Storyboards (as defined by Wikipedia) are a series of illustrations displayed in sequence for the purpose of previsualizing an animated or live-action film. In recent year, businesses have adapted them as a means to plan ad campaigns, visualize business processes and many other applications. So it’s not surprising that mind mapping software can be used to help businesspeople to "storyboard" complex documents and reports.
In the Mindjet Blog, Tim Bombosch reports on how he used MindManager to save him (and his company) 60-80 hours of work on a technical documentation project that he recently finished. His comments on the benefits of utilizing mind mapping software to "storyboard" this complex project are quite instructive:
"Creating complex documents such as policy guidelines, reports, project plans, marketing requirements documents or technical documentation is hard work. Not counting the research, thought, and actual writing, the mechanics of producing a document is typically about 30% of your total effort," he explains. "I had to interview my subject matter experts, gather lots of data, understand the technology, consult with my end users, create procedures and validate my results. All of that work doesn’t include the time I need to write and produce a document."
Utilizing MindManager, Tim was able to simultaneously gather and organize his source information, and streamline the ultimate process of writing a server technical manual. "By using MindManager to gather and organize my information, to turn my map into a ‘storyboard’ for a large and complex document, I am able to significantly shorten the time it takes to author a publishable document. Not only that, but by freeing myself of the mechanics of authoring during the early stages of my project, I could focus more of my attention on gathering good data, improving my thought processes, and validating the information with my intended audience. Better output, less time."
I like these last comments. Because he didn’t have to worry as much about the mechanics of writing a manual from the mountain of information he had gathered, he was able to focus more attention on refining his thought processes, validating the accuracy of key pieces of information and other "front end" tasks that are critical to the outcome – a high-quality finished product. What’s remarkable is that in most cases, the quality of output is directly proportional to the time invested. In other words, a smaller amount of time invested usually yields a poor quality of finished product. Conversely, more time generally (but not always) results in a higher-quality product. At least that’s the conventional wisdom. Tim has managed to accomplish the seemingly impossible on his technical documentation project – better output and less time. I think that’s pretty compelling!
Please note: This isn’t intended to be a commercial for MindManager – you can accomplish much the same thing with almost any mind mapping software program. The idea here is to open your eyes to what’s possible – tackling a large, multi-faceted project – with mind mapping software, using Tim’s experience as a great example. It’s also one of the few examples I’ve seen where a user of mind mapping software has actually quantified the savings it provided on a specific project.