An essential component in every instructional designer's tool box

Wrangling content from different sources, from a variety of subject-matter experts and team members, and tying everything back to just the essential performance objectives and metrics- all within budget and meeting your deadlines can get crazy.  How does one keep everything straight?

Personally, I would not be able to keep everything together without mind mapping software.  Here is a pearl containing 5 of the top mind mapping tools currently on the market.

 Mind mapping software 

I first learned about mind mapping software when I was beginning my instructional design career at The Florida State University, and a professor introduced us to an application called Inspiration.  While inspiration is still around, I'm since moved on to Mindjet's MindManager 2012 product because of the robustness of the feature set.  From a purely objective viewpoint, being able to manage a project as well as keep your content organized all within the same file is something I believe every designer should experience.  And if your client demands it in MS Word, Adobe .pdf, or a host of other formats-not a problem.  You can simply export it into the format of their choice and send it off. 

This little pearl is one of the secrets to my success.  What are some of yours?  Please comment.