A mind map is a powerful tool that you can use to represent the requirements of a project. It is a graphical tool that you use for the visual representation of the project requirements. Additionally, a mind map is a hierarchical representation of ideas, and depicts the relationship among all components of the project. When you create a mind map, you start from the center of the mind map by specifying the central idea, such as the name of the project. You keep associating related ideas to the central idea as its branches. To depict ideas and their branches, you can use various pictures, words, and even part of words.
Users across industries use the mind map technique for a visual representation of their ideas. Each branch of the mind map flows like a story line from center to the last node and provides the complete understanding of an idea. Moreover, a mind map is quite flexible. You can add a branch to a node when you get an additional idea or remove a branch from any node that is not required. The same concept of a mind map is true for a project. When collating and understanding the stakeholder requirements, you can use this technique to map the related requirement as various branches of the project and keep elaborating the requirements as sub branches of each requirement. This not only enables you to understand the stakeholder requirements, but also correlate various requirements because of visual representation of the requirements.
After you have finalized a mind map for the project, you can map these requirements to various components and deliverables of the project, including the processes to be followed to complete these deliverables. The mind map of a project provides a bird’s eye view of the project that you can present to the stakeholders to verify your understanding of the requirements with respect to the requirements you have received from them. Moreover, you can visualize the product and its features with the help of a mind map.
You can either create a mind map manually on a sheet of paper or use any of the automated mind map utilities available commercially. While you can use your artistic sense in the manual system, you can use the advanced technology and features of the automated system, such as collapsing various levels of nodes individually, which gives larger clarity and control when presenting it to the stakeholders. Whatever utility, manual or automated, you use to create a mind map, the basic procedure remains the same. You start form the center as the title of the project and expand it in the radial hierarchical format. One complete branch of the radial hierarchy usually maps to a major feature of the project, though it can map to more in case of related ones.
Generic Guidelines to Create a Mind Map
When creating a mind map, whether for the project requirements or otherwise, you must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Start from the center of the mind map and add the project title to the represent it. You can depict the project title by using a graphic or just a simple box along with the title.
- Start adding main feature to the mind map, which depict high level features of the product and service, as the branches of the project. You can use various images to depict these features. Additionally, to distinguish these branches, you can use different colors for each branch.
- Select and use key words to depict each set of requirements.
- Each key word must be unique and belong uniquely to each branch.
- Start connecting lines from the central image to the branches. These lines usually get thinner and thinner as you radiate out from the center.
- Create the length of the lines that matches the words or images they support.
- Use multiple colors to distinguish branches from each other. You can also use these colors to encode as well as group the requirements.
- There is no fix style of creating a mind map. You can create your own style for the same.
- Use emphasis and indicate associations in the mind map to enhance the understanding of the related requirements.
- Avoid any cluttering in the mind map and keep it clean to make sure that there is no ambiguity or miscommunication.