As a member of a tech team, breaking complicated ideas down into simple terms that anyone can understand is a key part of your job. It might seem like an intangible skill, but if you take a moment to think about it, you’ll realize it’s central to your success in every project.
One of the most powerful ways to break complex topics into their most basic form is by using visual tools like mind maps. Mind maps can be used in endless ways, helping tech teams visualize concepts and ideas, brainstorm solutions, organize information, and communicate more effectively.
Mind maps visually organize information into a visual format, separating every strand of a central concept into discrete areas. Tech teams use mind maps in all kinds of ways. Many teams adopt mind maps in the project planning stage, using them for tasks like plotting out the different stages of a development process or pulling together a website sitemap. Other teams rely on mind maps to display processes and clarify workflows during projects.
Regardless of how your team uses mind maps, there’s no question they’re a powerful tool. In days gone by, it was easy enough to create a mind map on the office whiteboard. But today, with many organizations embracing remote and hybrid work environments, things aren’t so straightforward. Creating a mind map that remote teams can use demands the sophisticated use of online mind map software.
Cacoo: powerful digital mind map software
Cacoo, a popular software development diagramming platform, offers tech teams a powerful yet easy-to-use solution for creating and sharing digital mind maps. With a wide range of features that help teams generate ideas, inspire creativity, and organize their plans visually, Cacoo helps tech teams unleash their full potential.
The platform has built-in mind map templates that make it easy for teams to get started. From there, Cacoo’s intuitive interface allows users to create and customize every element of their mind map with real-time communication tools that enable seamless collaboration between team members.
It’s the perfect solution for tech teams, and today, we’re going to walk you through exactly how you can start using Cacoo to create, manage, and share mind maps across your company.
If you’d like, you can start creating your own mind map for free as you read through this tutorial. Just activate your free Cacoo account today and follow along as we walk you through every step of the process.
Mind maps in Cacoo: a more efficient way to work
There are many science-backed benefits to using mind maps: improved information recall, heightened productivity, higher levels of creativity, and more. These benefits don’t just exist in theory – they make an active difference in how your team works.
Teams that actively use mind maps tend to perform better than those that don’t. By explaining complex projects simply and visually, teams can build wider support for their work and unlock access to better resources. Teams that use mind maps are more organized, proactively considering every element of a project before starting work. And they’re more creative, coming up with ingenious solutions nobody else has thought of yet.
However, there’s a big difference between the personal mind maps you jot down on scratch paper at your desk and the team-wide mind maps required to plan a major project successfully. Those types of mind maps demand a custom-built mind mapping software platform like Cacoo.
By using mind maps in Cacoo to plan and manage projects, tech teams can unlock a wide range of benefits, including:
- A range of pre-built templates suitable for all kinds of development and operational scenarios
- Intuitive library of mind map shapes, connectors, and other elements that help users communicate complex ideas and relationships
- Real-time mind mapping collaboration and feedback tools, including multi-user editing, in-app video and chat, comments, and notifications
- Seamless integrations with popular tools, including Slack, Google Drive, and Dropbox
- Streamlined sharing and exports in a variety of formats, including PNG, PDF, SVG, PPT, and more
- User-friendly interface that makes mind mapping a fun project for teams to work on together
In our digital world, there is no shortage of online mind mapping solutions that tech teams can use. So, what makes Cacoo different?
In Cacoo, mind mapping isn’t some add-on feature: it’s the platform’s entire raison d’etre. In many project management solutions, mind mapping is an afterthought; in Cacoo, it’s front and center of the user experience.
That makes for a more intuitive, customizable platform built entirely around mind mapping and other visual diagramming techniques. Simply put, Cacoo is the right tool for the job: a tailor-made mind mapping solution to help your team get more done.
How to create mind maps in Cacoo
Cacoo makes it easy to create mind maps with various pre-built templates and powerful customization tools that help teams create bespoke mind maps for any subject. Below is a step-by-step walkthrough of creating your first mind map in Cacoo.
Step 1: Information gathering
Before you put pen to paper (or finger to mouse in this scenario), you must ensure you have all the information you need to complete your mind map. By researching the scope of your project of time, you’ll lay the groundwork for a smooth mind mapping process that ensures high levels of accuracy.
Step 2: Pick a template or start from scratch
In Cacoo, you can either use our pre-built mind map template or create your own mind map from scratch. To select the mind map template, simply click on the Template icon on your Cacoo dashboard, then select the Mind Map Template from the Planning & Management tab.
A mind map template identical to the one below will be displayed on your screen. From here, you can customize whichever elements you’d like. If you’re looking for a different type of template, browse the dozens of templates available in the Cacoo template library – you might find one more suited to the mind map you’re working on.
Alternatively, select + Create diagram from your Nulab dashboard to create your mind map from scratch.
Step 3: Organize your mind map by adding new nodes and branches
Once you’ve created the basic framework for your mind map, it’s time to start customizing it for the exact needs of your project. Add new nodes and branches to your mind map as your ideas develop. Later on, you’ll invite team members to contribute their ideas too.
If you’re using the mind map template, you’ll find a series of pre-built elements that you can drag and drop onto your mind map. If you’re building from scratch, use the toolbar on the left of the screen to add shapes, connecting lines, and text.
Pro tip: you can select entire sections of your mind map at once by clicking and dragging your cursor over a particular area. This allows you to quickly move, delete, or duplicate entire sections of your mind map, rather than working element by element.
Step 4: Customize your mind map and add your own style
Now it’s time to make your mind map yours. Switch up the color schemes to match your brand, add text formatting to draw attention to particular areas of your mind map, or add your business’s logo.
Cacoo makes it easy to customize elements of your mind map. Just select the element or group of elements that you’d like to edit. A formatting bar will pop up with options to edit the element shape, color, text style, and more.
Step 5: Add comments, notes, attachments, and links
Sometimes, you need to add some context to ensure everyone understands your mind map. In these instances, adding comments, notes, attachments, and even hyperlinks to your mind map go a long way toward helping everyone understand the information you’re trying to convey.
In Cacoo, you can perform all these tasks from the toolbar on the left of your mind map. Comments can be added anywhere on the diagram, as can sticky notes and different attachments. You can tag team members to ask for their feedback.
Hyperlinks can be added to any element in your mind map. These can be used in various ways, such as to add a link to an external resource or a competitor mentioned in your mind map. To add a hyperlink to an element, simply select that element, then click on the Link icon.
Congratulations! You’ve just created your first mind map in Cacoo. It’s a simple, intuitive process that helps you better organize your thoughts and projects. But to maximize Cacoo’s impact on your team, you should embrace Cacoo’s powerful collaboration tools.
Collaborating on mind maps in Cacoo
While mind maps are a useful way to map out your thoughts, they’re most effective when a whole team uses them to collaborate. For any given project you work on, there will likely be team members from different departments of your organization: software developers, designers, marketers, and so on.
Collecting input from each stakeholder is vital to ensuring the project has a successful outcome. Without a platform that connects everyone, that can be extremely difficult to do. Projects grind to a halt in the limbo of an email chain, but they live and breathe when they’re organized in a central hub that everyone uses daily.
Cacoo is that hub, with seamless collaboration tools that enable teams to work together on mind maps. Get started by inviting team members and other stakeholders (such as external partners) to join your mind map in Cacoo. To add new users, click Share and specify the collaborators you want to add.
You can add new users using the name on their Cacoo account or email address, specifying whether each person you invite has owner, editor, or view-only access to your diagram. Diagrams can also be shared via a custom URL, which can be made public.
Once you’ve added all your contributors, it’s time to share your ideas. Using Cacoo’s built-in comment and live chat features, teams can work together in real time, regardless of where team members are based.
To start a live chat, click the Chat icon and enter your message. If it’s easier to hop on a quick video call to discuss something, there’s no need to switch to a different platform. Just tap the Video icon and start a new video call. Participants can share their screens during the call, or you can see each contributor’s cursor in real time as they work on your mind map.
It’s often helpful to understand how your mind map has evolved over time and reflect on your team’s various decisions throughout the process. To view the revision history of your mind map, click the History icon in the bottom right corner of your diagram.
Cacoo also makes it easy to present your mind map to other people. To present your mind maps directly from Cacoo, click the Play icon to enter presentation mode. If you’d prefer to export your mind map, click the Export/Print icon and choose your preferred format. These icons can be found in the top right corner of your screen.
Popular use cases for Cacoo mind maps
There are endless possibilities when it comes to the ways that tech teams can use mind maps to streamline workflows and improve productivity. Here are a few of the most popular mind mapping use cases we see from Cacoo users:
- Project planning: mind maps help to clarify the scope, goals, and milestones in any project, helping align teams around a shared project plan.
- Product design: brainstorm directly in Cacoo by creating mind maps to generate new ideas, explore user needs, map customer journeys, and more. When it’s time to move to a product wireframe, you can do that in Cacoo too.
- Feature development: break down the tasks that need to be completed to develop a new feature and assign individuals, resources, and timelines to each task.
- Software testing: plan test cases, flag bugs and issues, prioritize remediations, and report on your team’s results directly in a mind map.
The only real limit to what you can create in Cacoo is your own creativity. Cacoo is endlessly customizable, and no matter what your mind mapping goals are, Cacoo has the features to help you achieve them.
Integrating mind maps with other tools in Cacoo
Integrating mind maps with your business’s existing workflows is critical to ensuring high levels of adoption among your colleagues. When you can automate routine tasks and integrate a new software tool with your existing tech stack, it’s much easier for your team members to change their behavior and start using a new mind mapping tool.
That’s why Cacoo comes with a wide range of built-in integrations. You can connect Cacoo with a variety of software tools that your team already uses every day, including Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Atlassian Confluence, and more. This ensures your team remains up-to-date, even if they didn’t log in to Cacoo that day.
Integrations can be set up in just a few simple steps. In the example below, we will walk you through setting up the Slack integration, which sends notifications to team members when their diagrams are updated in Cacoo.
First, navigate to your Organizational Profile and select Settings. Next, click the Integrations tab and select Slack. Follow the prompts on the screen to connect your Slack workspace to Cacoo, selecting the Slack channel you’d like updates to be sent to and specifying the activities that should trigger Slack notifications.
Cacoo doesn’t just export data – you can also import data. Setting up integrations with tools like Google Drive and Box allows users to import images directly from these cloud-based platforms, making customizing your mind maps easier than ever.
Start creating mind maps in Cacoo today
A well-crafted mind map, or series of mind maps, can be an indispensable asset for teams at tech companies. Mind maps provide a simple, effective way to manage the requirements of complex, high-stakes projects. They’re a tried-and-tested way to make sense of your ideas, rallying everyone around a shared vision of success that sets clear expectations for the project.
Cacoo provides tech teams with a digitally native mind map experience packed with customization and collaboration features. By using Cacoo, teams can streamline their workflows, unlocking improved productivity that boosts every project’s potential for success.