Really Simple Project Management

Perhaps a 15 years ago I attended a project management course. The one thing that sticks in my memory is the really simple project management system we were shown. It went like this:

  • Write all the activities and their owners on to a Post-it® Note.  You could complicated things by using different colour Post-it® Notes for different people.
  • Really Simple Project Management - 4 Zone BoardCreate a board with four boxes:
    • To do
    • In Progress
    • Complete
    • Attention Required
  • Now add the Post Post-it® Notes to the To Do box in the 4 box board.  Do I need to explain what to do next? ……. No.
  • Everything in the top 3 boxes are deemed to be in control.  Whenever an item appears in the “Attention Required” box, everyone in the project team gives it their attention.

Now assuming the Post-it® Notes don’t fall off (best to use the real thing on a suitable surface), you will have a clear overview of the state of the project otherwise known as a dashboard.

Really Simple Project Management Guide
Here is how you can replicate the process with MindManager:Please download this map and read the instructions.There are some hints at the bottom of the map about how you can make the process more complicated if you need to.

Really Simple Project Management Hard StyleIn addition here are two MindManager templates to download for a Really Simple Project Map.

About Andrew Wilcox

Andrew is an experienced user of MindManager who shares his knowledge and advice for free here. And provides commercial training and consulting on how to exploit MindManager and other mind mapping software applications in business, organisations and for individuals at Cabre For more information about Andrew please visit his Google + profile.

11 Responses to “Really Simple Project Management”

  1. […] colleague Andrew Wilcox has recently blogged about using Mindmapping as a tool to support what he called “Really Simple Project […]

  2. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Ah! Missed this comment now fixed.

  3. Sergio says:

    none of the downloaded maps is not working – there are not maps behind these links, but some pieces of HTML-code!

  4. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Hi Sergio,

    Thanks for telling me. I am Getting the same result. Will find out why and fix.

  5. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Wierd a folder name was wrong on my server and htaccess had been recently updated but not by me!

    The files are downloading now.

  6. Robin Capper says:

    The MindManager 2012 Analysis View would work well for this method. Set up the grid with your options, add tasks and assign

  7. PM Hut says:

    Hi Andrew,

    that’s an excellent post simplifying project management to just a few sentences. I think it’ll be of great benefit to those who are looking to enter the realm of project management, and that’s why I would like to republish it on PM Hut (under the beginners category where many would-be project managers will benefit from it.

  8. Andrew Wilcox says:

    Hi PM Hut

    You have my permission assuming there will be links back to here.

    Assuming you follow the normal pattern on your guest blog here are my credentials.

    Andrew Wilcox managed factory projects for twenty five years in multi-nationals including Unilever. He used various project management tools and quickly realised that if you understand the planning model and exploit it, you can have a quieter life as a project manager. You can justify your budget, explain why a change causes that to happen and get things done when you say you will. If you don’t understand the fundamentals, stick to Post-it®s (which can form part of an excellent simple project management tool) because an invalid model is worse than a Post-it® falling off the wall! He now focuses on helping others to exploit mind mapping software in a variety of applications often project related.

    Cheers, Andrew

  9. Swetha says:

    This concept looks to me like a task management software, as it complete targets on task tracking and completion. Project management tools does lot more than this isn’t it?

    For example: we use Replicon for project management, whereas it also does time, expense, bills and invoice management. I understand that it also does resource management and professional services automation.

    PM tools normally are not meant just for task management, but managing everything in a project.

  10. Andrew Wilcox says:

    I did give the clue in the title “Really Simple Project Management”. I agree the tools offered by Mindjet are for simple projects, personal and group task management (with Project Director) and creating dashboards for overviews with links to more sophisticated tools or data supplied by them.

    A project is something with beginning, an end and a goal. Tasks are part of a project. You can manage “projects” with Outlook, Excel (some nutters have probably used PowerPoint) and Mindjet but it is horses for courses. The tool(s) has to be choosen based on: scale and complexity, tools which all the team can access and are trained to use, and as the projects get larger and more sophisticated, specialised “pilots” for MS Projects et al, the accounts, client communications, etc.

    Personally I think Mindjet lost the middle ground when they bought and dumbed down the JVC Gantt add in. As a project manager up to that point I had something which replicated PertMaster Advance, which I used for costing, managing and reporting on the instrument-electrical component of chemical factory projects in the 1980s.

    I also used MindManager as a layer above MS Project and the spreadsheet tools of a 50 person project management company. It was great for rapidly navigating between sources of knowledge.

    Replicon has it’s place, Mindjet has it’s place and although I never smoked, fag packets were useful task management tools in the last century. I suppose their equivalent now is the mobile device.

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