Posts Tagged ‘project management’

Mindjet MindManager 8 Review in The Institution of Engineering and Technology

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

I am a Chartered Engineer and member of the IET.  So I was pleasantly surprised to see a Review of MindManager 8 in the fortnightly magazine E&T which is also published on-line.

It’s a good review, highlighting MindManager’s strengths and its percieved (high) price weakness versus the competition.  Pity it is 2 years after it was released.  I like the last two paragraphs.  Fortunately I am way past the 30 day trial, I did that in 1998.   I don’t feel anything like a BP submersible, still trying to plug some of the leaks but I have been to the depths.  I know my friends Nick Duffill of Harport Consulting and Nigel Goult of Olympic Limited have been deeper and are still drilling.   Ok double space problems in notes don’t compare to millions of barrels of oil but they are  irritating if it’s your principal daily application.

This article inspires me to re-publish something I wrote for the predecessor of the E&T magazine on using MindManager for Project Management.  I never quite forgave the IEE (as it was then) for having all my MindManager maps redrawn by their in-house graphic artist!  It was written for them in 2003 and updated in 2007.  This version of “MindManaging Your Projects” has my original mapwork. I will re-export the map which I used to write the article and publish it as a blog.  Should take 5 minutes!

p.s. One of the best benefits of membership of the IET is using the Members Lounge at the IET Savoy Place, London. If you would like a chat about anything, contact me and I will be pleased to bring you in as my guest.  Just descend the stairs at the north western end of Waterloo Bridge and cross over at the traffic lights or walk through the park from Embankment tube.  Don’t go through the entrance door on the right it takes you in to Second Life!

MindManager Add Ins and other related software

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

This is work in progress. I am compiling a map of the MindManager add ins and related software. There are many more to be added to the map but I thought there were enough now to share with you.

Click the map to see the full size clickable image map.

Please add your suggestions by commenting on this post.

Who are the potential users of MindManager during the Credit Crunch

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

This hopefully short period of global financial upheaval has a variety of effects. One aspect is that some people are getting incredibly busy dealing with the fall out and others may be less busy now but need to plan for the future. Some obvious examples of the busy people are Human Resources and Insolvency Practitioners. Other who have been made redundant will be planning their future, perhaps realigning themselves.

Here is my brainstorm about this issue.

Who do you feel needs the extra help MindManager can give them during this period?

I remember when I first used mind mapping 14 years ago it was to map out the business I had just joined. I had moved from the centre of Unilever in The Netherlands to Anchor Foods in Swindon. I had worked for Unilever for 17 years and understood the people, culture and processes. Anchor Foods was at the far end of the New Zealand Dairy Board and I knew nothing about them. I used mind mapping during all my induction meetings to create a picture of how this business worked, what my role as Chief Engineer was, the relationships and the priorities of the business. When you walk into a new situation, you need to quickly assess what is happening and what to do. Creating maps and being able to see a big picture made me much more comfortable with the situation. Have you had a similar experience?

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.

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 take snapshots of a project or business development

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

If you create a map which is linked to or has all the documents / files attached to it, you can use this to create a snapshot or version control process.

With attached documents only (these are embedded in the map file) all you have to do is use Save As to save a version 1, 2 etc of the project.

With linked documents use Export > Pack and Go to create a zip file with all the linked files included in it. During the process you can exclude files from the zip. Use version numbering for the zip file. The attached files will be there whatever you do.

Warning: This will take up disk space.

A serious dashboard in MindManager

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

By which I mean a seriously big one. Michelle Thompson has published these articles in her blog, a “A Scrapbook album Dashboard in Mind Map Form using MindManager” and MindMapping a Scrapbook Album. Check out her blog Scrapability to find out more.

Inspiration to publish some of mine.

What are your favourite applications of Mind Mapping software and why?

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I recently posed this question to my friends and to the general membership on LinkedIn.

A friend replied:

I use MindManager for the following:

1) Project management planning: I create templates for projects that are re-usable, this means I save time on subsequent projects. I also like the fact that an incredibly complex project can be managed from one dashboard. With the ability to link every conceivable form of document and media in one source I don’t know how I could plan and manage projects without MM.

2) Client workshops and problem discovery sessions: Clients find MM a great tool when I use it for workshops as it helps us brainstorm but always in a focused framework, it also means that nothing gets lost. I always record brainstorming sessions with a dictaphone and attach the audio file to the MM file for a complete record of the session.

3) Website design & planning: I now run 3 websites so it really helps to design, plan and administer my sites using MM as I can store all my images, pages, content and updates in one place.

4) Presentation planning: MM is fantastic for designing a presentation as you can create a basic template and then build out from that based on the specific requirements. I find it provides a more creative medium than just relying on powerpoint templates. I frequently save time by just using MM as the presentation tool, clients appear to prefer it to PowerPoint etc.

5) Knowledge management: Part of our core service is providing detailed audits and reports to clients. One of the deliverables we now provide is a MM of all the findings. It provides a much richer and simpler way of navigating through all of our results as opposed to a bland, one-dimensional Word document or printed report.

This is from Dylan Jones at IQ Solutions Online and his recently launched Data Migration Pro a global professional community.

You can see other answers at LinkedIn at What are your favourite applications of Mind Mapping software and why?