Below are my responses to what I think needs to be done by Mindjet development to save MindManager and make big Mindmaps functional.  Today with MindManager MindMaps, when a map gets ‘too’ big the map is almost worthless.  It becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees.  Below are some of my insights as a long time MindManager user to fix and even save this great software from a premature demise.

 

First question: What is a big map? In other words, when you think β€œThis is a big map!”, what makes you think that? Is it just the number of topics? The size when expanded? The behavior of MindManager when you are working with it? Where do you draw the line?

  • Anything that can not fit in a screen at 100% magnify is big.   Anything that can not print all subtopics on a single sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper is a very big map.
  • Big Maps can be simple or they can be complex.  Maps with more than 100 topics are complex.  Maps with more than 3 levels of sub topics are also complex.
  • From a file perspective, any maps that have more than 5 connections into Outlook are also going to be complex, same goes for excel or any other program.
  • Maps that have embedded pictures (not icons) tend to tax resources as well and can degrade usability.

Second question: What is in your big maps? Do all your maps become big, or just some of them? Why do some maps get big and others stay small?

  • Business Plans
  • Strategy maps
  • score cards
  • desktop configurations (all my stuff)
  • Process planning maps
  • Contract management maps
  • Website planning maps
  • Maps that plan out articles or white papers that end up being more than 1000 words in length


    Many of my maps become big.  When they become big, they also usually become worthless and non-functional.  When they start becoming big, I usually try and formulate a MindManager Exit Strategy (How Do I save this data and keep it useful before its lost in MindManager forever)  This usually means that I try and find a way to reformat the information into something that can be published and accessed for posterity.  Since MindManager maps are almost worthless when it comes to sharing with others (emotionally charged phrases there but definitely elements of truth in them) if I do not get large maps into another form, the effort of mapping the information is almost a wasted exercise other than my own self education.

My Large maps are usually transferred to one of these forms

  • Website Article via WindowsLiveWriter -> Content Management System  (PS I hope you guys are making progress with the WLW team)
  • Static Websites
  • Video tutorials or presentations
  • Clickable Flash mindmaps to be loaded on a website
  • PDF white papers

 

Third question: What do you do with your big maps? Do you break them up, or do they just get bigger and bigger?

I mentioned my MindManager Exit Strategy before.  I tend to break up maps as I create them today, hoping to avoid large map syndrome.  I used to embrace large maps.  However, that was when I worked in a bureaucratic setting.  Large mindmaps gave me a way to horde knowledge and in a corporation that translates to power and job security.  I don’t have to worry about that type of silly behavior today and for me today, knowledge is not power if its stuck on my hard drive somewhere.  If I can not share it, publish it, teach it, tutor with it, etc. its worthless information to me.  Large Mindmaps today are like dinosaurs stuck in a tar pit.  Their life expectancy is very very short.


Fourth question: What would you like to do with your big maps? Do you wish for specific features or abilities to deal with big maps better than you do today?

I do not think there is anything new in my request that will follow that I have not expressed every few months here on the boards, on the phone with your team, or anywhere else for that matter but I’ll hit the main points again.  πŸ™‚

  • The Notes section needs an html editor and that needs to include viewing live html
    • that would then give us the ability to embed YouTube video as one simple example
  • The program needs to be stable enough to handle large maps
  • Connections with Outlook are very poor and can make large maps almost impossible to open.  This needs to be fixed or solved with a different solution (see next bullet point)
  • MindManager needs a DB connection interface.   Microsoft has moved to the world of Proclarity and datacubes and scorecards and much more.  MindManager needs to be in this space.  MindManager needs to be able to connect into a database and return results based on mapping that can be configured with PerformancePoint .  Mindjet needs to get some super database programmers in house ASAP if you don’t have them already otherwise this is going to end up as a dead technology in the corporate sphere.
  • The DB connectivity would solve this next request, but if it doesn’t happen, MindMaps need to be able to be used by groups in real time across shared servers and also via the internet. 
  • MindManager could better handle the chaos views of large maps if they moved into 3d mapping technologies.  I’m thinking of a new view (like outline, map, presentation and then 3d)

 

So that’s what I see.  I think with these improvements this could be a great software program ready to endure another 10 years.  This would open up the software for many more corporations.  It would also make it functional for social networks, even lawyers working with contracts or for example say a Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer trying to organize a case and go to trial against a corporate giant.  This type of tool could level the playing field.

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