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Project management software review: Mindjet

Barry Kleine
December 19, 2011

I have been using MindManager for almost eight years. It’s a valuable tool that I have used across a range of applications in my day-to-day work.

In case you haven’t heard of this collaborative software, Mindjet’s visual information tool MindManager 2012 is designed for professionals looking to spark ideas and collaborate with their teams to get great outcomes and drive productivity. It can be used on the go, as it integrates with Mindjet’s cloud-based service Connect, so you can share your maps with anyone on any device. I have the Mindjet iOS app installed on my devices, as do other members of the ABB team.

I work with teams on projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region to review and streamline processes. My role is both as a manager and an intermediary, using MindManager to help teams across all levels of a business to identify bottlenecks and solve common issues that the teams face.

I often find myself dealing with the human factors in a project—managing timing, budget, productivity and the like is often the easy part—it’s managing the team’s expectations and needs that often require the most thought and planning.

I think what’s key in my position is that I’m not just helping to improve projects from a technical standpoint but aiming to make life easier for everyone by reducing their daily frustrations by including them in the process of identifying issues.

For example, collaborating when filtering an engineer’s plan for the project down to tradesmen on the ground or identifying key staff frustrations on a site, can help clarify what needs to be fixed. It’s impressive that a mind-map can give such clarity to our workplace.

The software itself gives me the ability to visualise all the actions I will need to take in a single view simplifies organising and prioritising tasks, and I can use the visual cues to easily identify what actions are needed next. The built-in Gantt chart, colour coded priority symbols, and percent complete markers, also greatly assist with task management. Since using MindManager, I have achieved over 95% of my objectives. Can everyone say that about their objectives?

I often train teams, and I find MindManager is great tool to break down training activities. An overview of the training process can be shown on one page, but any detailed actions can be added to the chart as a clear reminder of what needs to be completed at each step. Having used this across many workplaces, the visual manner that MindManager displays information allows the staff to retain concepts more easily.

MindManager’s functionality makes it easy to enter and move the comment fields within the map itself. I also regularly use standard maps I have developed, and drag and drop from one to the other, which saves a lot of time. This tool also helps to cement a better understanding about how the workflow issues and solutions fit together and has made tasks, such as investigations, several times faster. I’m able to assess problems across a range of departments including human resources, sales, finance and OH&S.

We have a large investigation outlining the reasons companies lose profitability: it details 4,000 reasons, which can be prioritised and turned into an action plan. Held in MindManager and called the ‘Loss Map’, it helps us answer the question ‘What are the biggest challenges impacting my company’s profitability?’

ABB’s Loss Map had a significant impact in turning many business processes around and won our company’s global award several years ago. The award was based on feedback from employees and a senior review team analysing the level of innovation, usefulness, potential value to both ABB and customers, and ease of use.

Another function I use heavily is the hyperlinks. I can hyperlink my recent documents within one overview. By creating topics and subtopics, then linking to files, folders or maps, I can generally find any document I need within three clicks and five seconds. This is a productivity boon, and has saved me a lot of time searching.

While it doesn’t replace MS PowerPoint or Word, I’ve found MindManager is easier, more interactive and faster to navigate, so it has complemented them in many of my work applications.

When it comes to brainstorming, prioritising and reminders, I have yet to find a situation where this program is not useful. Personally, I am using MindManager to learn Spanish and to remind me what to pack when travelling on my next trip.

In terms of investment, I find the initial cost is a factor in how many staff can use the software. However, for those within the organisation who will use it frequently, the increase in efficiency, better understanding of a topic and project or task tracking, the software will quickly pay for itself. For me professionally and personally, I can’t live without this tool.

For more information on Mindjet MindManager, see

Guide to project management tools, and collaboration software at Mindjet’s blog.

Barry Kleine
Barry Kleine is a certified maintenance and reliability professional. His career spans 21 years specialising in reliability maintenance in heavy industry. He works for leading engineering company ABB and has been responsible for the global ABB maintenance training program for the last seven years.
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