This week’s post will primarily be about Mind Mapping and Root Cause. Mind Mapping is a diagram used for brainstorming. Originally developed by Tony Buzan, these mind webs are commonly used when:

a) you want to learn something at a faster pace,

b) developing new ideas,

c) collaborating with a group, and

d) trying to better understand a complicated system or structure.

Mind Maps are perfect for projects where there are hundreds of factors to keep track of because it allows you to simplify and summarize ideas in an organized and visual way. To assist you in keeping thoughts orderly, Tony Buzan created some helpful guidelines:

  • Starting at the center, use an image of the topic you will be outlining.
  • Whenever applicable, use images, symbols, and codes to keep things visually appealing and less “wordy”.
  • Highlight your keywords by using upper or lower case so they are easily identifiable.
  • Try to have each word alone on its own line.
  • Each line should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic, and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the center.
  • Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
  • Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
  • Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.

Occasionally, Mind Maps are successfully used when a company is trying to identify a problem. Once the overall problem is identified, Root Cause analysis is used to help further recognize not only what the issue is, what happened, why it happened, and what to do to prevent it from happening again.

For Probes Unlimited, Inc. these methods will be very valuable. Mind Mapping is a tool that can be used on all levels of PUI from designing a website, creating a new product, or to help improve efficiency on the production floor. Root Cause analysis is most helpful when problems/processes involve human factors and/or interactions. Since PUI is a manufacturing facility with several production cells, human involvement is frequent. No facility is perfect, but since the market continues to dictate price, organizations like us need to focus their resources to meet these needs. This is an effective, relatively quick and inexpensive tool that can greatly increase our productivity and help us keep our cost low.