Using Mind Maps to Enhance Creativity When Managing Projects

By – Maneesh Dutt.

The use of mind maps can bring new, creative dimensions to the project management process.

Is managing projects a fun and engaging activity? According to a recent study of more than 5,000 large-scale IT projects,1 only 55 percent of these projects actually were delivered within budget. This success ratio for adherence to cost probably creates a substantive amount of anxiety on project leaders who are unable to meet goals.

How can creativity surface under these conditions? Additionally, the usual image of a project manager is one of a stressed-out individual pushing his/her team to meet the customer deadline working under various constraints. In this scenario is there a possibility of introducing an element of fun and, hence, creativity in projects?

Let’s look at a simple example: A project manager after completing his daily grind heads for the soccer field to relieve his tensions of the day. After his intense game of soccer he feels refreshed and starts to think why after burning so many calories he feels new whereas after his office hours he feels sapped of energy without burning as many calories? The difference is that his office is equated with “work time” whereas soccer is “play time.” Interestingly, the more we are engaged with an activity, the less it feels like work. Put in another way, our level of engagement with an activity defines whether our mind equates it with work or play. The question is, therefore, can projects become more engaging? The answer lies in mind maps, a simple tool to help increase engagement in a given activity, thus propelling us to a zone of enhanced creativity. Though mind maps have an extremely large canvas of application, this article looks specifically at how they can improve creativity in projects.

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