we ask before starting reviews of this sort of software
is simple: We've been getting along just fine for all these
years, developing plans and ideas, creating designs, making
agendas and so on. So why on earth do we need to add yet
another tool or layer to the process? The answer is unusually
simple. In fact, for whatever business or effort you're
involved in, MindManager Pro 7 can used to effectively
and productively reduce the number of layers in your design,
planning and development processes. Our view is that MindManager
Pro 7, if you fully embrace it for use throughout your
business (no matter what size business—from
one employee to thousands), can provide a versatile foundation
for planning and development. From simple maps such as meeting
agendas and sales projections, to deeply complex expression
of new ideas, MindManager Pro 7 provides you with ability
to physically demonstrate the way in which you visualize
a particular idea or plan. At its core therefore, MindManager
Pro 7 is a tool to help others understand what you're thinking
about, how you thought it up in the first place, and all
the things you think are important and relate to the main
point you're trying to make, thereby providing the means
by which people can see your thoughts from your perspective.
That's gold baby—pure gold.
Mind mapping guru Tony Buzan suggests using the following foundation
structures for Mind Mapping:
- Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
- Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your mind map.
- Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
- Each word and image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
- The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central
lines should be thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they
radiate out from the center.
- Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
- Use colors—your own code—throughout
the mind map.
- Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
- Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
- Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order
or outlines to embrace your branches.
Of course the preceding is all just a guideline. The beauty of MindManager
pro 7 is that it can be used freeform as well, to map just about anything
you can conceive. Alternatively, as the Interactive Quick Start Guide
built into MindManager Pro 7 will demonstrate, there's an enormous amount
of general automation available once you learn and practice using the
software. Doing so is in our opinion time very well spent. Can MindManager
Pro 7 be used exactly as Buzan suggests? Yes. More important, a couple
of months of review in two busy businesses revealed that once staff
embraced MindManager Pro 7, their success rate at helping other people
more completely understand their ideas and plans improved geometrically.
That impressive little fact is what it's all about. The more thoroughly
ideas and plans are understood by all stakeholders during the earliest
phases of a project, the more efficiently and successfully the whole
thing is going to go. That's money in the bank.
Pro 7 user interface has a new look & feel which
amounts to a similar approach to that laid out by Microsoft
in its Ribbon menu interface. This is a matter of adjustment
for MindManager 6 users because while all the same features are available
in addition to the new stuff, it's grouped in a different way. Our
view is that the Ribbon interface in Microsoft Office 2007 and in
products such as MindManager Pro 7 makes a lot of sense. Basically,
the ribbon approach is meant to group contextually similar features
and functions in the same place. The future of ribbon interfaces appears
to hold more dynamic functionality, automatically grouping and displaying
or removing items as you work on a particular project. At the moment,
it works quite well, providing logical sets of features and functions
for each mode you select.
One of the most important enterprise and SMB planning developments
is formal risk assessment procedures, consultations, and
general risk analysis & planning. It's possible for
MindManager Pro 7 to fit into a variety of risk assessment
applications, but powerful as it is, MindManager is still
very much a manually tactile product. To understand MindManager,
you must learn it thoroughly and allow your ideas to float
free of constraints, trusting that after you actually get
everything into a mind map, creating arcs between dependencies,
points of failure and outright flaws will help to develop
some sort of basic model of risk during the creation of a
new idea, product or project. It's a learning curve that
some people should embrace, and which others will dislike.
But it's a fact of the product that using MindManager pro
7 means giving up some preconceived and possibly well practiced
habits and notions about how ideas and planning should evolve.
If you fail to temporarily set aside those habits and notions
as you start to learn and use MindManager Pro 7, you may
have problems coming to grips with the software. All we're
saying in this 'Con' is that keeping an open mind while learning
MindManager is worth the effort. Fine layout control over
map elements is not possible because there's no nudge function,
i.e., your keyboard arrow keys move focus from object to
object rather than moving or repositioning the objects in
small increments. This type of fine layout control is available
in most other object-oriented and page layout software. Curiously,
there's no map explorer function, something which would be
handy for dragging & dropping elements or objects between
Pros: Some of you may be somewhat apprehensive about trying
out a software product which clearly boasts significant power.
Don't be afraid. MindManager Pro 7 offers an Interactive
Quick Start Guide which essentially walks you through the
major areas of the software while instructing you in the
creation of a relatively simple mind map. Once you realize
how easy it is to use, Mind Manager might become an indispensable
tool for your idea development, product development, project
planning and management efforts. Planners, students, designers,
project managers, product developers, business developers,
sales managers, marketers, merchandisers and many others
can benefit from MindManager Pro 7. It can't do your work
for you, but it sure can help you (and your partners, team
members, co-workers, associates and so on) better visualize
and understand ideas, projects and plans. Our business test
environments throughout the review period drew praise for
easing collaboration and for sustainable improvements in
productivity. Our student testers used MindManager for everything
from note-taking to project planning. Mindjet offers a number
of highly informative Webinars (web/online seminars) on the
product web site. Extensive integration with Microsoft Office
2007 including dynamic updating of Outlook tasks contained
in a mind map. You'll find MindManager Pro quick access buttons
in each Office 2007 component program. A number of excellent
third-party MindManager Pro add-ins are available including
2007 which adds
a robust Microsoft Project-like component to MindManager,
and IntelliGantt which
is used for creating Gantt charts within maps. We were able
to integrate dynamically updating RSS feeds (from several
different blogs) into different parts of various maps—useful
for including current status and other details from various
sources without having to enter it manually or otherwise
edit maps. Large user base, active user forums on the Mindjet
web site. MindManager Pro 7 remains an unusually useful and
amazingly creative product. Highly recommended.