In the third part of this “Getting more out of MindManager” series (To-Do lists, and Meeting Management) I want to share and show you how you can take your project planning and project management to a whole new level with MindManager version 9 for Windows. This is more that just listing out to-do lists and making sure steps are accomplished. MindManager comes with project planning templates as well as integrated Gantt charts and Resource management built right in so you know who on your team can do what work, when.
Most of us in business and professional roles have to plan and manage our work.If you have a task and it has many steps, it’s no longer a task, it’s a project. Sometimes we work on our own and sometimes we work with others. You may have to plan with a third party vendor, you may have to plan with your on-site team, or you may work with a geographically disbursed team. Managing these projects is not always done by a professional project manager and that is where MindManager will come in and help you out.
Often, many minds can come up with a way of solving a problem more effectively than a single mind. With MindManager, you can conduct an effective brainstorming meeting with your team at the outset. Once you have everything in your map, you can start to build out the project plan.
There are key dates you need to identify to make sure your project is on task. If you don’t indicate those dates in your plan, there’s no way to know where you are in relation to your deadline. MindManager offers a way of putting everything in one place for a high-level view of what your project is going to be, with the ability to ensure that each step in your plan is addressed.
For each of the steps you add to your map, you can indicate which person is assigned to that step. In the resource management pane, you create your list of members of your project team and assign resources accordingly. Now you have a complete resource view.
We all have different ways of processing information, and some people like the timeline, or Gantt chart view. In the Gantt view, you’re able to drill down to see what your resources are, who has too many things on her or his plate, or who can assume more tasks. MindManager allows you to see all this in a visual way and everything clicks.
You can share this plan so all team members are able to view what they’re responsible for and actually update their status themselves. With Catalyst, an add-on to MindManager, you can create project workspaces that are available to your team and assign them rights to view and update their own tasks. Your team members can indicate their percentage complete, add notes, say they’re ahead of schedule, or add a red flag that says, “Hey, I’m a little bit behind.” Your status meetings start running themselves because it becomes clear what everybody has to get done. Everyone has real-time access to your plan and can make updates from MindManager or from a web browser.
You may have planned projects with spreadsheets in the past but with spreadsheets there’s virtually no flexibility. There’s no ability to share. In a map created with MindManager, you capture all your data, and the map becomes your working plan. It becomes the tool you go to every day to make sure your project is on time and all team members can see all of the input in a single place.
People often say, “I’m included in so many projects. When I don’t know how one fits with another, it’s difficult to be efficient and stay on schedule.”
This is another place where MindManager can bring order out of chaos. MindManager allows you to create a personal dashboard with hyperlinks to each of the projects in which you’re involved. MindManager is flexible enough to fit your personal work style.
One of the beauties of MindManager is that it provides you with a set of standard templates within the application. They help you get started and begin to think about how to work effectively. Once you come up with a map that shows a process that’s perfect for you, you can save that map as a template. The next time you start a project, you can use the template that’s already been successful for you.