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Review: JCVGantt for MindManager X5

JCVGantt for MindManager X5
$99
I and A Research, Inc.
Saint Sauveur, Quebec, Canada
(450) 227-7250
www.iaresearch.com

I've written about MindManager before, most recently in Developer Central #37. JCVGantt is a neat little add-on for MindManager that makes it possible to seamlessly meld your brainstormed mindmaps with a more traditional project-planning view of the world.

The idea here is pretty simple. MindManager, of course, is designed to build freeform brainstorming diagrams. They look a little bit like starfish, with a central node and subsidiary branches radiating out to some arbitrary depth. A Gantt chart, on the other hand, is the prototypical project-planning chart, with bars indicating the duration of tasks and lines indicating their dependencies.

What JCVGantt does is add a Gantt chart to MindManager. The nodes in the mind map are converted to tasks on the Gantt chart, and the hierarchical relationship of the mindmap is used to determine the grouping of tasks. This immediately transforms your artistic, brainstorming mind map into something that the hard-nosed manager in you can use for planning.

But the connection doesn't stop there. JCVGantt maintains a live, two-way link with your MindManager map. Rearrange nodes on the map and the Gantt chart gets rearranged to match. Change task information in the Gantt chart and the new task info gets associated with the correct nodes in the mindmap. The net effect is to make the Gantt chart just another view of the mind map. Overall, this works out very well, especially if you have the screen real estate (or multiple monitors) to have both showing at once.

The application comes with an excellent help file, including some suggestions on how to use it effectively in various situations depending on your level of management. If mind mapping is catching on at your organization, this could be a good next step.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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