A topic links to the another topic.

(Watch the Tutorial)

Project management can get trivial and nasty. Tons of details, complexly linked resources, and interchanging client priorities are all but just part of the pain points.

The key to keeping even multiple projects under control is to hold all stakeholders accountable. And the best way to achieve that is to show them the information clearly and visually. You can accomplish it through many approaches, XMind is one of them.

Below, we will introduce some handy features for general project management. We also published a guide on how to fix mistakes on visual mapping. And, you can take a look of the post, Cracking the Agile Project Management, interrogate your teams’ agile process.

Step 1: Have the big-picture view of your project portfolio

To have the big picture of multiple projects, you can use a project dashboard to put all the information in the same place. Main information includes:

  • Project Name;
  • Manager/Task Assignee Name;
  • Current Progress;
  • Next Action in High Priority;
  • Next Action in Low Priority;
  • Documents
The project dashboard matrix in XMind Zen

Project Dashboard Empty – XMind Zen

Project Dashboard matrix in XMind 8

Project Dashboard in XMind 8

Inside the document column, you can directly drag and drop files there to attach related files.

But just listing out information is not enough, we have to visualize the workflow between project to prepare for process improvement. Some handy features like Topic Alignment, multi-select, and Copy Style are helpful for flowchart making.

The right click menu of multiple floating topics.

Align Floating Topic in XMind Zen

Right-click menu of floating topics in XMind 8.

Align floating topics in XMind 8

*Pitfall:* Confusing marker system. Remember naming each marker used, and keeping the same system across files. Mixed usage will lower the efficiency in teamwork.

Step 2: Review the resource allocation

To walk through resource allocation project by project, you can use New Sheet From Topic to put down the task information one by one.

New Sheet From Topic in XMind Zen.

New Sheet From Topic in XMind Zen

New Sheet From Topic in XMind 8.

New Sheet From Topic in XMind 8

You can use the Task Info panel to insert typical resource information in version 8. But in version Zen, you can only use markers to represent task info.

Task Info Panel in XMind 8.

Task Info Panel in XMind 8

After one by one walk-thru, you then can go back to the project dashboard and see how the resource allocation looks like in your project portfolio.

*Pitfall:* Hopping between projects. Multitasking seems good, but it only works when you switch in the right time. Try to finish inserting task information inside one project before jumping to the next.

Step 3: Brainstorm all the constraints and figure out bottleneck

With the project dashboard and workflow in view, create a solution diagram in the same sheet.

Try to submerge yourself in “focus mode.” Put aside any distractions and set the timer to rock your mind about constraints. In 8, you can use Brainstorm Mode to put down ideas in a set time. In Zen, click Zen Mode, and you will be in full-screen editing with only the most necessary features.

Zen Mode

Zen Mode

Brainstorm Mode in XMind 8.

Brainstorm Mode in XMind 8

The goal is simple, listing out as many problems as possible in limited time.

After that, you can start to organize the points and visualize their connections. Try to find out the bottleneck of the project and work out solutions.

At the end of this phase, you should be ready with an improved workflow and adjusted resource allocation

*Pitfall:* Going too far in brainstorming. Try your best to stay in time and remember your goal is to improve workflow and adjust resource schedule.

Step 4: Visualize and finalize the resource allocation

In XMind 8 only, you can check directly in GANTT chart view after resource allocation. In this view, you can scrutinize your schedule and fix possible problems.

Gantt Chart Mode.

Gantt Chart Mode

*Pitfall:* Starting directly in GANTT chart. It is better to finish the framework of allocation during phase 3, as that will have the problem and a big picture in mind. Also, the GANTT view is better for viewing and minor twisting rather than major changes.

Step 5: Make your pitch presentation

Now is the time to get consensus, present your schedule to your group! In v8, there are two modes of presentation, Walk Through and Slide By Slide.

  • Slide by Slide:

    Slide-based Mode in XMind 8.

    Slide-based Mode in XMind 8

  • Walk Through:

    Walk-thru Mode in XMind 8.

    Walk-thru Mode in XMind 8

In vZen, you can present in Zen Mode. We have a detailed guide on how to make an excellent presentation on Zen.

Step 6: Print out the schedule for daily reminders

In v8, XMind supports printing the GANTT chart on multiple pages and exporting the GANTT chart to MS Project, PDF, and image

Print GANTT chart - Image 1.

Print GANTT Chart – Image 1

Print Gantt Chart Image 2.

Print GANTT Chart – Image 2.

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In vZen, you can print out project dashboard or export to MS Word to share with your team. We have a detailed post on sharing XMind files to your groups. You can also check a post on how to transfer between devices.

Last Resort: Ask for help

Yes. The final-but-not-least step, asking for help. Meeting deadline is hard, and surely we should not use as an excuse for being late on progress. So asking for a delay or more resources to help is definitely a last resort. But doing it is not only for your good but might also for the sake of the whole team. The key is to get it under control and keep on improving in effort estimations.

Summary

Steps include: Create the big picture of project portfolio -> Review the Resource Allocation -> Brainstorm Constraints and Figure Out Bottlenecks -> Visualize and Finalise the Resource Allocation -> Make Your Pitch Presentation -> Print Out Schedule for Daily Reminder.

You can also download the template that contains the project dashboard, flowchart, and GANTT chart (8 only feature) below.

Template for 8.

Template for Zen.

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