jobs are done.

People are becoming much more globalized, global in the mind-set, because they’re dealing with the external world.

Also, the Indian brand has grown, and people are aware of what we do. It’s also given a lot of self-confidence to people. They can do something which is globally successful and globally acceptable.

So I think it’s been a sea change in attitude and behavior and confidence. All that has come because of the success in this industry. It’s a very important part of what’s happening there.

Q: If you look at it on the street level, what changes have you seen in the quality of life of Indian workers and their purchasing ability or lifestyle?

A: Let me just tell you that this business is really a very small fraction of the Indian workforce. India has a population of 1 billion people, and the number of people who can work is maybe about 400 to 500 million people.

This industry is about a million people at best. It’s really a small fraction of the total workforce. In fact, people think that part of this (recent) election in India was the worker saying it’s hardly enough just to have an IT industry. Really, the whole country has to benefit.

Q: Part of the criticism in the election was that economic benefits were not spreading deep enough into the populace. Does outsourcing have the ability to do that?

A: I think people expect, at best, this industry will create 2 million, 3 million, 4 million jobs over the next 10 years.

Considering that India has the largest population of young people anywhere in the world, considering that 10 million new people join the workforce every year, this is not going to solve the unemployment issue.

Therefore, what people are now saying is that we need a broad-based strategy for job creation which is not just in the IT and business processing sector, but in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, retailing and all of the sectors.

It should create jobs not just in small urban pockets but in the smaller towns and rural areas. That’s clearly one of the messages from this election.