Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mind Mapping for Successful Software Development

It’s amazing what happens when a group of people stands around a whiteboard, grabs some markers and starts mind mapping. They think of new experiments to solve a thorny problem. They find better a design solution for a software feature. They identify important test cases that might otherwise have been missed. Mind maps do magic. 

If your software team hasn’t tried mind mapping to help plan themes, design technical implementations, build a test strategy, or write user documentation, it’s worth your time to learn how simply you can get started.

Mind Map Features, Themes, Epics

Try kicking off your next major feature or theme by mind mapping. Find a space with a big whiteboard. Gather together business experts, end users, programmers, product owners, business analysts, testers, database experts, system administrators, everyone who will be involved in delivering or using the software. If your project is geographically distributed, substitute an online whiteboard that allows real-time concurrent collaboration and a projector or huge monitor, along with good voice and video connections.

If a product owner or other stakeholder already knows what’s needed in the feature, she can prepare a whiteboard ahead of time as a starting point. This saves time and helps focus the discussion. The whiteboard can be easily changed, which allows everyone to feel free to suggest changes.

Here’s a whiteboard (below) from a theme planning discussion my team conducted. The product owner drew an extensive mind map ahead of time. He used color-coding to indicate UI features, other affected areas in the system such as documentation, and possible future features that we should keep in mind.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MIndMaple Inc. Releases Their New, Free iPad App - MindMapleHD

MindMaple Inc., the San Francisco based mind mapping software company have officially launched the their newest app for the iPad community, called MindMapleHD for iPad. The majority of their previous software development has focused on Windows based platforms. This product has been developed specifically to bridge the gap between their customers Windows based computers and the ever growing iPad market.

MindMapleHD for iPad is a fast and intuitive way of organizing and prioritizing information for project management, brainstorming sessions, ideas sharing, lesson plans drafting, lecture note taking, problem solving, schedules managing and much more. It gives users the ability to create and edit collaborative mind maps with a user-friendly interface and numerous features to assist in simplifying complex ideas and concepts.

A company spokesman reported the product is going to remain free for a limited time and is currently available for download via their website or directly off of the iTunes store.

More product information can be obtained via their website at You can "Like" them on Facebook at and "Follow" them on Twitter at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Scapple, A Writers’ Mind Map App From The Maker Of Scrivener

Scapple — a cross between scabs and Snapple? Thankfully not: Scapple is in fact a brand new (as in beta) mind-map app for writers. What’s that, you say? There are already a ton of mind-map apps out there? That’s true. But none of them comes from the developer of the awesome Scrivener.

Scapple (which I keep mistyping as Snapple or Scrapple) comes from Literature and Latte, the developer behind the ultimate long-form writers’ tool, Scrivener. As I said, it’s a mind-map app, but this one is geared more towards getting ideas out of your head and less about structuring them. To begin with, at least.

The metaphor is a sheet of paper. A big sheet of paper. You can click to start typing anywhere on the page, which expands to fit all of your snippets. You can link ideas and draw lines between them, but crucially this isn’t required, unlike a regular mind map app which requires that you organize yourself in trees.

There are a few neat tricks. The z key will zoom out on a long-press to show the whole canvas, and for a beta version the export options are legion. You can even drag and drop a note over to Scrivener and add it to the latter’s corkboard.

The good news: the app will probably be around $10 when it makes it into the Mac App Store. The bad news: it’s for OS X, not the iPad. This seems a little ass-backward to me as the iPad is the perfect place for this kind of brainstorming and idea generating. I guess I’ll just have to stick to actual paper index cards for a while yet.

Source Literature and Latte |