MindManager – the perfect tonic for curly hair!

Filed Under Mindjet

Mindjet

by
June 4, 2010

In our office there are 2 types of note-taker. The OneNote user and the MindManager. I am without doubt a MindManager. Why..?

Like a lot of people I’ve been “brain-storming” on black boards, flip charts and white boards since I was at school. It comes naturally. You start with a central topic and build from there but it’s never been simple. Who hasn’t been in a meeting with a notepad and started writing something below the first heading when the subject changes and you find you need a new heading and then another and then you’re drawing little boxes in corners because the page looks like someone has been sick on it and there are arrows going from one end of the page to the other because that topic is actually related to that other one and frankly you’ve no hope of understanding it later.. Not just me surely?

Then you launch Mindjet’s MindManager there it is – A blank page and one Central Topic. Several clicks later and you have the headings, a few more and you already have a useful “Map”. It’s easy and not only does it encourage you to be more organised but also concise. No one taught me how to use MindManager. It’s as so obvious. I have used OneNote many times and I still don’t know half of its features and I don’t really want to, I know it’s not for me.

When I realised I could no longer read my own handwriting, I started writing my notes in Word.

The problem with both Word and OneNote is that you end up doing exactly the same thing as you would do on a notepad. Finding half way through that your headings are wrong, you cut and paste or create a new heading which is actually the same as another already on the page but frankly the other people in the meeting are too fast and you can’t keep up anyway so you just keep typing. With MindManager if you find that your topics are under the wrong heading just drag them to a new location. No formatting issues (Word users you know what I’m talking about), no clicking on the page and finding you’ve created a new “box” randomly which isn’t aligned with the others. No figuring out how to organise your Notebook’s. No untitled pages which don’t seem to even be in a notebook. Just maps. Simple, stylish maps.
So what exactly IS a “map”? The only answer is “anything you want it to be”.

My day starts when I launch MindManager. The first thing I open is my Dashboard Map to find today’s Tasks, Issues and Events as well as the deliverables the team are due to complete for my clients. This information is actually all sitting on our intranet but MindManager for SharePoint pulls the details straight into the map and updates them every time I launch or refresh the page. I can even update the values in SharePoint from MindManager.

Today’s Events show I have a workshop with a client in the morning and a meeting to discuss “next steps” in the afternoon. Maps at the ready I set off. The workshop starts off well and people’s ideas are coming thick and fast. Because the agenda was agreed beforehand, I have already created a map with headings which correlate directly to the outcomes I need. I can add sub-topics as quick as people can fire them at me and the map is slowly building. We’ve discussed objectives for their new portal, issues and so on. What next? Time to start building the Site Structure. I know how hard it can be to visualise a portal or functionality that doesn’t exist.

They’re struggling a bit so I plug my laptop into the projector and as we discuss the best options for their new Site Structure I start mapping it out on the screen. Instantly they can see their thoughts taking shape but it’s not quite right yet so we move things around; add more levels and eventually end up with a structure everyone agrees with.

Thankfully there are different formatting options so although I’ve set up “Site Structure” is a sub-topic I can format it within 2 clicks so everything below it is styled as a proper hierarchy. Previously I have facilitated workshops where an entire afternoon has been devoted to designing the new site structure. There’s multiple flip chart pages being scribbled on or stuck together and no one can really see what’s been agreed at the end of it. This takes an hour and the best bit is – now I don’t have to go away, decipher all the notes, create the structure diagram using Visio or Word Art and then send it over to the sponsor to distribute and get feedback on. It’s on the screen and everyone in the room has just approved it. Let’s move on…

My next meeting is a smaller group. We’re discussing the proposal they’ve had, deciding when and how to start workshops and agreeing other action points. Again I have pre-defined some topics but it’s so easy I didn’t really have to. I’m adding issues, their actions, our actions, dates and so on. I’ve already linked to the Proposal so there is no hunting for the document in Explorer, one click and it opens. We’re discussing branding and they’re mentioning sites and images they like so I add more hyperlinks and even search results for me to review at a later stage. Suddenly my map is huge but it’s okay because I’ve already defined my own map styles so the different sections are clearly defined. Otherwise I could easily add a box around them for a more visual grouping.

The meeting comes to an end and for once I have not spent the entire time scribbling or tapping frantically panicking about legibility and how much work I’ll need to do later to reorganise it all and if I missed anything. Everything I need has been captured with little fuss. My counterpart across the table asks me if it’s not too much trouble to send over the minutes when I get back to the office the next day. “No problem” I say. I’ve already exported the Map as a PDF with an embedded Mindjet player and it is sitting in her inbox.

I find workshops are a bit like my life, but with the existence of hair straighteners…..

Emma Thomas – Account Manager Creative SharePoint

This post comes from our fine friends at Creative SharePoint and their blog. As a single point of contact during the course of the project life-cycle, Emma’s job is to make sure clients know they have someone on their side to represent them internally and make sure their requirements are met on time and to budget. In addition, regular contact with the client and sponsors enable Emma to help them shape new ideas and initiatives from the beginning – either through continuous knowledge share or by opening the door to the correct skill set for envisioning.

27 Responses to “MindManager – the perfect tonic for curly hair!”

  1. ghd hair straightener

    I find that MJ has not added much that facilitates that. I’ve also been very interested in the web and Word export as a way to take my creative work to publication. While these features work, they work crudely. The web export has bugs that have never been fixed. The Word export could be enhanced with just a few improvements that would make it far more useful (less formatting work after exporting). I’ve input these suggestions but fail to see that MJ cares about them.

    Reply
  2. ajwilcox

    Using MindManager in ink mode on a Tablet PC makes this even more fun and effective for note taking at meetings.

    Reply
  3. Pboyd

    Hi,

    Any word on when or if MindManager for Sharepoint will be able to connect to Custom Lists?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    Reply
    • Garrett

      Paul,

      This is a feature our product team is working hard on. I know this is a popular request and will be in the next release of the software due out this summer.

      Thanks,
      Garrett

      Reply
    • Garrett Scott

      Paul,

      This is something that our product team has been hard at work on and will be in the next release of this product which is slated to come out this summer.

      Garrett

      Reply
  4. ClaudiaVanderbilt

    Great, easy-to-read post. Thank you for the reader friendly review on what appears to be a user friendly product.

    I have this issue constantly and will look more into this option.

    Thank you!

    Reply
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  9. dengxiixna

    know they have someone on their side to represent them internally and make sure their requirements are met on time and to budget. In addition, regular contact with the client and sponsors enable Emma to help them shape new ideas and initiatives

    Reply
  10. dengxixian230

    I need has been captured with little fuss. My counterpart across the table asks me if it’s not too much trouble to send over the minutes when I get back to the office the next day. “No problem” I say. I’ve already exported the Map as a PDF with an embedded Mindjet player and it is

    Reply
  11. Andre Teixeira

    Great post, I myself can totally relate to “can't read my own handwriting”. Evernote has been an increasingly present part of my meeting and seminar routine since the iPad came along, but clearly a mindmapping tool would be superior to a text-only solution (such as the present stage in Evernote)

    So, (hoping our friends at Mindjet are listening), wouldn't it be nice if I could have a MindManager-compatible app on my iPad, with Dropbox and MobileMe integration, so I can work my maps seamlessly regardless of the device I'm using?

    Should I wait for Mindjet's solution, or should I explore a different direction???

    Andre Teixeira
    MindManager for Mac (v 7.0)
    Mindjet for iPhone (which I just noticed is version 1.0, which means: they never updated the app. EVER!)

    Reply
    • Emma Thomas

      Yes I've used Evernote too and actually still really like it for quickly capturing information from websites and saving into “notebooks” I can synch. Use much more for personal use though. MindManager does this the other way around – allowing you to search Google, Bing or Yahoo and display the results in your map, which is great for brainstorming, etc.

      A phone app would also be awesome so I second that request. Though that may mean SharePoint and MindManager take over my life completely!

      Personally I'd wait to see what MindJet do on this front because of everything else the product has going for it but then I'm an Android girl and would be more interested in a tablet PC anyway :)

      Reply
  12. Bill

    Emma,

    Have you ever integrated MindManager and Sharepoint together in any way?

    Reply
    • Emma Thomas

      Hi Bill,

      I am using MindManager for Sharepoint specifically, so I do use the Sharepoint Map Parts a lot. Usually for pulling client or project information – tasks mainly, into my client dashboards. I also use it for mapping sites – we're in the process of rebuilding our intranet which like most peoples has grown over time with all kinds of test sites and lists (developers!) so it's great for mapping out various areas to see exactly what's there and to help plan out what we want it to look like going forwards. You can also push data back which is really useful.

      The downside at the moment is that the version I am using only looks at standard list types – Announcements, Tasks, etc. I am on the waiting list for the beta version which will apparently allow me to pull from custom lists – genius!

      Reply
  13. ajwilcox

    Emma,

    Great overview of how to use MindManager in your daily work. There must be many thousands of MindManager users who also do what you described, myself included. In general MindManager is a joy to work with and makes working more relaxed.

    Is there anything missing in the MindManager functionality for your processes?

    Reply
    • Emma Thomas

      Thanks!

      To be honest I’m the kind of person who attempts to put the cupboards together first and then reads the instructions! I look for what I want it to do as I want it to do it, so I'm finding new functionality all the time. The main thing for me right now is the inability to connect to custom SharePoint lists, which the new version should resolve. We are a SharePoint consultancy, so full of (fantastic I might add) developers and consultants meaning typically hardly anything we use internally is out of the box!

      The new version is also supposed to address the fact that currently you have to be online to export and create a SWF or PDF with embedded Mindjet player, which will really make it not just usable but a very useful tool.

      Reply
  14. Alex

    I don't want to sound heretical, but there are alternatives to Onenote and MindManager, especially for capturing comments in meetings. Recently I was in a workshop that used iMeet (http://www.imeet.com.au), a web-based product developed in Australia which uses multiple laptops (or iPads) to allow individuals or small groups at workshops to input the comments which are collated by the application and displayed in real time to the facilitator (and, optionally, on a big screen or projector).

    Initially sceptical, I was very impressed by the end of the workshop (see my comments at http://sociamind.wordpress.com/). The interface allows the workshop facilitator to set up categories, questions or polls on the fly and to sort the input by various criteria either as it comes in or, say, during the lunch break.

    Ideally you would be able to use something like iMeet to capture input directly into a predefined mindmap, but it would not be too hard to take the iMeet output (which is in an Excel or Word table) and put it into a map format during or immediately after the event.

    Reply
  15. ??

    Interesting post. I have made a twitter post about this. Others no doubt will like it like I did.

    Reply

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