Jamie Nast, writing in her Idea Mapping Blog, recently shared a case history of a group of 35 IT project leaders, who would meet weekly to review the major IT projects happening within their organization. Each week, a team of 4 people spent 2 days compiling an 85-page status document. By the time the IT project leaders met, the "live" data was already 2 days out of date.
The solution, developed by Denny Sikkila at Mindjet, was a dynamic "dashboard" map, which links directly to all of the sources of data and eliminates over 20 hours of staff work per week. "Today the focus of the meeting is on analyzing the data instead of making excuses and debating out-of-date information. With the click of the mouse, tons of data can be accessed quickly and easily. Instead of reviewing a hard copy picture, files are accessed in real time. This allows for the ability to drill down to the specific tasks, hours, predecessors, etc. They can now make informed decisions right on the spot, because they have access to all the correct data," she reports.
What is a "dashboard?" Here is how the Enterprise Dashboard website defines it: "An enterprise dashboard allows at-a-glance visualization of company health and monitoring of key performance indicators. Simple to understand and high in ROI, these executive dashboards are becoming 'must-haves' for all enterprises."
Because most mind mapping programs enable you to link to files, web pages and data sources, they are a terrific tool for building and utilizing dynamic dashboards. Several of the leading programs, including Mindjet's MindManager, actually allow you to pull live data (cell ranges) from Excel spreadsheets and display them in your map. Very cool!
To see a copy of the dashboard that Jamie describes in this blog post, please click here (please note: This is a MindManager map, so you'll need the program to open it).