The Whiteboards app offers templates for all sorts of specific business needs. But what if you’re looking for a flexible way to visualize a complex idea or process and no standard template seems quite right? Or what if you need to brainstorm the basics before you use a more formal planning diagram? In these situations, you might consider making a mind map.
Use Whiteboards’ Mind Map template in a team meeting to explore any topic. Identify the goal, idea, question, or problem your team will address. Place this topic in the center of the map, and then collaborate to connect it to relevant sub-topics. Drill down as needed, expanding the mind map outward until you’ve covered all the details. Collaborate, brainstorm, discover new insights, and spark more creative solutions outside the constraints of a matrix, graph, or flowchart.
If your team uses Jira, turn your mind map ideas directly into work items with Whiteboards’ unique two-way Jira integration. Convert template fields to Jira issues and manage those issues right on your digital canvas. Import Jira issues and update them to reflect your mind map decisions. All updates sync automatically in Jira.
Sign up for a Whiteboards Pro trial today to access powerful diagramming tools and over 100 Jira-integrated templates. Keep reading to learn about the creative power of mind maps and get practical mind map examples.
What is a mind map?
A mind map is a flexible diagram used to visualize and break down complex ideas or processes. Mind maps feature a central topic, which can be conceptual or concrete in nature. From the main topic, lines branch out to sub-topics, which can each expand into more sub-topics.
Because of their flexibility and infinite scalability, mind maps have a wide range of applications. In fact, it’s likely you’ve drawn a simple mind map on a notebook page to help you sort through a problem or idea. If you’ve ever written down an issue, circled it, and then drawn lines out to related issues, you’re already a mind map maker.
Mind mapping is an organic process that complements how our brains already work. Most of us do not think linearly, but in a series of scattered realizations. A mind map captures these ideas without stopping their flow. It turns a brainstorming session into an actionable diagram.
All you need for a personal mind map is a pen and paper, and colocated teams might do mind mapping on a physical whiteboard. If you work in a remote or distributed team, use Whiteboards’ Mind Map template to collaborate, envision processes, and discover innovative solutions to complex challenges.
What are the benefits of a mind map?
Mind maps are a natural way to see how all the parts of an idea, process, design, plan, or problem fit together. With Whiteboards’ Mind Map template, your team can:
- break down large ideas into small, digestible pieces
- turn abstract concepts into concrete projects, products, or processes
- visualize how scattered ideas or the parts of a project relate to each other
- clarify the connections, hierarchy, and dependencies of any process
- present complex situations to other stakeholders in an easily understood diagram
- account for all the details and how they fit into the overall picture
- discover over-looked associations between different parts of an issue
- capture and organize information without breaking the team’s creative flow
- sort complicated ideas in preparation for a subsequent targeted analysis
Mind mapping allows teams to contribute ideas spontaneously as they build out the map together. Jumping between sub-topics isn’t a problem, since the mind map orders your ideas as you go. Free-flowing contribution takes advantage of natural brain processes to maximize innovation and drive business success.
How do I use the Mind Map template?
Build mind maps with your team in a few easy steps.
Mind map templates are useful for all sorts of business scenarios. We discuss some specific mind map examples in the next section. Whatever the focus of your mind mapping session, here’s how to use the Mind Map template as a meeting facilitator:
- Add the template to your virtual whiteboard.
- Edit the central topic field to include a short description of the meeting topic. Explain the focus and scope of your mind mapping session to the team.
- Change the background colors of the central topic or sub-topics one by one, or select multiple fields to batch-edit them. Use different colors to highlight the topic hierarchy, or to create other visual distinctions between the different parts of the map. Change the size of different map fields to enhance your map design further.
- Add sub-topics to the appropriate fields as you brainstorm your central topic. Click the “+” by the central topic field to add additional sub-topics. Drag sub-topics to reorganize them, and their connecting lines will move with them to keep your map tidy as it expands.
- Add secondary sub-topics to your primary sub-topic fields as you build out your mind map. Take advantage of the endless digital canvas to expand the map as necessary.
- When you’ve completed the mind map, convert any actionable points to Jira issues. Create multiple issues at once by selecting all relevant fields and choosing “Convert to Jira issue.” All new issues sync instantly in Jira, taking your mind map straight from concept to practical implementation.
- Mind maps are also great presentation tools. Save your Mind Map template as a permanent record of your brainstorming process, or to add to at a later date. Create a presentation in Whiteboards to loop relevant stakeholders into your team’s creative process and explain the results of your brainstorming.
When facilitating a mind mapping meeting, encourage team members to contribute freely. Map expansion has no set limits, so the only guiding rule is that sub-topics must relate back to their parent topics.
Redundancies may emerge. A sub-topic may appear in more than one spot on the mind map. This is actually a good thing. It helps the team visualize the relevancy and overlap of different issues, and perhaps identify important themes. Keep an open mind and allow the mind map process to reveal patterns that lead to more creative solutions.
When do teams use a Mind Map template?
Explore the power of mind maps with these quick mind map examples.
Mind maps create such an open playing field that you might be wondering where to start. Consider some specific business scenarios to see how mind maps can support the needs of different departments. Use these Mind Map template examples as inspiration for creating mind maps with your team:
How can your messaging best promote your product? What do customers need to know about the product to grab and hold their interest? Start with the product, feature, or product line in the middle of the Mind Map template. Have team members contribute the product’s most exciting attributes as sub-topics.
Build out your sub-topics by attaching descriptors you might use to promote the product. Don’t think too hard. The best messaging is simple and straight to the point. If the product is easy to use, interactive, builds online community, or helps the user manage their daily work, let the customer know specifically why and how.
What are you looking for in your next team hire? Use a mind map to clarify exactly what kind of team member you’re seeking. Label your central topic “ideal candidate” and list the candidate’s important attributes as sub-topics. These can be specific competencies or broader character qualities.
Ask which sub-topics can be clarified further. If you’re seeking a good communicator, what does that entail in this specific position? If you’re looking for experience in software design, which programs? How much experience? Which specific proficiencies? Cover all your bases, then use your mind map to write a job ad. Save your department the time and trouble of sifting through too many applications by including the exact information candidates need to know to decide whether to apply.
What are the main components in the product you’re building, and how do they break down further? Visualize an application by mapping out its component features. Add the broadest features as the first set of sub-topics. Try to capture the entire product on the map in as much detail as the team needs.
Save your mind map for future product brainstorming sessions. When you’re building a similar product or feature down the line, copy the map, leave in the relevant fields, and edit the rest to reflect the new scenario.
How will your app or website’s front-end design appeal to the end user? Create a robust target user profile by adding “[Product Name] user” to the central topic field. List your end user’s major demographic attributes in the sub-topic fields.
Brainstorm freely to attach visual themes to your sub-topics. Use color theory, design elements, and typographic considerations. To get even more creative, treat the map as a visioning board by inserting images or video that capture the feel of the customer persona. Use the finished map to discuss and plan your design.
What’s the big picture view of your next project? Envision a cross-functional project and what roles each department or team will play in its execution. Add the various teams as sub-topics and invite a representative from each team to the meeting. Discuss the work that the various teams will be doing, and attach the main work item areas as smaller sub-topics.
Where will teams need to collaborate or wait for other teams’ work to be done? Visualize cross-functional dependencies using different field colors or other visual markers. Use the map to move you towards more detailed project planning, and save the map as a guide for future projects of a similar type.
Is your team facing a general problem that doesn’t fit neatly into one area of focus? Brainstorm solutions by placing a brief description of your problem in the central topic field of the Mind Map template. Have the team suggest more specific areas of concern as sub-topics.
This can be a good exercise in troubleshooting vaguely articulated issues like “team morale” or “communication breakdowns” or “feeling overworked.” How do these issues manifest in the day-to-day? What problem areas emerge? Find specific weak points in the general workflow and address them with a concrete plan (or plans).
Has your team created a mind map that other stakeholders need to see? Clean up your map for presentation, making it as visually clear as possible. Use Whiteboards’ Frames tool to create a presentation, then invite others to the whiteboard and show them your work.
Have you created a mind map to think through a complex business situation? Present your map to your team in a relevant meeting. Collaborate to expand the map, or use it as a starting point for discussing the issue at hand.
Mind maps are for everyone.
Mind maps can help any department, team, or person gather ideas and put them into a diagram that is easy to understand. Try out Whiteboards’ Mind Map template today to collaborate with your team and unleash your creative potential. All Whiteboards templates integrate deeply with Jira to keep your brainstorming synced with your project management.
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