ResultManager 2.0, a new software solution from Gyronix, transforms MindManager X5 into an awesome tool for visually planning and managing your projects and actions.
MindManager has always been a great tool for visually diagramming all of the ideas, resources and action steps associated with a project. But it was almost impossible to extract the action items from a complex project map and manage them in a meaningful way — until now. ResultManager 2.0 scans your mind maps, looking for incomplete action items, and automatically creates dynamic “dashboards” to help you stay organized.
To understand what a dashboard is, think of it this way: ResultManager takes the content of your project maps, and uses sophisticated filters to create specialized views of them, enabling you to manage your projects and next actions with a new degree of clarity. In short, dashboards represent an advanced type of filtering that is layered on top of the basic functionality of MindManager.
While MindManager’s strength is in the initial definition of a project, ResultManager 2.0′s strength is it helping you to manage actions for those projects. “ResultManager 2.0 helps executives to visualize projects more completely, in ways that simple linear lists cannot,” explains Gyronix founder Nick Dufill. “It helps executives to visualize outcomes and then systematically define action steps needed to reach those objectives,” he adds.
One of the things that has me most excited about ResultManager 2.0 is the fact that it has been designed to support personal productivity expert David Allen’s methodology, “Getting Things Done” – better known as GTD to its ardent supporters. I have been a fan of GTD for several years now, and have found it’s almost Zen-like approach to managing projects and next actions to be very powerful. For many executives, the results of implementing GTD have been nothing less than extraordinary, giving them a greater level of clarity about their projects and next actions than they ever believed possible. The fact that Gyronix has built its latest version of ResultManager around GTD’s powerful, proven concepts is a pleasant surprise, indeed!
As you build a project mind map, you utilize ResultManager dialog boxes (which have been added to MindManager’s menus) to add projects and related activities to them. In the process, the program prompts you to enter relevant meta data — such as the date by which a next action is required, the project to which an action step belongs, and the contexts in which an action may be performed (for example, at work, on the phone, at home, etc.). This additional data is what ResultManager will later use to create its highly useful dashboards.
When you tell ResultManager 2.0 to create a dashboard, it searches all mind maps connected to your “map central” map (a mind map that contains links to all of your other maps), looking for action items for which you’re responsible. It then summarizes these action items in a separate dashboard map.
ResultManager offers two different dashboard modes to users of the program: An express mode, which offers only two simple dashboards that are used for GTD-based planning, and a power user mode, which gives you expanded access to many additional types of dashboards, plus the freedom to customize the existing dashboards or create your own from scratch. Let’s take a closer look at the two express dashboards:
The Getting It Done dashboard is a key element of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system. It displays activities that are due today, plus next actions organized by context. It also displays, on a separate map branch, any items that are overdue — a very useful feature!
When you’re working in any dashboard view, ResultManager gives you the option of turning callouts on or off. Callouts (something like the conversation balloons in comic strips) are used to display information about the project to which the activity belongs. If you click on the hyperlink in a callout, ResultManager will immediately display the source map containing the project. Projects and dashboards are also linked at a deeper level: If you make a change to an item in your dashboard, it is also reflected in the source map where the project data is contained. In this way, your project maps and dashboards always stay perfectly synchronized. That’s more useful than you may be able to imagine, because executives frequently find that seeing their projects and next actions in context often prompts them to modify them or add new elements to them.
In the Weekly Review dashboard, activities are divided into “committed” (meaning that you are committed to some sort of action on them) and “someday/maybe” (an idea file or repository for any projects or actions about which you have yet to make a commitment). This dashboard also groups together any activities that don’t have a next action specified, so you can make some decisions about them – a very thoughtful feature that makes it easier for you to “close the loop” on any open items.
In the power user dashboard mode, the activity dialog box displays many more options, including:
“Categories” and “areas” are not part of the Getting Things Done methodology. Rather, Gyronix included them in ResultManager to provide advanced users with an additional level of flexibility. If you choose to use these items, you can utilize them to track information that isn’t necessarily project oriented. Like other meta data in ResultManager 2.0, you can use categories and areas to create new dashboards to meet your needs.
If you are so inclined, you can tailor the underlying templates for ResultManager’s dashboards to your exact requirements. For example, you can reorganize the content of a dashboard so that displays the information that you tend to look at most often so that it is prominently visible within the structure of your customize dashboard.
ResultManager 2.0 could easily be a confusing program to use, because it adds another level of abstraction on top of the rich, multi-faceted visual mapping capabilities of MindManager. Also, some users of ResultManager 2.0 may be unfamiliar with the Getting Things Done methodology. Fortunately, Gyronix has done a great job of explaining the core concepts behind ResultManager and GTD in the program’s extensive but well-written help file. You can also download a PDF manual that helps you get up to speed quickly with ResultManager 2.0 and GTD.
If you are using MindManager X5 or X5 Pro as part of your job, ResultManager 2.0 is must-have. Chances are, it will help you to take your project management skills to the next level. If you are not currently using MindManager, this may be just the excuse you need to give it a try. I think you’ll find that visualizing their projects and their outcomes using MindManager with ResultManager 2.0 will give you a new sense of clarity that will help you to focus on getting the right things done.
There are two versions of ResultManager 2.0: The standard version is $150; while the pro version, which enables you to create your own dashboards, costs $280.