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MindManager 2016: Going with the flow...charts

This month we are excited to share the news that our friends at Mindjet have just launched MindManager 2016, the latest update to their ever-popular mind mapping software!

So, what's new, what's different, and what's sexy? Well, to sum it up in one word: Flowcharts.

Ok, so that's not all there is, but it's certainly the new feature that seems likely to get the most attention. And yes, it is quite sexy...

BREAKING NEWS: Mind maps not always the best tool for the job...

We've been saying for many years that mind mapping software is the missing link and the must have tool for modern information workers. However, at the same time, we've also said that we must get clearer on the contexts in which mind mapping may or may not not be the right tool for the job. We need to understand when we should use a mind map, and when a different approach might be more appropriate and therefore effective.

We've seen people hack together flowcharts with mind mapping software before, using features like floating topics and relationship lines. And we've seen people trying to force complex conditional/sequential information (that naturally belongs in a flowchart) into a traditional mind map structure. The result in both cases is at best under-whelming, and at worst, deeply confusing.

Disclaimer: When I say "we've seen people", what I really mean is I've done this myself... repeatedly, and always with the same disappointing outcomes. I'm a slow learner.

Previously as MindManager users, if we knew our makeshift flowchart was a bit crap, or that we've forced flowchart-friendly information into a mind map structure that adds little value, we had to choose one of the following options:

A) Pretend it's all great and carry on anyway...
B) Throw computer out of room and go live in cave because everything is a disaster...
C) Jumped over to an alternative bit of software to do the flowchart properly...

Well, no more. Dramatic pause...

Thanks to the team at Mindjet, the pretenders can stop pretending, the cave dwellers can return, and you can avoid opening up another application, and simply get flowcharting (yes it's a word) within MindManager 2016 instead!

It's MindManager Jim, but not as we know it

The nice thing here is that the new flowchart functionality will feel very familiar to MindManager users, and the learning curve is therefore very short. You'll be within the comfortable familiar surroundings of the MindManager software, but with some exciting new possibilities. All the same formatting features apply as in the mind map view, and you can also make use of the same task functionality that is used so extensively by MindManager users. You can also create little mind maps on the same canvas, using floating topics in the normal way, as illustrated here:

It's worth saying that Mindjet are not the first of the mind mapping software developers to add flowchart functionality, and we expect they won't be the last, as vendors increasingly seek to to build features or sister applications that handle what doesn't fit within a mind map, but which may be heavily linked to it. We view this as a positive trend in general, as it will help to greatly improve the understanding and clarity around where a mind map fits best, by helping to place it in the context of different processes and sequences that may involve other tools and approaches either before or after the mind mapping step.

We must know when to switch into a mind map, and (equally important) when to switch out. As such, making sure your own software users are catered for when they switch out of the mind map format is a wise move, and executed very well by MindManager 2016 with their new Flowchart capabilities.

Read more about the features and functions within MindManager 2016 on the Mindjet Website

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Liam is the founder of Biggerplate.com, and tries (with varying success) to write about key projects and progress at Biggerplate, as well as the wider world of mind mapping and our place within it.
London, UK Website