Ever wondered about how to think better?
Don’t rely just on your brain. Keeping everything in your memory makes your head spin. Did you try to keep all the things you need in my memory? People invented a shopping list in order to decrease mental workload and to increase the outcome. Do the same for thinking things through!
What is the equivalent to the shopping list for thinking? Some people write things down, sorting our their thinking along the way. Some people talk about it with others, which is extremely useful but you don’t always have the right people available.
Vithanco offers simple diagrams to capture and develop your thinking. Did you hear a picture says more than 1000 words? Did you ever experience this for yourself? Vithanco combines writing things down and uses a visual grammar to structure how things are connected. The result are simple diagrams that are self-explanatory.
How does Vithanco help you to think better?
- Using visuals helps you to keep the (literal) overview. See the whole at once, zoom into parts, and even hide the less relevant parts (through “clusters”) if they are a momentary distraction.
- Auto-layout keeps you focusing on the task which makes you more productive. A one minute change to the content no longer means 10 minutes of reformatting. The layout follows the structure, automatically.
- Visual grammars make it easy to follow structured methods by providing guidance. The resulting diagram is conform to the chosen method. However, diverge from a rigid method if you want to.
- Use the resulting visuals to help you communicate with all relevant stakeholders. How do they say? “A picture says more than 1000 words.” You can easily review a diagram with stakeholders. Ask them to read a long document and they will often not find the time. Did you come to this point?
How does Vithanco help you think?
Use Vithanco in order to create diagrams that help you think and concisely present your thinking. Use the predefined diagram types to choose the right diagram type. Vithanco provides out to the box support for:
- Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes (like Current Reality Trees (CRTs), Evaporating Cloud, etc.) provide a full methodology from identifying the root issue to planning the solution.
- Concept Maps are useful to capture existing terminology and hence decrease the confusion. They are perfect as a starting point for any project.
- IBIS diagrams are used to map out dialogues/discussions and to conclude
- Mind Maps can capture anything and can be used for planning, too.
- Benefit Breakdown Structure is a business analysis technique that analyses “backwards” from the benefit towards the enablers, including IT enablers and hence keeps the Business Case realistic.
- Gojko Adzic’s Impact Mapping is a well known approach to generate the next features for your product/project.
- Causal Loop Diagrams (System Thinking) describe the dynamics of a system. They are a very powerful analysis tool.
- Decision Trees allow to write down how to reach a decision. Especially useful to design decision points in a process.
And more will come.
What are some relevant features?
Vithanco has amongst other the following features:
- Ensuring correct structure of diagrams
- Autolayout – no need to waste your time on moving boxes
- Change relationships with easy drag and drop
- Keyboard controls
- Darkmode supported (requires macOS 10.14 Mojave)
- Export to PDF, JPG and PNG, clickable Images,
- Import von CXL files (can be created by CMapTools)
- Cluster parts of the diagram (allows un-/folding of clusters, hence hiding and restoring parts of the diagram)
- Design your own node styles in order to adjust the Diagram.
- Design your own graphical language (“Domain”)
- Zoom in and out
…and much more.
See below for some inspirations.
Clarify Terminology with Concept Maps
Did you ever experienced that people mean different things by the same term? That people meant the same although they use different terms?
Concept Maps will help you to find these otherwise difficult to find issues. Use it whenever you start working in a new area. And always at the beginning of a project.
The diagram below is a Concept Map explaining some key concepts around the Vithanco software. Create a sentence for each arrow, eg. “Graph can have Cluster”. You can describe a concept very accurately by describing the relationships to all relevant concepts. The outcome is better than any text based dictionary.
Capture Discussions with IBIS
IBIS is a simple structure for capturing any discussion or for the elaboration of questions. IBIS starts with a question, captures the answers/ideas and collects pros and cons for each answer/idea. Any node can be further elaborated with another question, allowing the deep analysis of the topic.
This structure is regularly used in combination with wicked problems. Use it in joined discussions or to explore all aspects of a question.
Current Reality Trees / Theory of Constraints
Current Reality Trees are part of the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes. Theory of Constraints (TOC) is focusing on identifying the overall constraints of the system looked at, identifying solutions to elevate the constraint and to plan the needed changes. Current Reality Trees are the first step of the TOC approach, aiming at identifying the shared root cause for several Undesirable Effects (UDEs)
Plan Projects with Benefit Breakdown Structure
Start with the end in mind! Projects are created in order to achieve investment objectives and to realise benefits. Hence, plan backwards from the objectives and the benefits. Which process is creating the benefit? How do you enable the process changes? Vithanco allows you to show the context of the enabler and therefore to answer questions like this: the IT department could cheaply provide feature X as part of the project. Would you like it? Trace the enabler (software) to the benefits. Is the feature needed to create any benefit? If not then don’t implement it.
An example diagram for the Benefit Breakdown Structure. It explains basic concepts of how to use benefit realisation in a project.
Understand long-term Behaviour with Causal Loop Diagrams
Causal Loop Diagrams (CLDs) are a way to capture systems, to analyse them and to plan to influence them. CLDs explain long term behaviour of systems which is otherwise difficult to understand if you only look at the current as-is snapshot.
A CLD is very useful to identify the loops that affect the systems’ behaviour. Especially the separation between balancing and reinforcing loops provides meaningful insights into a system’s behaviour as shown in the following table.
Balancing loops have an odd number of opposite connections (negative links).
Reinforcing loops have an even number of opposite connections (negative links, please note that zero also is even). They are associated with exponential increases/decreases.
Describe Decisions with Decision Trees
This is a simple example for Decision Trees. You can “execute” decision trees, resulting in a series of dialogues, guiding the user to the suggested result. Connect outcome via URLs to web sites or other resources.
Can you create your own Diagrams Types?
Yes! If you have another need then the business analysis software Vithanco has you covert. Define your own graphical language and use Vithanco to create a model that is correct in the sense of your definition.
Will there be more in-build Diagram Types?
Yes! The author adds new diagram types every now and then for even easier use of Vithanco.