How to mind map your way to better business analysis

In my day-to-day work as a Business Analyst, I like to use mindmaps to simplify the process of gathering and organizing requirements — the bread and butter of any BA.

At the beginning of a project, mind maps help structure my thoughts when I know next to nothing about what we’re doing. They also help me ask better questions, and thus efficiently use the limited amount of time I sometimes have with a project Stakeholder or Subject Matter Expert.

This is the skeleton map I like to start with (inspired by this presentation):

Requirements Mindmap
When I’m a bit further along in the project, I like set up another map to capture use cases, that is, the user’s goals that the software must meet. Setting up my use cases in this manner helps remove any “fuzziness” from requirements, and helps me discover process alternatives and exceptions quickly:

Use Case Mindmap