It’s likely that most of us have heard the phrase “poor planning = poor performance” or “fail to plan – plan to fail” and other variations on the same theme. What it all boils down to is that the success of any plan, process, initiative or project is usually determined by the quality of the planning process. This is particularly true and vitally important in terms of projects.

I’m sure you’ll agree that, amongst other aspects, the up-front planning stage of a project (or a series of related tasks e.g. arising out of a meeting) the “Why?” “What?” “Who” “When?” and “How?” of the initial planning stage, need be clearly identified, effectively captured, clearly understood and well communicated.

In my own experience over a number of years working with clients and also studying research into Project Management, there is much evidence to prove that projects fail in many cases because of weakness or failure in the early planning process. The failures are mainly due to:

  • Ideas, input and knowledge not being effectively captured
  • Then, more importantly, not effectively utilised
  • Loss of momentum between brainstorming sessions, meetings and action
  • Lack of suitable tools for capturing project requirements and creating breakdown structures (WBS)
  • Combined with lack of suitable tools for visualising project requirements

The weaknesses or failures in the planning process usually mean:

  • Project requirements are not visualised properly or thoroughly
  • Crucial aspects of the project are missed
  • The project flow is disrupted or broken
  • The effective deployment and execution of the project is at risk
  • Time-wasting and unnecessary fire-fighting is increased
  • Expensive delays in time and mismanaged resources

In recent times I have been very aware of the rise in business mind mapping software in the project management arena. More and more project managers/workers are beginning to see the huge benefits in terms of overall process efficiency and productivity in general that business mind mapping brings.

The weaknesses and failures outlined above have been explicitly addressed and the whole up-front planning process has been greatly improved through:

  • The mapping interface enabling easy, quick, creative mapping of project scope/requirements – ideal for creating WBS
  • The ability to brainstorm, visualise and create structure and hierarchy quickly and effortlessly through the mapping front end
  • Collaboration whilst this planning takes place, ensuring quality of input and comprehensive content gathering

The additional benefits then come from the ability of business mind mapping software being able to intuitively handle the ongoing plan/schedule/monitor and control process:

  • The ability to quickly and intuitively create a schedule / Gantt view straight from the map
  • Enhanced project scheduling, filtering, querying and comprehensive reporting mechanisms all built-in to the mind mapping software – ability to manage the whole process end-to-end

There is no doubt that using business mind mapping software greatly increases the chances of project success – not only at the critical front-end, but through the whole project life-cycle.