I have worked in Information Technology (IT) for more than a dozen years. However, I am in the position of having a dominate right brain in a left brain industry. It’s why I never got into programming, but did well with website design and applying HTML programming to get visual results. For me to process information well, it really helps to have a visual component. That’s where an amazing product like Mindjet MindManager 2012 comes in.
MindManager is mind mapping software. What this program does is provide a way to visually organize data in a way that’s surprisingly clear and easy to understand. I instantly fell in love with it after seeing how easily you can create a project and assign both assets and tasks. Prior to using this software, the same thing would have been done in some boring Word document with a bunch of bulleted or numbered lists. This just works so much better.
Mind mapping is a technique where you build a sort of informational solar system with a central idea in the middle and everything else built around it and interconnected. From a technical standpoint, it’s sort of like drawing out a database with linked keys. Anybody that has ever dabbled in database design knows that it can be cumbersome, especially if you are inexperienced. MindManager works in a way that’s much easy to understand because anybody can look at how the details are laid out and understand what’s there.
The interface for this application is quite simple to use. You start with a central idea and then start adding branches to it. It’s just like making a list in a Word processor. You click a button to create a branch and then start typing in it. As you add information, the software automatically positions everything for you. If you need to move stuff around, just click and drag. From simple projects with a couple of attachments to very complicated matters, you can build them all with this program. When it’s all finished, your mind map will look sort of like a flowchart.
Furthermore, you can create linked data to the info in your chart. You could add a project with links to a network share folder with documentation, program installs, and so on. Not only can it be used to organize processes and information, but it also serves as a menu/interface to what is needed. This isn’t just for making pretty visuals – you can work out of it.
This program fully integrates with Microsoft Office, but that should be expected. As an added bonus, it includes Mindjet Connect, which is a free web-based version of the MindManager software that offers collaborative options for users to share information. The online version doesn’t offer as many features as the locally installed one, but it’s still a great way to share your mind maps.
I would highly recommend Mindjet MindManager 2012 to anyone who works in project management because of how well it lets you organize and share information. Anyone that deals with processes and organizational details could benefit from this application. Versions of this program are also available as mobile apps, but I have not tested them.
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