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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Writing Business Reports with MindView

When creating a business (or any other kind of) report a good place to start is to note down your thoughts and ideas using a mind mapping tool, such as MindView 4.  Normally you will want to end up with a nice text document that you can issue, using MindView you can export your mind map to Word very easily to achieve a finished product.
Structure
Once the initial ideas are entered you can then move them around, establish a sequence and consolidate ideas.  New ideas will occur during this initial process and can be added quickly to the map.
Text placement
Having established the report structure, text can then be added to each element. You might begin by adding the text as sub-branches to the the report headings.  If you can, rather than creating sub-branches, add the text as text notes.  This makes the export to Word very simple and results in very little further editing being needed. 
Text notes
MindView works with Word templates by assuming that branches equate to headings and sub-headings in the report - assigning Word "Heading" styles to these in hierarchical fashion ...."Heading 1", "Heading 2" and so on.  If you leave any text as a branch this will be assigned a Word heading style. 
For efficiency and near perfect results on the export first time, make sure your text is held as text notes against the relevant branch.  Text notes are normally exported as the Word style "Normal".  This means that you can add text at any level of the report and have it come out formatted consistently throughout the document.
Doc
So when creating a business report using MindView, remember:
  • Headings at any level - create as branches
  • Text - create/paste as text notes attached to the relevant branch.
Footnote:
If you do create body text as sub-branches you can cut and paste these as text notes.  This is a little tedious but saves lots of time fiddling with Word styles later.  MatchWare might want to look at the process of converting branches and multiple branches to text notes to make this restructuring of initial ideas even easier.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Strategy Into Action - Workshop Example

In previous posts I introduced an approach to defining strategy and the action plan that will implement it.  See:

The approach lends itself particularly well to group work in workshops.  Prior to the workshop, individuals or teams each prepare their part of the vision and some initial ideas of what needs to done over a given time period. 

They arrive at a working draft by progressing through a number of stages:

  • answering focus questions
  • identifying key directions
  • entering the details of their emerging vision on a template
  • entering their ideas for an action timetable on another template
  • transferring the template entries to flip charts ready for the workshop.

image

One idea for a workshop is to invite other managers and experts to help the teams review their initial ideas. 

Vision EGTimetable eg

 

The pre-prepared flip charts are posted up and everyone encouraged to walk around, understand the content and ask questions. 

 

 

 

New ideas can be logged directly on the flip charts or as PostIts.  This might be broken down into simple steps:

  • Walk around, read and understand the flip charts
  • Ask questions, make challenges and suggest ideas
  • Further review of the annotated vision and timetable
  • Consolidate any cross-team components such as overall headcount, costs and benefits
  • Finish with an open session to identify next actions.

 

Thursday, 10 March 2011

MindManager 9.2 Now Available

MindJet have announced the release of MindManager 9.2.  Enhancements include:

  • Topic alerts - now operate without MindManager being open
  • Support for task duration of less than 1 hour
  • Gantt view filtering
  • Task dependencies now compatible with MS Project
  • Cut and paste marker groups between maps
  • and more .........

Gantt Filtering

See the latest post on the MindJet Blog.

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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Service Pack 1 for MindView 4

imageMatchware have released Service Pack 1 for MindView 4 and MindView 4 Business Edition.  You can access the update by running MindView and letting the software check for updates automatically - this will open your default browser and take you to the download page. 

Or you can go to the by clicking here to go straight to the download page and start the download.

Follow the instructions and MindView 4 will be updated to build 150.

The download page lists the changes made in this version.

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New, Faster Biggerplate

Just launched is the new, faster Biggerplate - the mind map library for MindManager maps.

image

The new site features:

  • bulk upload - up to 10 maps at a time
  • improvements to categorisation
  • automatic creation of map descriptions and tags
  • enhanced map previewing
  • copyright control
  • profile features that help promote yourself and your business.

Overall the site makes it much easier to find maps that interest you.  If you find a map by an author you like, you can quickly find other maps by that same author.  Perhaps the greatest improvement is the speed of the site, navigation from page to page, map previewing and downloading are all incredibly fast and easy.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Compact Maps with MindView

map

Large maps can become difficult to view.  A useful feature of MindView is the ability to compress a map by reducing the space between branches. 

 

This can be done by clicking on the “Compact Map”  from the “Design” tab.

compact button

Tip:  This feature is useful for viewing a large map as it nears completion or when you want to print a finished map.  However if there is more editing to do or new branches to add, turn this feature off.  Having “Compact Map” turned on can slow things down, I’ve found, so only turn it on when you need it.

compactmap

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