The latest upgrade to Mindjet’s MindManager brainstorming and planning tool is a worthwhile one, giving access to more databases, better collaboration features and even better integration with Microsoft's Office productivity suite. Adding a Mindjet Connect or Web subscription would deliver even more productivity for project management teams.
Embedded Mindjet browser improves pulling web data into maps; more databases supported; Mindjet Player gives better collaboration with users not having MindManager client.
No support yet for searching SQL Server 2008 databases.
Mindjet's version 8 upgrade to its MindManager brainstorming and planning software offers a host of useful new features, principally better support for database, local and online topic searching, and the ability to share mind maps through exportable, dynamic, read-only PDF and Flash files.
The thinking behind Mindjet's package goes back to Tony Buzan, one of the proponents of visual thinking, or 'mind mapping' as it is now known. Having all information immediately to hand, whether through attached documents, hyperlinks or schedules, theoretically makes it easier for project and planning management teams to increase productivity.
This contrasts with the linear track normally associated with project management, and the propensity for documents not to be centrally accessible.
We installed MindManager 8 on Sony Vaio systems running Windows XP Professional and Vista Business, and could import maps created with the earlier version 7.0 package in under 10 minutes with no apparent errors or formatting problems.
New to MindManager 8 is the ability to produce dynamic read-only maps, which allows people not having the MindManager client to see the map content in PDF or Shockwave formats. Exporting maps to a PDF file and then viewing in Adobe Reader causes the Mindjet Player to fire up, which then plays the content.
We could also export to .SWF and play content using this method, and users having web sites or portals could choose to embed these read-only maps for public access. Advanced users can also get the MindManager Developer application programming interface and create their own web services functions.
MindManager 8 now sports an embedded browser, which can be opened on the right-hand side of the screen to view web content. When importing Microsoft Office Word files, these are opened in MindManager and can be edited on the right-hand side of the MindManager screen, with the notes stored as a topic attachment.
Database connectivity has also been enhanced in MindManager 8. When users press the insert tab in version 8, a new tab appears on the map sub-topic called 'databases', allowing them to add, browse, configure or manage database connections.
It was simple for us to pick up and connect to all the database connections we had, and query them for specific data. For example, we could connect to Excel spreadsheets containing specific data and search specific sheets for text strings. Column names can also be used as a sub-filter during the search, and we could add the search results straight into MindManager.