Friday, May 1, 2009

Using FreeMind in Retrospectives

So in the last few weeks I attended a couple of retrospectives for my team, and towards the end I facilitated one for another team.

To facilitate I used FreeMind to jot down points which came up during the retro mapping them using the Mind Map. As people were discussing "What could the team do better ?" , I ended up collating them on the map which was projected on a whiteboard. When it came to voting the top 3 points to discuss, we just asked people to put their votes (read color dots) on the whiteboard against the projected map.

Worked nicely. No use of markers, no dirty handwriting, and the team has their mental map right in front of them. The best part is, to send across Retrospective notes as a soft copy, all you need is to export this map as HTML/Word Doc with one click. You can even click print and give each person a copy of it before they leave the meeting room.

Worth a try guys !


  1. Works with a small team, how would you manage this with a huge team ?

  2. I don't see why this wouldn't work with a big team, though I suggest whiteboarding over using Free Mind. My reasons are pretty simple:
    * Free Mind doesn't really create proper, organic mind maps. Tony Buzan has written extensively why organic maps are better than simple lines.
    * Second, software like Free Mind encourage bad mind-mapping habits - such as sentences on a line. There's a reason for the one word per branch rule. A single word can have millions of associations and allows a free flow of ideas. A sentence limits the number of associations because it is so rigid.