In this month’s installment of the Interview with a MindManager Customer blog series, we’re talking with Craig Curran-Morton, a project manager and facilitator who has been an avid MindManager user for close to 20 years.
Craig works extensively with MindManager in his role as a facilitator, project manager and instructor for a variety of different industries. We chatted with Craig about how he uses MindManager, and what he views are the biggest strengths of mind mapping for this line of work.
Here’s what Craig had to say:
How would you describe what you do for a living?
Craig: I’m the founder and owner of Flip Chart Collaboration Inc., a facilitation and training company that specializes project team and stakeholder engagement. In a nutshell, we assist organizations in overcoming their business challenges through conversation and collaboration. Additionally, Flipchart offers 6-day PMP Exam Prep workshops for professionals in project management.
Over the course of my career I have worked as a project manager for a wide range of industries and projects, including municipal and provincial government, mining, construction, engineering, electrical, distribution, finance and insurance.
“MindManager lets me manage large volumes of data in a single map, and navigate through that file with ease using tagging and filtering.”
How do you use MindManager, and how has this evolved throughout your career?
Craig: When I began using MindManager back in 1999, it was primarily a personal organization tool for gathering ideas and to-dos. As I got more comfortable with it, I began to move into some more advanced features like tags, icons and filtering, and then eventually into features like Priority View for organizing projects.
Apart from personal productivity, I also use MindManager as a tool in my facilitation workshops. Specifically, it’s great for brainstorming and categorizing ideas, and capturing meeting notes.
I’ve also now begun to use it to brainstorm, plan and present my entire 6-week course, in addition to using my maps as master databases or a “single source of truth” for all of my information. MindManager lets me manage large volumes of data in a single map, and navigate through that file with ease using tagging and filtering.
So, MindManager has moved from a personal productivity tool to one where I can now plan, develop and write all of my training materials and manuals, and then present those materials to my class.
“MindManager acts as the central tool for all parts of my course – planning, knowledge management and presenting.”
How do you use MindManager to plan your project management courses?
Craig: When I first started using MindManager to plan my courses, my typical process was to create the general course structure in a mind map, and then add more information using notes. I would then take that information and transfer it manually into a PowerPoint presentation. Eventually, however, I wanted to provide the class participants with something that was more robust than a print out of a presentation and more of an actual manual with lots of information and details.
That’s when I started to think of how MindManager could act as the central tool for all parts of my course – planning, knowledge management, presenting, and so on. My general course framework could be designed using the mind maps, and then all of the details I needed could be fleshed out in notes. This allowed me to format and add as much detail as I needed, and then export the whole thing into a fully formatted Word document, or manual.
After this, I also discovered the power of MindManager’s tagging, filtering and Presentation features. My course map could be tagged by day or topic and then filtered down to only show relevant information when it was needed. This, combined with the ability to present these trimmed down maps to my students, lets me bypass PowerPoint. I now do all of my course presentations in MindManager, and the students really enjoy the interactivity.
Why do you think MindManager is an effective presentation tool for your course?
Craig: I find it presents very well, it navigates well and it’s intuitive for the students to follow. Because of this, people commit to it readily and easily without a lot of explanation.
It also makes my life a lot easier as the presenter and course developer, because if I realize there’s a mistake or there’s valuable insight, I can instantly add it into the map. There’s also only my one central map to worry about. I don’t need to update an additional PowerPoint presentation or Word document. It can all be updated in one map.
How else do you use MindManager when teaching your workshops?
Craig: One huge time saver that I’ve discovered from using MindManager relates to quizzes and tests. I’ve created a master map of around 400 questions related to the overall course material, and categorized each question using tags. Then, using the filter feature, I can quickly create short 10-question tests on the topic we’re covering at any given time, and quickly export them to Word for handing out to students.
“In my opinion, the early stage of a project is perhaps the most important. MindManager is the ideal tool for this phase, because you can show the entire project charter on screen and get everyone’s buy in immediately.”
More generally speaking, how do you use MindManager for project management?
Craig: Firstly, I would consider myself a facilitating project manager, rather than a scheduling and task manager. So, at the moment, I use MindManager mostly for the early stages of a project. I find it extremely useful in facilitating project planning and gathering consensus from project team members and stakeholders.
Being able to lay out the project charter, the core features of the project plan, and then capturing new ideas and information from team members in real time is incredibly valuable. It’s by far the best facilitation tool I’ve ever come across because it’s visual, fast, transparent and intuitive. MindManager lets project teams capture information quickly and in a centralized, digital location. Team members can see me capturing their input in real time, allowing for faster and clearer exchanges of ideas.
In my opinion, the early stage of a project is perhaps the most important. That’s when you’re trying to define the scope of a project, and get buy in from the team. MindManager is the ideal tool for this phase, because you can show the entire project charter on screen and get everyone’s buy in immediately.
Want to see how MindManager can streamline your project planning?
You may be interested in our free, 30-day trial of MindManager. Get full access to all of the project planning and knowledge management features discussed in this customer interview. Get started with streamlining your project planning today!