I"ve used some mind mapping tools before (I can't remember what they were called), but I found that the web-like organization of ideas is hard to keep in my mind all at once. It's much easier for me to navigate mentally through a traditional hierarchy, so I ditched the mind-mapping tools.
I use that at times (tools like mindmanager or axon), especially when I need to produce some kind of report from very unstructured data.
I'm using MindManager software (see http://www.mindjet.com) dayly and like it a lot. It's one of the most useful programs I ever had. I'm using it for everything - note taking, planning, software design, to prepare presentations (it exports to PowerPoint) and articles, etc. Give it a try, they have a trial version downloadable.
I use Visio for diagramming, but Inspiration ( www.inspiration.com ) for mind mapping. It's quick and gets the job done.
Speaking from experience of using paper maps while
I read this study guide with an interesting take on note taking during class. You draw a diagonal line down the paper, and that's the main topic. Then from the middle you start a branch structure with sub and sub sub topics, etc. Each topic would be written on the line as it branches out from the center.
Check out Tony Buzan's books on amazon. I saw the original BBC series way back in 1974-75 and used the method regularly for note taking in lectures and project planning. If you have the time its very worthwhile.
MarkTAW- that's called a fishbone diagram.
Tony's book is also on my wish list. =)
I am using it regular for about a year. Really good for making presentations, requirements analysis and documentation. Lot of my current projects documentation is in the form of Mindmaps.
I am using MindMapper Prov3.5, MindMapper is a mind mapping sofware product for the PC and has a companian PDA version for the PALM as well. I find that MindMapper is easy to learn and use with more feachers over mindmanager so I switched.
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