The sequential paradigm of Strategy followed by Planning followed by Execution works for companies that rely on quarterly planning. Whereas fast growing companies that think on their feet and make decisions on the move switch between these phases on a weekly or daily basis.
Mindmapping is a popular techniques for Strategic Ideation. It helps in aligning teams, visualizing the big picture, and breaking down complex ideas into simpler achievable steps.
The biggest limitation with the currently available mind mapping tools is that they don't sync with other tools. Which limits their use to the Ideation phase. Once this stage is over, we move on to other tools like spreadsheets for planning and project management tools like Trello for execution.
This also creates larger problems
- When we go back to the drawing board, we have to from scratch with a new Mindmap
- The teams responsible for the how and when lack visibility to the why as the strategy and execution are not interlinked. This creates misalignment.
With ThoughtFlow, our goal is to help teams bring their strategic, tactical and day-to-day activities of their work on a single interconnected “map”, so that they can work independently, while still being perfectly aligned to the larger picture.
What it does
ThoughtFlow combines the visual flow of a mindmap with the computational power of a spreadsheet and integrates with popular project management tools like Trello and Jira.
Teams can brainstorm using mindmaps, or use one of the inbuilt Ideation templates like User Story Mapping and Impact Mapping.
A spreadsheet view allows for planning and prioritization by adding additional fields like effort estimates and dates. Prioritization scores can be created by combining multiple fields like impact and effort using the formula feature.
Integrations with tools like Trello and Jira allow teams to continue using their familiar and favorite tools while having the context of the bigger picture behind their tasks.
How I built it
Initially, it was a personal itch. My workflow involved Mindmaps, Spreadsheets and Trello. I spent a lot of time copy pasting back and forth between these tools which was a big pain. I wanted to build something to solve this, and posted on LinkedIn to see if others would be interested.
To my surprise, the post went viral and gained a lot of traction. I searched on the net if someone was looking for something like this, and came across posts on various forums .
The current product is the result of multiple iterations using the lean startup approach of interviewing users, building prototypes, and acting on the feedback. It's built on the MEAN stack.
Challenges I ran into
The biggest challenge was getting to a design that could handle the complexity of what’s possible, and at the same time be extremely simple to use. This took multiple iterations of releasing something and observe people use it to identify the mental bottlenecks.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We came to know of codegeist only a week back. Although a trello integration was always on our roadmap, we never prioritized it. With this contest we took a chance and gave it a shot :)
So I’m pretty proud that we are able to make a decent submission with the integration and video in such a short period
What I learned
Got introduced to the trello power-up API, and atlassian connect API. Learnt that we work best under tight timelines as it forces us to pick the important items and ignore the rest.
What's next for ThoughtFlow
- Improving the Trello Integration
- Integrate pricing plans
- Integrate with Jira, Asana and Monday
- Create ideation and planning templates for product managers
- Get our first 100 customers and take it from there