From Ideas to Action

June 19, 2013
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Using TheBrain for Project Management

Driving your ideas to completion can be a challenge especially when you are dealing with multiple data sources, complex and sometimes ill-defined requirements in addition to many stake holders. However, creating a complete context for all your project goals and information makes it easy to manage everything and bring projects to a successful completion.

Yesterday we had a great webinar on nonlinear project management. If you missed it, here’s the recording & example Brain. And continue reading below for a summary of our best practices.



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With TheBrain’s visual interface you can create an all encompassing view of your project to see even the most complex relationships more intuitively. Your project brain will help you take control of your information and execute more effectively. TheBrain and BrainEKP can be used from the initial stages of a project all the way throught to completion. Here’s how:

1. TheBrain for Starting Your Project

Defining success is the first prerequisite to achieving it. Using TheBrain during the initial stages of project management will help you solidify your ideas and gain a better understanding of where you are and where you need to go. You can use TheBrain for the following aspects of getting your project off the ground:

  • Brainstorming This can be done as a group with TheBrain projected on your conference room wall or individually on your desktop. Start creating Thoughts for all ideas. Under these Thoughts create child Thoughts that your initial ideas might lend themselves to. Use the expanded view to enable everyone to see everything. You can create pro and con Thoughts to help your analysis. During later stages you can use Thought types with colors and icons to highlight the best ideas.

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  • Researching Possibilities and Choices Often before you can commit to a course of action there are underlying variables that need to be researched. Creating a section in your project brain focussed on these possibilities will help you make more informed final decisions. With TheBrain’s integration of files and web pages, you can drag and drop web sites and reference files so all supporting reference material on your research topic is right there. You can also link together a series of concepts to see how things are related.
  • Setting Project Goals and Objectives Create a Thought for each project goal and objective. Under these Thoughts you can spin off additional Thoughts with all the resources you need to achieve each goal. Visualizing your goals and connecting them to their implications will help you gain a meta-awareness of your objectives as you work since each time you click through your Brain you will see the goals you need to achieve and the related ideas.

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  • Communicating Your Vision to Your Team or Clients Once you have mapped out your vision for this project use TheBrain to inspire your team or sell your ideas. Clicking on a Thought in TheBrain triggers all related information so your audience immediately sees how things fit together. TheBrain’s engaging animations will capture people’s attention and help everyone focus in on your ideas.

2. TheBrain for Effective Project Management

Once you have defined your objectives and started your project, TheBrain’s advanced navigation and instant activation of Thoughts will enable you to get to any aspect of your project within seconds and find the right information to complete tasks quickly.

  • Visualizing Project Phases Create Thoughts for each phase of your project such as requirements, research, development, testing, deployment or other phases that you may have. Each phase will then have linked underneath it all relevant information and milestones that will enable you to move to the next phase.

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For a demonstration, watch some highlights from our last project management webinar.

  • Accessing and Integrating Disparate Resources Drag and drop all relevant files and web pages under the right requirement and project phase. One of the advantages of TheBrain’s visual interface is that one document can be linked under multiple categories and ideas. This will help you fully conceptualize your files and link all relevant Web pages in a way that reflect your project processes. (For more information how to integrate web pages and files watch my seminar Stop Searching Start Finding.)
  • Clarifying Responsibilities and Expertise You should also create a Team Thought in your project brain and have Thoughts for all relevant parties. If you have an existing intranet site with bios you can link to their personal pages as attached Web pages for their Thoughts. Now you can connect people to their responsibilities and expertise so if you or your team has additional questions you will always know who to contact.

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  • Requirements Management and Impact Assessment By mind mapping out all your requirements you can visualize complex requirements and pieces of a process that can otherwise feel overwhelming. Furthermore, if requirements or other variables change you can instantly see what’s connected and therefore what impact these changes will have. This will help you anticipate any complications with changes and make more informed decisions about the future direction of the project.

3. TheBrain for Project Completion

Once your project is complete your brain has effectively captured your expertise through the process and will be a valuable resource and digital memory for future projects.

  • Debriefing and Lessons Learned Thoughts After your project is complete adding in a Thought for lessons learned will help and your team evolve your processes and highlight what worked and what didn’t.
  • Ongoing Responsibilities and Maintenance Many projects continue even after the original goals have been met. Create Thoughts for next steps or continuing duties. Now all your ideas and information resources for your ongoing responsibilities are instantly accessible and linked to all related information.

Success Visualized: This is What Thinking Looks Like

Overall whether you are collaborating on a project in BrainEKP or using TheBrain, the visual links and connections will provide you with the big picture on all your activities and next steps.

Gaining this kind of oversight and analysis enables project managers worldwide to rise above the inertia of daily tasks and keep higher overarching goals and key concepts at the forefront of their day. This will enable you to bring a new level of creativity and conceptual organization that just isn’t possible with a project file and scattered resources in various drives and folders. Additionally, your Brain’s instant activate feature and advanced search enable you to move quickly to different aspects of a project instantly so you can juggle many task and switch gears quickly.

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Complete vision with integrated information assets…That’s knowledge driven project management and it will help make your project a success and take your vision to the next level with TheBrain.

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Filed under: Applications. How You Can Use TheBrain!, Getting Things Done, Mind Mapping and Information Visualization | Posted on June 19th, 2013 by Shelley Hayduk

5 Responses to “From Ideas to Action”

  1. MargeFouts Says:

    I am pleased that I received this.
    Thanks!

  2. John Pemberton-Bates Says:

    Guys

    I can see several great applications for thebrain in project management.

    However I am not so sure of how to use TheBrain for the actual process of managing the activity of executing a projects and tasks (ie, scheduling work, establishing due dates, expected completion dates, impact of changes in completion on other tasks/activities etc. – ie. what project planning applications are for. I can see links to a project plan from TheBrain.

    Lastly there are some pieces of functionality that I think would greatly enhance TheBrain such as:

    1) more date/time capabilities – possibly against the Thought itself (as opposed to specific activities within a thought)

    2) more options on individual thoughts for the organisation of child thoughts (ie. order in numeric, priority, date, alphabetic, as placed order). And in this respect, when one enters a new thought be able to enter it ‘between’ tow other specific thoughts and have the order maintained (renumbered etc)

    3) Linking specific thoughts in one brain with specific thoughts in another brain. ie. multiple virtual brains, linked by specific strands. This would enable the ability to keep say a brain of relationships distinct from a brain of a journal. But when there is a need to link between brains on can easily do this. Would need to be able to have more than one brain open at a time..as well (say in the MacBook environment).

    4) How do you print a brain with notes attached? or send thebrain, with the indented notes to something like MS WORD.

    5) How about arrows on links (so one can determine the ‘route’ between thoughts.

    That said, I have just implemented a great use for theBrain. Home filing. I have set up a filing system, and for each file I have an appropriate thought in my filing brain. Then on each thought I can link to any other context – for example home, tax, insurance, pension, person etc. I then also keep some basic information on the core thought/file (such as policy number, last payment amount, date of statement, policy number etc).

    In this way I can rapidly locate a file in theBrain and the n locate within the real filing system ANY physical inbound document, and any related documents. So doing things like tax returns, checking management meeting notes etc., finding the documents related to my car(s) or house etc. is a doddle.

    Keep up the enhancements – great product.

    All the best
    John

  3. David Garrett Says:

    Has anyone ever mapped out the complex inter-relation between the books of Old and New Testaments using the Brain?

  4. zenrain Says:

    David, you may be interested in this forum thread about that very question.
    http://forums.thebrain.com/tool/post/thebrain/vpost?id=2698496

  5. Shelley Hayduk Says:

    Thanks for the suggestions. We have some new tagging features coming out in version 5 and are continuing our rapid development of even more features.  John, your home filing application sounds very similar to an aspect my personal finance section in my Brain. Glad to hear you are getting alot of use out of this. It is very powerful and makes bill paying and managing finances much easier. In fact in our seminar this Wednesday I will talk about this! htttp://www.thebrain.com/healthandwealth And of course, let me know if you want to participant or show your Brain to anyone on this. FYI I know this is a sensitive subject. I’m copying my own Thoughts and depersonalizing for the audience so no private information is shown…

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