Friday, 30 May 2008

Collaborative Working with Mind Manager

I am a huge fan of mindmapping on paper as well as and 'mindmapping' electronically using Mind Manager by Mindjet. A few weeks back I was pleased to get an invitation to try out 'Mind Manager Connect' - their solution to collaborative working.

I've had a bit of a play with some of my work colleagues and it would actually address some immediate issues for us. Due to the nature of partnership working we frequently waste time travelling between sites for meetings (although there is a lot to be said for face-to-face communication). The solution from Mindjet could enable us to be more effective (as well as helping to convert a few more people to the benefits of the tool ;) ). I did notice that it makes use of NetViewer for elements of the collaborative platform (why design something from scratch yourself when you can make use of another industry solution?).

The main issue I see at the moment is companies not necessarily wanting to have their data hosted on external servers (although this attitude is changing with so many SAAS software-as-a-service offerings nowadays). When I asked Mindjet about this, they did suggest that there would be an internal hosting option available, although not at release.

Anyhow, here is an extract from their FAQ to further whet your appetites:

What is Mindjet Connect?
Mindjet Connect helps individuals and teams to work faster and more effectively using a dynamic, flexible online environment.

Combined with MindManager Pro 7 SP2 Beta or MindManager Web (coming soon), Mindjet Connect organizes, simplifies and streamlines the way people interact and share information they need - through secure workspaces, real-time collaboration and web conferencing.

Mindjet Connect helps to establish the context captured in visual maps while providing a collaborative platform for sharing and contributing information in secure workspaces.

People can co-edit visual maps in real-time, chat and launch web conferencing to present maps and other documents. The result is a high performance workplace where teams can work more productively anytime or anywhere.
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How can Mindjet Connect help me work more effectively in teams?
The speed of today’s business requires disparate teams to work together to accomplish more, faster. Mindjet Connect can help your team achieve more with every minute, and work together to accelerate success – productively.
Improve meeting efficiency

* Save time preparing for meetings by keeping all of your important files at your fingertips. Organize project workspaces with dynamic links to files so you always have the most up-to-date version.
* Get the right team members involved with an instant online meeting and collaborate with team members no matter where they are located.
* Brainstorm and Innovate. Enhance strategic thinking and facilitate quicker project planning by white boarding and co-editing visual maps with your team members, simultaneously. Your team can now share the same map and add topics, details, notes and attach file resources.

Manage projects to achieve more in less time

* Align objectives and actions, clearly. Create an environment where everyone can see and understand the relationship between themselves, resources and actions to the objectives of the project – helping achieve clarity and avoid wasted time.
* Foster participation and strategic thinking. Provide a common environment that makes it easy to capture and organize the best ideas, techniques and approaches to accomplish anything – with visual maps that are quickly understood and easily shared.
* Simplify and streamline business and interactive work processes – from one or two individuals to entire organizations.

Create context for information management

* Keep everyone on the same page by creating workspaces where Microsoft Office™ files and web content can be linked, stored and shared so everyone can access and use information more productively.
* Keep track of revisions and version history. Files can be checked out / checked in so everyone is on the same page, and fully up to date.
* Set access controls for who can be an owner, author or reader within a workspace.

Collaborate & communicate effectively

* Communicate in real-time with the ability to see who is online, view work being done by others on a map in real-time, and interact through a variety of online tools.
* Host web conferences to share any kind of file or application.
* Edit maps with your team members, simultaneously. Your team can share the same map and add topics, details, notes and attach file resources.

What are some of the notable features of Mindjet Connect Beta?

Co-editing visual maps - One of our most exciting new features. Co-editing allows multiple users on different computers in different locations to work on the same map at the same time. It’s true real-time collaboration over the Internet.

Instant Meeting - You can experience true virtual collaboration through the integration of web conferencing and white boarding sessions.

Secure Workspaces - Create new workspaces when you need them, for new projects, new teams and new clients. Then tailor your workspaces with access controls for invited members, locking and versioning of documents, integration with e-mail and importing of maps and secondary documents.

MindManager Web (coming soon, not available for beta) - Access your workspaces and collaborate anytime within a standard web browser. You’ll have access to your data, even when you aren’t at your own computer.

Other reviews:
The Mind Mapping Software Weblog
CABRE - Applications of Mind Manager

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Girl Geek Dinners

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am pretty passionate about women working in IT and that it is a little demotivating to hear stories about people leaving the profession and the number of girls who are not opting to study computing in it's various guises.

Thanks to a fellow woman referencing it on the BCS Women's discussion group I came across this article (website | PDF) in the Guardian about 'Girl Geek Dinners'.

Created by Sarah Blow, from what I can see it's another networking group that seeks to raise the profile of women working in IT. They have groups all over the world - perhaps it's time that this geeky imp checked them out ;)

Thursday, 22 May 2008

SFIA v4 Update - have your say

ITIL refresh... Prince 2 refresh... let's add another one to the list with SFIA (Skills for the Information Age)! This just in today from e-skills:

This is to let you know that consultation has now begun on the development of version 4 of the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). IT professionals, their employers and those responsible for their education and training are invited to participate by visiting ...

Everyone who has an interest in IT skills can comment on the existing skills definitions and make suggestions for new content. If you need any guidance on what is needed, you can see some notes on the SFIA web site at ...

... and there is a link from there to the Update site.

SFIA provides the most widely-accepted definitions of IT skills and is now used by more than 1,000 organisations to produce job descriptions and role profiles, support resource planning, and improve business effectiveness. It has been translated into Chinese and Japanese.

Quote: "The great strength of SFIA is that it is based on actual best practice in the workplace. Users can therefore be confident that it provides a tried and tested solution to their IT skills management needs."

The consultation will run through to September and SFIA version 4 is due to be released before the end of 2008.