Expressing some love for mindmaps

The smarter people amongst us may have found out ages ago: Mindmaps are just great.

I lived through my own private mindmap-epiphany when I saw a consultant taking notes from a day-long meeting in the form of a mindmap: he actually produced something that had structure, captured all the necessary content, and even had presentable style. My own notes kind of fell apart when the discussion was meandering from topic A to topic B, coming back to A via C, D, E, F to M, and Y.

Following that experience, I tried to use maps for taking notes during meetings, interviews, and as the first phase for writing documents, and for me, it flows very naturally. The main improvement is that structure comes by itself. You may find that a branch of ideas belongs somewhere else, and just push it over: mindmaps support refactoring.

I currently use FreeMind – it’s free, works well enough, and uses a very simple XML document format that can easily be transformed into something else if necessary.

The remaining problem is that I need to type on your laptop, which gives the people I talk with the uneasy feeling that I’m just checking my e-mail or tweeting or whatever I might do. Would someone get me a big tablet, please?


Christian is a software architect/developer. He lives in Germany, reads a lot, and likes cycling.

Posted in Tools

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