Why does MindManager Not Sweep Across Multiple Maps?

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  • Updated 6 years ago
I'm tired of banging my shins on this same problem and since it's the start of 2015, thought I would see what suggestions the collective power users here could come up with.


I run my 3 companies off of whatever the latest version of MindManager (MM) is and Microsoft OneNote. I put the action items and links to external resources in MM and link it to pages in ON where I create content. I then filter the current week's must-do's using the filter.

But it's all in one huge, honkin' uber-map which is awkward as hell to find quickly anything .

For years I used a great (at the time) MM add-in called ResultsManager. RM solved the problem of the uber-map overload by allowing multiple maps, maps for projects that are so large, they warranted their own maps, and RM would sweep all the maps for action items and bring them into one dashboard.

It was a GREAT program and to this day, there's a part of me that still mourns its loss.

I think RM had 2 problems: 1) cost. This "add-in" was nearly the cost of a MM license at that time $300+. But the nail in the coffin for me was the smart guys who created it couldn't seem to keep pace with MM updates and broke every time MM released an update and then I spent time setting everything back up to work with RM instead of it working with me.


From a multi-project management perspective, the Mindjet trainings and webinars aren't much help because I feel that Mindjet focuses exclusively on corporate users who only have to manage one aspect of a project or only have one project to manage. When I see the simplistic maps used in their demos, I don't know whether to despair or laugh because they don't look anything at all like mine.

For example, my posting this came out of the frustration of wanting to use a 100 day book project map that I could just filter by week and know what task had to be completed that week in order to arrive at a finished and published book by the end of the 100 days...

For 2015 I have an aggressive book and product release schedule -- a new book and new product every quarter. Just the book map alone has so many moving parts over time that it should have its own map. Same with the product creation/release map. And that's to say nothing of the ongoing social media map elements and products for my existing lines.

But to put that into my MM uber-map which is already distractingly overpopulated with ongoing other projects and initiatives...

It just becomes all too much...

So while yes, I could filter by week. But here's the problem with filtering and using it: if I decide to search for something that is not included in that week's filtered view, then I have to remove the filter, go search for what I want , then reapply the filter so as not be overwhelmed by all the items I keep my focus on just what needs to be done...

It's cumbersome.

So I think one of two things are in play...

Either I'm doing it ALL WRONG or... there's a sizable hole of usage that Mindjet is not addressing.

Personally, I'm hoping it's me and not them. Because I can always learn the right way to do it. In other words, I can fix me and the way I'm doing it. But if MM is not set up to work this way... I'm barking up the wrong tree.

I've used other solutions like MS Project etc and I always come back to MM because as crippled as it seems to be in this area, it's what works best for me. My mind seems to work visually better than any other way.

So, suggestions? Best practices? For those here who run multiple projects, how do you do it? Appreciate the feedback.

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Walter Terry

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Posted 6 years ago

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Patrick Baker

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Hi Walter 

Patrick here from Mindlogik Ltd. in New Zealand . Quite a coincidence as I had a similar discussion just yesterday. Try substituting OneNote with EverNote as this product is function rich and more versatile and lends itself well to research making it a great  for managing and collating complex information and text, notes , etc. there is no tight integration with Evernote but  using both products functionality for context specific work might just be a  'solution' - crude but quite effective. 

Had a bit of a quick search and found this functionality in MyThings from Necsus Consulting. 
This might meet your requirements ? 
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Walter Terry

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Evernote is a non-starter for me for several reasons, not the least of which is lack of digital ink capability. Besides, it doesn't solve the sweep across multiple maps. Thanks for the MyThings suggestion but I didn't see anything there that solves the problem.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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First, I understand a version of ResultsManager has been released for V15 of MindManager. I don't know what it's like as I find RM a bit too complex for my needs, but it may be worth checking out if you liked previous versions.

Second, if you want to produce a dashboard map either to cover multiple maps or to produce a summary of a complex map there is a workaround involving Outlook. In summary you send tasks from your project planning maps to Outlook as well as sending Outlook categories to MM, which you can then apply from within MM to these tasks. You then create a separate map and use MM's capacity to create Outlook queries to populate the new map to show, for example, which tasks across all your maps are due in the next week.

There are a few more steps in the process which I'm writing up in a couple of posts on my own blog. I'll post a link here when the posts are completed.
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Walter Terry

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Hi Alex, Thanks for your suggestion and, I should have specified that I did not want to use this Outlook work-around. I only use Outlook to get email and keep task management out of the loop.

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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Walter, you don't actually have to do anything with the MindManager tasks in Outlook if you don't want to under the approach I described.

After the tasks are sent to it from the main project maps, Outlook just functions as a "parking lot" for these tasks so you can access them via MM's Outlook queries in the dashboard maps. About the only thing you have to do in Outlook itself is set up the categories, but once these have been sent back to the project maps via a dummy task, project design and assigning categories can be carried out from the project map end while status reporting and updating of the tasks can be done from the dashboard maps.

While you can of course also review and update tasks within Outlook you don't have to and Outlook can remain entirely passive through this process. This approach might be problematic if there were other tasks you were managing through Outlook that you wanted to keep completely separate from those in your MM project maps, but if as you say you currently use Outlook only for email this shouldn't be an issue.

I agree that it would be ideal if this could all be done within MindManager but as Nick notes making this work isn't a trivial task. You need some form of database of tasks which I understand is what RM offers, or the much simpler table form of Outlook tasks. Until Mindjet develop something like this themselves these appear to be the only choices.

As purpose-built software RM is obviously a lot more sophisticated, but that does mean that it is expensive and as an add-in it is also susceptible to problems every time there is an upgrade to MM. The Outlook approach I've outlined is much more basic but at least it's free if you have Outlook already and less likely to be broken by an MM update (though with Mindjet you can never be sure about that).

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Nick Duffill, Champion

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As Alex mentioned, ResultsManager v3 is still available and supports current versions of MindManager. ResultsManager v2 was alive for many years (from 2003 onwards) and survived a number of changes in MindManager, but an issue in MM2012 was fatal and could not be worked around, requiring a complete redesign and re-write.

The underlying cause is that MindManager maps are independent files, and maintaining real-time dashboards of data scattered in passive files is not straightforward. If MindManager was designed to work with very large files, or had multiple maps in the same file, then that would be a start, but its internal architecture does not scale well.

There are other technologies, but the sheer usability and productivity of mind maps is a benefit that once enjoyed is very difficult to give up.
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Walter Terry

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Nick, I remember there were 2 instances where RM did not keep pace with MM updates, one in 2013 and one in 2014. Respectively, I believe that was MM 13x and 14x. So that is more recent that "MM2012."

And weeks if not months went by before a ver of RM was released. Eventually I had to uninstall/not continue with the trial -- move on and find other ways to accomplish the same thing. Obviously, because of this post, the search and frustration continues.

RM points it's finger at MM as the problem and MM points at the add-in developers as the problem. As the end user, I don't care who started it, I just need it to work. If I'm going to depend on a technology then it needs to be dependable and as such, so does it's support.

I just wanted to add, as I stated at the outset, I've been a HUGE fan of RM and my comments are not meant to denigrate the idea of it nor the hard work of its creators bringing it to market.

And thusfar, I've been able to depend on MM for at least the framework of what I need.
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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I've just posted the first two articles in my series on using Outlook with MM to create dashboard maps that can provide an overview of tasks across multiple maps. You can start with part one here.
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Ary Velstra, Expert Trainer

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Do you have a specific reason why you don't use Mindjet tasks? I use that for my companies to achieve similar goals and to avoid the same problem with huge maps.

and/or have you ever investigated the addin topic tracker? http://www.olympic-limited.co.uk/product/topic-tracker/

I may very well be that I don't quite understand your goal and objectives but it is always good to checkout alternatives that may help.
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Thierry Lutece

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Yes Alex, ResultsManager is a bit complex but it allows me to do MY GTD dashboard.RM allows me to create a dashboard according to MY needs and according to the GTD principles (context, areas, next action ....) I can not do it with Mindjet tasks.

My efforts to understand how this tool works have been rewarded.
I did not find better than RM to design the dashboard GTD I need.

I do not think that this RM tool is expensive. Every day, it allows me to be more efficient, it saves me time. RM saves me more than it cost me.

Oui Alex, ResultsManager est un peu complexe mais il me permet de faire MON tableau de bord GTD.
RM me permet de créer un tableau de bord GTD en fonction de MES besoins et en fonction des principes GTD .
Je ne pourrai pas le faire avec Mindjet tasks.
Mes efforts pour comprendre comment fonctionne cet outil ont été récompensés.
Je n'ai pas trouvé mieux que RM pour concevoir le tableau de bord dont j'ai besoin.
Je ne pense pas que l'outil RM est cher. Tous les jours, il me permet d'être plus efficace, il me fait gagner du temps. RM me fait gagner plus qu'il ne me coute.