MindView Round Up

April 21, 2011

MV4-BE-Box-Front-medFor anyone interested in MindView and how the application can support you when devising strategy, planning projects or writing an article or report, here is a list of recent subjects covered, most recent first:

  • Managing a plan using task lists and timelines
  • Managing a plan with a Gantt chart
  • Managing a plan using MindView with MS Outlook
  • A simple planning procedure
  • Writing business reports
  • Meeting planning
  • Business continuity planning – crisis planning
  • Developing work procedures
  • Defining strategy and the action to implement it
  • Exporting mind maps to MS Excel.

To view the articles you can either click on the MindView “label” (not the Technorati tag) below this article or click on this link to list all the articles.

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In examining ideas on action planning for simple or small tasks, I’ve posted recently on how to manage the plans using Outlook and Project in conjunction with mind mapping software.  To draw this to a conclusion here are some ideas for using Word and Excel as well as the inbuilt timeline view within some mind mapping software (in this case MindView).

As before, the assumption is a quick planning exercise has identified what needs to be done and the tasks to achieve it.  These ideas have been captured, reviewed and refined as a map using software such as MindView.

Replace Garden Shed

Many people are comfortable working with simple lists.  The first thing we can do with a mind map entered into a mind mapping application is to use the outline view to create a simple list.

Replace Garden Shed outline

If the preference is to work with the list using MS Office, the map or outline may be exported to Word.  The advanced export dialogue will allow you to select which task attributes to export, such as start and end dates and completion status.

Replace Garden Shed Word

An option many people may prefer is to export to Excel.

Replace Garden Shed excel 

A final option, and perhaps one with a more unusual and appealing visual style, is to use the inbuilt timeline view.  This gives a good feel for the loading of tasks over time and is often received better by those not familiar or comfortable working with Gantt charts.


Replace Garden Shed timeline

The trick with timelines views is to filter or focus on just a few tasks at a time or the timeline gets to busy.  here the example just presents the key information for the garden shed project – the main delivery steps.  Sharing a timeline view is easily done using a PDF export or print.


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Previously, in Managing a Simple Plan, I have illustrated how a simple plan might be managed using MS Outlook and mind mapping software (MindView).  Using the same starting point the plan might also be managed using a Gantt chart.

Making a Plan

As before, follow the 5 step procedure to create a plan. 


Replace Garden Shed

In this instance I’ll use the plan referred to previously for replacing my garden shed. 

The initial ideas for the plan are added to the MindView template and refined until the list of steps is satisfactory. 

Add dates to each step to be included in the plan.


To get a Gantt view of the plan using MindView is simplicity itself –  from the “View” menu, select the “Gantt” view.


All the elements of the plan are listed as tasks in the MindView Gantt view.  The timeline is created automatically from the dates entered previously, creating the typical Gantt view of tasks over time.

Replace Garden Shed Gantt

If you go on to manage the plan using MindView you can update the tasks with progress and status or you can edit tasks and add new ones.  MindView also includes a project reports function which creates a snapshot of the project for viewing in a browser.

Replace Garden Shed report

Or if you prefer you can export the plan to MS Project.

Replace Garden Shed Project

Presenting Project Timelines

February 22, 2011

tmp2 Gantt charts are most commonly used by project managers to represent activities and milestones over time.  These work well however there are times when an alternative form of presentation would be nice.  Not everyone new to projects and project management understands or appreciates Gantt charts, for instance.

One alternative is a timeline.  There are many ways of creating these using software but one of the easiest to maintain might be that produced by MindView.  MindView can take a project plan – whether a mind map created in MindView (or MindManager) or in MS Project – and prepare a timeline view with just a few clicks.  Programme - timeline filter

As with most things, too much detail can hide the key messages, so filter the items to show just what you need.

Milestone Planning

June 28, 2010

Question: Is there an effective way of producing a milestone plan using mind mapping software?

image Mind mapping and other visual mapping techniques are great for generating a list of milestones for a project.  Using mind mapping software, the milestones are created as a set of topics.  Most mind mapping software will let you set “when” dates and owners (probably as “resources”) for each milestone. 

mileYou will also have a range of formatting choices and structures to alter how the milestones are displayed.  This is a great for a simple set of milestones.  Next you will want to add dependencies between milestones, to create what some practitioners might call a milestone path.  You will create these dependencies using relationships.  The normal links between topics and the parent or central topic are not relevant to the milestone path and many mind mapping applications will let you hide these.

MilestonePlanSo far so good.  Now, what if you want to add sub-milestones or high level activities to each milestone?  In milestone planning, these sub-milestones need to be achieved (or passed) on the way to reaching the overall milestone.  Before it can be said that Milestone 1 has been reached, Sub-Milestones 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 have to be reached first.  Such a scenario is normally modelled in linear fashion (in logical and chronological sequence) and in appearance might look like an inverted hierarchy. 

imageMind mapping software generally assumes a "top-down” hierarchy – but this would place the milestone above or before its sub-milestones, as in this example. 


Graphic1What we want is the sub-milestones to come before or above the milestone “parent”, as in this mock up.


imageA compromise solution is to accept the in-built top-down hierarchy as is and to use relationships to indicate the sequence in which the milestone plan is to be read.  It might look good but its not necessarily easy to understand.

Has anyone else tried mapping milestone plans using these tools? 

What solutions did you come up with?

Visual Documentation

June 22, 2010

Back in 2007 I created a visual CV, based on an original idea by Michael S Scherotter (see Visual CV).  Recently I’ve been preparing project briefs (or terms of reference) and communication plans that can be documented on a single sheet of A3 paper, an idea adapted from the Toyota “A3 Problem Solving Report” approach. 

imageThe initial results were fit for purpose but lacked visual impact.  Using MindManager and the ideas developed in the Visual CV work I was able to create a visual template to capture the project brief. 

The beauty of using MindManager is that the template is very flexible.  If a section expands and a column becomes out of balance with the others, one can simply move a topic or two to other columns to restore the balance.

The terms of reference template loosely follows a simple standard I was taught many years ago …. BOSCARD.

  • B – Background
  • O – Objectives
  • S – Scope
  • C – Constraints
  • A – Approach
  • R – Reporting
  • D – Deliverables.