Welcome!

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Blog Feed Post

Mind Maps: “Nonlinear Systems Benefit from Nonlinear Documentation”

The definitive written work on mind mapping is “The Mind Map Book” by Tony Buzan

Editor’s Note: This CTOvision.com post was written by  , a highly regarded security professional and inventor in the UK with a focus on design and implementation of multilevel and cross-domain IT security (“MLS”)-bg.

I was first introduced to mind mapping a few years ago, when some colleagues I was having email discussions with about security in Grid environments (and very early Cloud environments, although they weren’t called Clouds at the time) started sending me diagrams by email rather than narrative text, involving little constellations of thought bubbles arranged in linked hierarchies.

Back then, I didn’t really get it, and carried on replying in narrative form. However, in the last year or so, I’ve started to see the value in this form of recording ideas, especially once I hit on the idea in the title of this posting. In practice, I’m now finding that when an idea arrives fully-formed, there are so many implications for associated systems and ideas that trying to record the idea (especially if it’s the small hours of the morning) in narrative form just doesn’t work, especially if I want to make notes quickly; there are some classes of idea where trying to impose a linear narrative form on their description is either artificial or actively detracts from the clarity of the explanation, by making it more difficult to see where some things are parallelisable, or where multiple dependencies exist between elements, what they are. This, in my view, makes a well-constructed mind map far more information-dense than a piece of narrative – not only are the elements of an idea included, but also how they fit together, and it all goes on one sheet or screen.

I’ve recorded and developed most of my Cloud thinking in mind map form (and will be posting some threat model thinking, shortly); I originally started with FreeMind, which works nicely on desktop systems, but my favourite app these days is iThoughts HD for iPad – not only is my iPad more convenient to keep to hand for when an idea shows up, but I find the direct touch-based interface really lends itself to mind map editing in ways that a trackpad and pointer don’t match.

The definitive written work on mind mapping is “The Mind Map Book” by Tony Buzan (BBC / Pearson, 2010), the guy who came up with mind mapping in the first place; this showed me that, while the fundamental “vocabulary” of mind maps in terms of a central idea with branches off it tracking lines of thinking is common to all mind maps, other apparent “mind map vocabulary” items such as branch colour, shape and clockwise position relative to the central idea or a preceding node on a branch, are more like Twitter hashtags in that there is no common dictionary of them and their meaning can differ between authors. Still, it appears they are typically done this way to appeal to the latent synaesthesia in the adult mind; while we might not remember an idea “cold”, we might get to it based on remembering its colour or relative location, for example.

While the book suggests a number of uses for mind maps – and the iMindMap tool from ThinkBuzan, Tony’s own company, bristles with features for making mind maps the core of presentations, project plans and other necessary things – there are some areas where I think they could be employed further, especially in documentation. While it can be argued that the mind map came first, a mind map can also be viewed as an exploded Hypercard stack.

The “MyFry” app version of the second volume of Stephen Fry‘s autobiography is driven by a user interface which is effectively a version of a mind map, by topic. Extending this, I can see conventional mind maps being usefully employed instead of Contents pages, with each branch element carrying a page number as well as its idea. This could work not only for detailed software documentation (where a map could show dependencies between functions, for example), but also for any highly-nonlinear system such as – and we’re back to the start of my journey, here – a Cloud…

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that's no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, explored how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He expla...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
You know you need the cloud, but you're hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You're looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you're concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies. What do you do?
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Sanjeev Sharma Joins June 5-7, 2018 @DevOpsSummit at @Cloud Expo New York Faculty. Sanjeev Sharma is an internationally known DevOps and Cloud Transformation thought leader, technology executive, and author. Sanjeev's industry experience includes tenures as CTO, Technical Sales leader, and Cloud Architect leader. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, Sanjeev is recognized at the highest levels of IBM's core of technical leaders.
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...