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The User’s Guide to MindManager for Project Management: Part III

MindManager users know what their favorite features are, and how to use them to get the most out of our mind mapping software. Our User’s Guide to MindManager for Project Management serves as an easy-to-understand introduction for those new to mind mapping software, as well as a great resource for seasoned mappers who want to know more about the full extent of available features.

Get caught up with Part I and Part II, or read on for Part III of our User’s Guide to MindManager for Project Management.

The Project Dashboard

Once you’ve confirmed agreement on the project charter, create a project dashboard where you can maintain a single “source of truth” for your project. A Project Dashboard template is included in the template gallery.

FIGURE E Attach files, attach notes, insert hyperlinks and even add another map as a subtopic from the Insert menu.

FIGURE E. Attach files, attach notes, insert hyperlinks and even add another map as a subtopic from the Insert menu.

At this point, you’ll want to start adding attachments and links to relevant information—you can even insert other maps, including the Project Charter, using the Insert Map command. By copying the Project Charter into the Project Dashboard, you’ll create a single “source of truth” for all project notes and files.

Laying Out the Plan

To define deliverables, schedules and resources, start by creating topics and sub-topics for your project’s phases and deliverables. Then, select “Show Task Pane” under the Task tab and enter the relevant start dates, due dates, and person responsible for each.

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FIGURE F. Click to select progress status, start and end dates, and resources. Duration will be automatically calculated.

Selecting a topic and click on the “Roll Up Task Info” button, will cause the earliest start date in all subtopics to be shown as the start date for the topic, and the latest end date will be shown as the end date.

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FIGURE G. Select a topic and click on the Roll Up Task Info button to show total time for each project phase.

You can also create dependency relationships between tasks and define how the tasks are related to each other?for example, setting the start date of one task to be dependent on the completion date of the task it’s related to.

 FIGURE H Under the Home tab, select relationship to link two topics or sub-topics; then, in the Task Pane, define the timing for the dependency.

FIGURE H. Under the Home tab, select relationship to link two topics or sub-topics; then, in the Task Pane, define the timing for the dependency.

Finally, in the Task Pane, you can define certain topics or sub-topics as milestones, which are used to help keep track of deliverables in larger projects. Continue to define tasks, start and due dates, and dependencies until a full plan is ready to review.

Reviewing and Optimizing the Plan

Now you’re ready to review the detailed plan with the team that will be responsible for implementation. Mind- Manager includes several features that will help with plan refinement, including the ability to move dates, display a timeline (Gantt) view, and filter on key data.

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FIGURE I. If schedules change, choose “Move Project” to change the earliest start date in that section. All dates will be automatically changed, including the dates of relevant milestones.

The ability to show everyone on the team the impact of changes in assumptions and schedules, and to keep everyone on the same page over the course of a project, is one of the key benefits of MindManager’s visual approach to project management.

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FIGURE J. The Gantt chart view (under the View menu tab) shows the project timeline, including dependencies and milestones. Any changes made by dragging the timelines in Gantt view will be reflected in the map.

 

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FIGURE K. Use Filters (under the View tab) to view tasks assigned to certain individuals, in order to assess workloads. You can also apply Filters to other task details.

Navigating Large Project Maps

In addition to filters, the ability to expand and collapse maps, and the Index function can help you manage map details for complex plans.

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FIGURE L. Use the Expand menu (under the View tab) to see the level of detail desired. Collapse map closes sub-topics.

 

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FIGURE M. The Map Index (in Home menu tab) shows a list of each marker or element type. Clicking on the item in the index will cause that topic or sub-topic to be displayed in the map.

Want more? Read Part 1 and Part II, or download the full User’s Guide here.