Saturday, 14 March 2009

Research Using MindManager

One of the values of mind mapping software identified by Chuck Frey (see Chuck Frey Reveals the Value of Mind Mapping Software) is managing information from multiple sources, such as when compiling research.  At first, the maps are used to gather notes from multiple sources. Next they are edited to consolidate the notes to create a single reference.  Finally they can be exported to other tools for further editing and formatting .

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The simple example here is based on research into a WW II British Army unit. Original source documents were consulted, being the war diary of the unit and that of its parent unit.  Each diary was created and maintained by month.

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The notes of interest were added to a MM map, one source at a time, each source being a first level topic. Second level topics provided a place to hang the details from each monthly chapter of the diaries.



The second step was to consolidate the notes to produce a single list of events, by month. This was done manually, with sub-topics being dragged and dropped to the relevant month. Then they were sequenced under their parent month topic.



The final step was to export to Word.


Friday, 6 March 2009

How Not To Do PowerPoint

image Following the posting on Michael Deutch's 10 tips for better presentations using mind maps, ( you might want to see another take on the dangers of using PowerPoint (or any other presentation tool) badly.  The material is by Edward Tufte, who you may be familiar with as a design expert on the presentation of information. 

Taken from the introduction to an essay on PowerPoint, Tufte writes:

"Alas, slideware often reduces the analytical quality of presentations. In particular, the popular PowerPoint templates (ready-made designs) usually weaken verbal and spatial reasoning, and almost always corrupt statistical analysis. What is the problem with PowerPoint? And how can we improve our presentations? "


It's also worth following the link on "Rocket Science" to see what Tufte makes of the impact of PowerPoint on decision making leading up to the Columbia Shuttle disaster.


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

MS Project Adapter for MindManager

image The latest from ApriorIT is the MS Project Adapter add-in for MindManager.  This great little tool allows you to work with MS Project data without the expense of buying Project.  imageThe tool works with XML files created by Project and imports them into MindManager.  You can then edit the project plan using MindManager.   At the moment the tool imports Project XML files into MM but the next version will do both import and export.  If you buy the import tool now, you can upgrade to import/export free when it becomes available.  This really is worth a try - it's so simple to use.  

imageThe Adapter installs a button on the MM ribbon - click this, select the XML file and the Adapter creates a new map with all the project tasks and associated information.  It even creates spreadsheet topics to hold resource and calendar data.  You can now collaborate with MS Project users using XML files.  I knew there was a use for XML.....

....and if you are a Mind2Chart user then you can work with a Gantt, edit resources and export to Excel.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Chuck Frey Reveals the Value of Mind Mapping Software

Map2ndView The results from Chuck Frey's latest survey are now available.  Chuck asked users what they thought was the essential value of mind mapping software. 

In summary the findings are:

  • Comprehensive idea management
  • Managing information from multiple sources
  • Making clarity out of confusion
  • Distributing information
  • More effective problem solving
  • Encourages an iterative approach
  • Sort both the forest and the trees.

Read Chuck's post at Mind Mapping Software Blog for further details and explanation.