Is there a secret to taking great meeting minutes? What are the most important things to consider when creating a project plan? Or a business plan for that matter? What information should be included, what shouldn’t? If you’ve never had to do one of the above before, the whole process could come across as quite daunting. But, what we all want to know is — what’s the most effective technique? No point in reinventing the wheel. Can someone give us the CliffsNotes version? Yes. We (MindMeister) can!
We recently posted an article about the re-launch of Templates for MindMeister. What is a MindMeister template you ask? Well it’s exactly like a normal template, only in mind map form. It’s an outline, a plan if you will, that guides you through the process of creating all sorts of business documents.
It saves you time. We’ve done all the research and created the plan so that you don’t have to. All that’s left for you to do is populate it with information relevant to you, and also customize it to suit your needs. That way, you use your time more efficiently and where it matters.
A template created on MindMeister is a living document, that means it can be edited and shared in real time, all updates are instantaneous and everyone involved can stay on the same page.
Use a Template For Your Meeting Minutes
Taking effective meeting minutes is easy if you plan ahead, stick to some important ground rules, and use a well-thought-out template.
Meeting minutes serve a dual purpose of keeping a record of topics that were discussed and noting down next steps.
First off, note when and where the meeting will take place. We’ve added in a topic solely for stating the date, time and location. It is also important to indicate who attended the meeting and also who didn’t. You can use the attendees section for this.
Like this Mind Map?
It can be found in our new template library, accessible from the MindMeister dashboardGet started now
Don’t forget to share your mind map with all attendees ahead of the meeting. That way, everyone will be able to access a visual representation of what’s been discussed, make their updates and share their notes in real-time.
The bigger and more complicated a project becomes, the more essential it is to keep track of what’s been discussed in the past. Perhaps a key stakeholder forgot that he or she approved your changes months ago, or you have to look up an important decision that was made during the meeting. Keeping a detailed record of your meeting will prevent something like this from curtailing your projects progress.
What’s great about using an online tool for this purpose is that you are not bound to two hours of searching through tons of folders and emails on your computer for a file containing old meeting minutes. A simple link to a Google document or previous mind map will do the trick.
All your meeting mind maps can be stored in your MindMeister account, which you can access via a web browser or from your mobile devices. Ta-da!
Next comes the agenda. Maybe the last meeting kicked-off the project and set goals. The next meeting is perhaps the forum to discuss progress and review which tasks have been completed. Include the key items up for discussion and feedback required in the agenda section. Then make sure everyone sticks to the agenda.
Action items is where you can outline and list everyone’s tasks. What’s more, you can assign the tasks listed directly to the person responsible (the mind map needs to be shared with that person first).
You can set the priority of each task (e.g. 1 = high), add due dates and additional notes, and show the task’s progress by making use of icons (the little squares in the image below).
And finally, for all those bits of information that need to be mentioned but don’t really fit into one of the categories mentioned above, we’ve added in a notes section.
To Template or Not to Template Your Project Plan?
Project managers are often faced with the immense task of turning a grand idea into an actionable plan. And, if that isn’t hard enough, they’re often working with little budget and have an unrealistic deadline. Something along the lines of: “I want to launch a new product tomorrow — make it happen”. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration but you get the gist.
But, after creating your first thirty project plans, you come to realize that they all bare the same attributes. They are all some form of the sacred project management triangle. A delicate balance of trying to create something of quality within the project scope and allocated budget, in a reasonable amount of time. This is exactly what makes a project plan the perfect candidate for a mind map template. Here is an example of how the template looks completely filled out:
Start by writing the title of your project into the root topic located at the center of the map. Branching off center are the first-level topics: cost, scope and time. These topics are then divided further.
Cost and scope
Cost is where you can outline your direct and indirect costs. You can also attach quotes from both internal and external vendors, the monthly or yearly budget sheets or links to relevant documents. That way, everyone can see where you’re at in terms of budget at a glance.
Scope is where you can get down to the nitty gritty. It is where you document your project’s goals and ultimately deliverables. There is a little bit of an overlap between the sections, so we’ve used relationship arrows (in green) to highlight this.
Time and milestones
Time has been divided up into various milestones, which in turn can be split up into specific tasks. As mentioned previously, you can also assign the tasks directly to the person responsible so long as the mind map has been shared with them.
Just like in the meeting minutes template, you can add the completion status icon in as well. If a bottleneck occurs during the planning process, you can then pinpoint where and make the necessary changes.
Mind maps are great for maintaining an overview of your project and its progress, but may not be the ideal solution for collaborative task management. This is why MindMeister integrates well with the online task management tool MeisterTask. You can easily drag and drop defined tasks into the MeisterTask footer located at the bottom of your mind map. This will export your tasks directly into a connected project board.
If you like this template, you can find it on your MindMeister dashboard under templates, or alternatively, you could copy this one by simply clicking copy.
The Perfect Business Org Chart
Been putting off revamping your company org chart? Wait, back up a bit… do you remember where your company org chart is? No? Good news, we’ve got a template for that too! And, because it lives in the cloud, you can update it as and when necessary — change in job roles? Add new hires? It will be the only org chart you’ll ever need.
Bonus: You can also add contact details, email addresses, links to website profiles, and of course photos. There, the perfect organogram never looked so good.
We waste so much time can be creating and formatting documents. Especially nowadays, our changes often need to be made and reflected instantly. Don’t waste time starting from scratch, and never update countless versions of the same file again. Instead, let us do the legwork for you. Use templates — now accessible straight from your MindMeister dashboard.