Project Management







Project Management














City & State




Project Management

SODA Mind Map





























SODA (Strategic Options Development and Analysis) is an approach that is central to the development of practical solutions to problems that have multiple sources and hence require complex solutions as well. To that end, SODA is essential in the formulation of a cognitive thought process that can assist in the development of a solution to the problem. Through cognitive mapping, an individual can create a mind map that is comprised of goals and objectives that would serve to develop solutions. Through mind, mapping individuals can put into perspective all the underlying concerns to evaluate the available options for action. In that sense, a holistic understanding of the subject matter can imply that a practical solution can be developed that addresses all issue concerned.  According to Eden (2004, p. 673) cognitive mapping helps structure issues or problems. In that sense, cognitive mapping helps in making sense of issues in a comprehensible manner from which standpoint solutions can be tailored. Drawing a cognitive map also helps in evaluating cause and effects to develop motivational options that are available. For that reason, the most important attribute of cognitive mapping is ensuring that the issue at hand is thoroughly understood. After a thorough understanding has been developed, the cognitive mapping approach helps in brainstorming for the most appropriate mechanisms to address the problem. In other words, cognitive mapping facilitates knowledge development of the variety of options available for exploration as much as the development of a solution is concerned. Consequently, cognitive mapping ends in a complete or comprehensive review of choices to the effect that an evaluation of the most appropriate response or solution to the problem is developed. In that regard, cognitive mapping is an intelligent approach to problem-solving that ensures various challenges are addressed through strategic reasoning processes (Eden, 2004, p. 680).

The SODA approach to mind mapping assists in the development of objectives that can serve to address the challenge at hand comprehensively in developing practical solutions to the problem. To that end, the interpretation that is developed as pertains to the problem involving the development of a reading list for the LSBU library resources reveals various weaknesses in the system. Foremost, the communication challenge seems to ground the process of development of the list given that communication breakdown is the sole factor to blame for the lack of coordination. Equally, there are challenges that are associated with the functions of staff members particularly in handling the manner in which the list is prepared and maintained. In that respect, the faculty, for instance, keeps changing from time to time and with the changes comes inconsistency in the management of the reading list. Most crucial in the stakeholder’s roles is the mandate of the faculty to ensure that the reading list is up to date and that it meets the requirements of the curriculum. Hence, a consistent and continuous update of the reading list in the system is crucial to ensuring that the reading list serves to meet the purposes and needs of the curriculum. However, the faculty is not the only stakeholder in ensuring that the reading list is up to date. Despite playing a central role in the provision of a list of books that should be updated into the reading list, it falls under the mandates of the librarian, technicians, and procurement to ensure that the books on the list are updated physically and electronically. Therefore, after the faculty has submitted a list of books to the librarian, it is then taken to the procurement department who make a couple of purchases for hardcopy books along with a single electronic copy of the book.  The management of the reading list then rests on the library and technical staff who are required to update the system in regards to the new reading list. Sooner or later the same process is repeated where changes in the curriculum call for updates in the reading list that can be accessed in the library.

Therefore, a coordinated effort between staff members and the faculty is central to ensuring that the reading list is up to date at all times. Hence, developing a consistent and continuously improved reading list serves crucial to ensuring that the reading list is relevant to the courses taught at any one time. However, there are challenges that abound as pertains to the periodic update or upgrade of the list. For instance, due to the complicated association between staff members such as technicians, librarians, the LSBU governing body, the Dean’s office and teaching staff among others, there are complexities in coordination. For that reason, the protocols that are to be adhered to when making changes in the reading list are often cumbersome and time-consuming. Consequently, the system takes longer to update a reading list onto the system. Hence, various entities have considerable and differentiated levels of interest given the contributions that each makes to the development of the reading list. To that end, it becomes quite difficult to coordinate efforts through communication that would ensure the smooth operation of services and obligations. Each entity in the faculty or staff, thus, plays a central role to the facilitation of the reading list development and maintenance. Essentially, two core challenges affect the management of the list, the first of which is ineffective communication. On that note, communication between staff and faculty members on the pace and progress of the reading list update process proves crucial to its facilitation. Thus, the manner with which the communication process is done should be changed to hasten the process of updating the reading list. Coordination through effective communication would also mean that staff and faculty members concerned would have an information sharing platform. Hence, the individual entities can make their contributions in the form of recommendations or otherwise on the most appropriate approach to addressing the reading list challenge. What is more, addressing the communication problem would ensure that the reading list making process puts into consideration the roles and responsibilities of each entity. Ultimately, each stakeholder can play their part as appropriate or expected to facilitate completion of projects duly to promote a collaborative effort in development and maintenance of an up to date reading list.

Another central challenge that is only second to the communication challenge concerns the duration that it takes to update the reading list. In that respect, communication challenges serve as the most significant contributor to the slow pace at which the list is updated. Thus, an improvement of the communication networks would then help to ensure that the network of staff and faculty works to address the challenge at hand. To expedite the process of updating the reading list, it is imperative that stakeholders work together through the sharing of information regarding the progress achieved on a consistent basis. What is more, faculty members serve to be the most influential and most impactful as far as their contribution to the list is concerned. Therefore, as the source of the list, the faculty members should play a central role in coordination, supervision, and follow-up that would facilitate an expedited approach to solving the problem of a slowed process. Through the logical mapping diagram presented above, various factors of consideration have been discussed mapping a distinctive approach to resolving the problem. For that reason, the cause of the problem, the solution, the stakeholder, the objectives, and the setting concerned are presented. Each of the factors is central to the ensuring that the reading list development and maintenance process meets the needs of the students in regards to the requirements of the curriculum. Subsequently, recommendations on best approaches to achieving the objective of the SODA mind mapping solutions as presented are as below;


First, the mind mapping facts presented reveals that the problem that is at the core of the dilemma owes to a communication breakdown between faculty and staff members. To that extent, the stakeholders concerned must take initiative towards building a sustainable communication network that would address the concerns of the issue. Therefore, a meeting should be scheduled periodically to discuss the progress of the SODA mind mapping objectives as outlined in the diagram above. In that sense, the meetings would serve crucial as a communications platform that would enhance coordination and collaboration between and among stakeholders.

Secondly, a protocol that is distinctive and elaborate should be designed that would delegate duties and responsibilities between and among entities in the organization as far as updating the library reading list is concerned. In that respect, the faculty should head the team that is mandated with the duty of updating the list. By ensuring that there is a well laid out procedure to be followed in updating the reading list, the process can hold individual parties accountable for negligence or slow pace in the completion of their responsibilities.

Finally, oversight is a central function of evaluating the progress of any process. In fact, the SODA approach presented insists on the consistent evaluation of the system to find problems and make adjustments to address them. Hence, the development of a mind mapping approach that has various solutions to the communication and collaboration challenge needs a consistent evaluation protocol to be proven effective. Given that the process of updating the reading list is a continuous undertaking, it would also be in line with the objectives of the SODA method presented to develop oversight that gauges the gains made. Eventually, the system can identify weaknesses and make adjustments for improvements to enhance efficiency.




Eden, C., 2004. Analyzing Cognitive Maps to Help Structure Issues or Problems. European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 159, pp. 673-686.




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