Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Now, Just One Damn Minute, Captain . . .*

In their latest newsletter (read it here), Mindjet CEO Robert Gordon seemed to overstate his case when claimed how well MindManager does project management.

Now for the record, I love MindManager. It's a great tool and I couldn't juggle the demands of 3 companies and a personal life without it. But by itself it can, at the most basic level, do an okay job at project management, but I think it's overstating the case to say things like this:

"MindManager provides a high-level overview even as it manages daily tasks. You never lose sight of the overall project goals. That's project management from start to finish."
Not entirely accurate there, Bob.

MM needs help and a lot of it to do effective project management. Yes, in the broadest sense of the phrase it does provide a high-level overview (and btw, isn't it redundant to use "high-level" and "overview" in the same sentence?).

And he goes further and claims that "You never lose sight of the overall project goals."

Oh yeah, Bob? Have you actually used your product to manage projects? To manage multiple projects scattered across several maps? If you have tasks on one or two maps removed from the main, I promise you -- they're out-of-sight/out-of-mind unless you engage in the convoluted hokey-pokey of filtering by criteria.

And if that's the case, then "that's what it's all about." For you.

Then he finishes with what I'm sure is meant to be the victorious flourish that drives his point home: "That's project management from start to finish."

No it's not, Bob. With all due respect. Some key features to do effective PM have been left out of that little "high-level overview" over yours.

For example, how does MindManager automate the typical PM tasks like reviewing? Even Jason Womack, one of the head trainers of the Getting Things Done process says that "If you're not doing the review, you're not doing GTD."

And what about automating repetitive chores of project management? Sweeping up overdue project elements? Being able to survey the Empire Of Your Life (see Kyle McFarlin's excellent post "You Are Rome") according to what you want to focus on in that phase? And what about doing all of that simply, easily and quickly?

Not MM's forte on any of those points.

Furthermore, how does MindManager alert you to tasks that have become overdue and keep them in front of you 'til you handle them?

Granted, you can use the tasks icons and filter everything in MindManager -- but it's really tedious and I'd bet that most don't keep going through all those extra steps after the initial novelty wears off.

"MindManager transforms captured data into actionable knowledge that project managers can use to make better decisions, communicate more effectively, and guide the project to a successful completion."
Frankly, someone over there needs to quit sniffing the marketing glue. Cheeky, I know, though I mean it with all due respect.

But MindManager does not in fact do that. What actually 'transforms captured data into actionable knowledge' for project managers is a tool like ResultsManager. I really like ResultsManager as would anyone who's profited tremendously from an effective tool.

MindManager needs ResultsManager (or something like it) to complete the full PM monty. And RM won't work without MindManager -- so they need each other.

Together the bolster the other's weaknesses and create an unbeatable project management tool. Otherwise it's only half a solution and as my mentor Werner Erhard was fond of saying, "Being half-assed is bad no matter which cheek you have left."

Nudge. Wink. Send.

*= In the early days of the Internet, a .wav file was circulated for attaching to the Windows "Critical Stop" event. It was a voice impersonator (and a damned good one) of Mr. Spock saying something he would never say during the classic series, "Now just one damn minute, Captain!"


Blogger 天方 said...

Oh,I like results manager.
However,I am not very good at customizing the template.

9/12/2006 04:10:00 PM  

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