Posts Tagged ‘planning’

MindManager Year Planner for 2009 created with Excel

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

I normally post something to help MindManager Users plan for the new year. I struggled to find something and then I thought about getting the whole year on a map!

It was a challenge but on the way I discovered a useful way of cutting and pasting from Excel. If you structure your spreadsheet like this you can create the dates quickly in Excel and then paste to MindManager.

The first column becomes the main topic. Offset the content of the next column by one row and it becomes a subtopic. The third column creates seven sub-subtopics.

The good thing about Excel is you can quickly create these groups by starting a series e.g. 1, 2 and then dragging it down to fill to 7.

The third column was formed by combining columns 4 and 5.

I then pasted the first three columns on to the map. Hey presto the year appeared.

The organigram format created a compact map to the second level. Increase the level of detail to see the days in a week, month or year.

Download the MindManager map and the Excel 2007 spreadsheet.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone finds these of use.

10 Things to do with MindManager over Christmas and the New Year

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008
  1. Make your Christmas present list (Tip: Look at the map you made last year first)
  2. Record all the Christmas presents your family receive and who sent them (Tip: Use Task resources).
  3. Plan the Christmas lunch particularly and the period in general (Bad News: MindManager only works in hours not minutes)
  4. Make your New Years resolutions (Note: See Tip 1)
  5. Plan your must watch TV (Tip: Scrape info of BBC web site or similar)
  6. Play Family Brainstorm (Tip: Great use of wide screen TV)
  7. Map out the things you did not get for Christmas but will buy for yourself in the sales (Tip: Woolies is a mess. Don’t there.)
  8. Index your LP, CD and Cassette collection prior to selling on eBay (Note: This is for nostalgia not making any money)
  9. Research your 2009 holidays (Tip: Drag and drop links and prices from web sites. Note: Conflict with 10))
  10. Pause for some thoughts about how you could make the world a better place in 2009

Please note:

  • I have done some but not all of the above.
  • Some of these maps will have conflicting content. A master map may also be useful.

Have a great Christmas break and all the best for 2009.


p.s. Please substitute Christmas with your preferred festival.

Using MindManager 8 for Task Planning

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

MindManager 8 has a new function for calculating the dates in a task map. You can add topics representing the tasks with their durations. Then link them with relationships to show the order of the tasks. Finally add a start or a finish date. MindManager will calculate the latest start or the earliest finish and the dates for all the tasks.

This map shows a plan for redecorating a boardroom. One of those with plush carpets, paintings on the walls and a large table which you wonder how it ever got in there. No mini bar these days.

The project is partially completed. The tasks in pink are late and the Empty the Room summary task is in yellow because it is at risk of not completing on time.

Resources i.e task owners can be added as well but I have left them out to make the map less cluttered.

If you want to see this as a timeline you will need to use one of the following:

  • MindManager Add In JCVGantt Pro 3
  • Export it to MS Project
  • Export to MPX and import to any project planning tool
  • Finally the Sync with Microsoft Outlook tool and use the Task Timeline view in Outlook.

The first part of my Guide to using MindManager and JCVGantt is valid for setting up a working project plan in MindManager using this new functionality.

If you want to do what ifs on your plan, I suggest you save a copy of the plan with tasks, durations and relationships before you add any dates. After you add a date MindManager calculates and fixes all the dates. If you increase a task duration, the finish date extends but if you reduce a duration or parallel some tasks, the finish date is not brought forward.

My conclusions about this tool are that it will be useful for simple projects, the one shown is probably at the limit. After that any changes which shorten the plan will not be recalculated and the value of this functionality is negated. Of course many projects add tasks and the tasks take longer.

MindManager 8 is released today. What’s new? The flash viewer

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

This is the first of a series of blogs about the new MindManager function. This is the Save As Mindjet Player which creates an SWF (Flash) File which allows the map to be embedded in a web page and lets you interact with it.

This map is a project plan for redecorating a room. All the dates on this map have been calculated using the new MindManager task function but more on that later. I should get my room redecorated just before 2009!

How did I do that?

Save As > Save as type: Mindjet Player Maps – SWF.
Upload the SWF file to my web server.
Use this code to embed the map player in a web page. You may need to remove some of the line returns reduce the empty space around the player.

<object classid=”clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000″ codebase=”,0,19,0″ id=”pyn2″ width=”610″ height=”460″>
<param name=”movie” value=””>
<param name=”bgcolor” value=”#FFFFFF”>
<param name=”quality” value=”high”>
<param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”samedomain”>
<param name=”wmode” value=”transparent”>
<embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” pluginspage=”” name=”pyn2″ src=”” bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” quality=”high” allowscriptaccess=”samedomain” wmode=”transparent” width=”610″ height=”460″></embed>

What could you use this for?

Using MindMananger and JCVGantt to create project plans

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Last week I ran an afternoon session on using MindManager with JCVGantt to create a project plan. As preparation for that I wrote a 20 page booklet for the attendees but also to make sure I really understood the process. Writing what you think you know, really does reinforce your comprehension.

Creating a project plan that automatically recalculates: the critical path, resources used and cost; requires discipline when setting the model up. The project planning tools have no ability to make assumptions on behalf of the user. 20 years ago I used Pertmaster Advance to estimate project costs and give me a timeline. I remember being asked “Why are you doing this before we have got the job?”. The simple answer is “How could I estimate the job without looking at the plan and considering what could be done in parallel, who could do it, when their and the clients holidays were?” The big advantage is when you have built a robust model and someone asked the really awkward question which throws the spanner in the works, you can make a few alterations to dates or people and the impact is immediately visible.

Outline of the Introduction to JCVGantt

The guide takes you through a process which should create a valid plan. You can see it now as a web site. An Introduction to JCVGantt – Creating a valid project plan in MindManager – Transforming it into a Gantt Chart

MindManager maps morphs into JCVGantt project timeline

Using MindManager to track the promotion and the results for an event

Friday, May 9th, 2008

On Tuesday 22 April, I facilitated my first Open Space Technology event. It was attended by 29 people from Ecademy and their theme was “How can we work better together so that we all get more from Ecademy?”. The event was the result of three months of discussion between principally four people. Most of our discussion was on-line using Skype chat and conference calls, and using the Ecademy forums. Two of the people I have never met face to face. One of them attended the event. Apart from the obvious note taking during these on-line meetings, one of the uses for MindManager was to track the promotion of the event and results of that activity.

Use 1 – Monitoring Progress

Initially we had two dates and the map tracked those registering, those who said no or maybe and those that had paid, each linked to their Ecademy profile. I had a MindManager spreadsheet (not Excel range) in the map which noted how these numbers changed on a daily basis. It also showed the home page views for our host Ecademy club for the event.

Each promotional activity was tracked by linking to all the blogs and adverts for the event. Click the image below and you will see the map I shared on line with my colleagues. Each topic with an Ecademy icon clicks through to a page on the Ecademy web site,

MindManager map for monitoring promotions and their results for an event

Some things I learnt I would like to share with you.

– The MindManager spreadsheet does not work beyond column Z. Mindjet are aware and will fix this.
– Regardless of the bug next time I would use an Excel range for a large spreadsheet such as this. This would allow me to show the summary in one topic and the details in another.

I will publish some more ways in which I used MindManager with these events over the next few days.

Planning a meal with MindManager

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

An annual event for the local charity I work with called the Alresford Pigs Association is our progressive or safari supper. This year I offered to do a main course. My speciality is Chinese cooking. Below is the map I used to plan the menu and the shopping. I also used MindManager’s built in spreadsheet to see how I was doing against my budget of £42 including drinks. Providing it does not all get drunk I might make it under budget.

p.s. MindManager does not do the cooking.

Phew! They left me with a bottle of wine (very nice French White – Picpoul de Pinet from The Naked Grape) and a beer! Leaving me £3.50 under budget.