Saturday, May 24, 2008

Matthew Middleton- Real World Uses of MindManager 7

I had the opportunity to interview Matthew Middleton this past week on how he uses visual mapping tools and techniques to accomplish the work that he does. I find it incredibly interesting to learn how others are using MindManager 7 as well as other visual mapping tools to solve real world problems. You can learn more about the tools and techniques of visual mappng at the October 3, 2008 Conference: IQ Visual Mapping- A Systematic Framework for Business Success. So hold the date and hope to see you at the conference.

Here is some background information on Matthew which I thought you would be interested in knowing. Matthew has been working in I.T. in various roles for about 3 years now,
and is currently working as a Software Tester with PlateSpin ULC (A Novell Company), in Toronto, Ontario. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking, gardening, and blogging about various topics of interest (including visual mapping) at

BSF: Can you share with us the work that you currently do?

MM: I'm currently working on testing several different applications related to managing a physical & virtualized computing environment. In particular, I've been focusing on a tool called PowerRecon that can be used to gather inventory and performance data on systems and use
that data to help determine the appropriate path for physical and virtual migration.

BSF: What was is about the demands of your work that made you gravitate towards using visual mapping and MindManager 7?

MM: When working on software testing, especially when using a session-based method, visual mapping can help keep track of disparate information in a single package. It also allows the viewer to filter some information that may be included, but not necessarily pertinent to their inquiry. For example, I keep track of the versions of various applications related to the test that I'm mapping; they might only be needed in some cases for future reference, but by having that information in a branch that I can easily expand as needed, it keeps every pertinent detail available with a minimum of fuss.

BSF: How has MindManager 7 helped you to solve some of your business problems?

MM: Primarily, it helps those using session-based testing to better track and display the results of our tests. This is particularly helpful when giving an Executive Summary style explanation of what was done; I thread different "paths" taken in the test, which makes it
easier to demonstrate the results.

BSF: How receptive were your coworkers to the idea of using visual maps to convey and present information?

MM: The reception has been mixed, in that some people prefer a more linear description, while others respond better to the visual abstraction of the maps.

BSF: Since you started using MindManager 7 have any of your colleagues jumped on board?

MM: Not specifically, though it certainly piqued the interest of some who had been previously hesitant.

BSF: What would you say are the top 2 or 3 benefits of using MindManager 7 in the work that you do?

MM: The single big feature for me is the timer. When I'm exploring a new feature, I usually give myself a set time to focus on that feature. Another handy feature is being able to attach multiple files to a single idea - when attaching logs to a single thread of a test.

BSF: As a user of visual mapping, what suggestions would you give to other users who are on the fence or just starting out using this tool?

MM: Other people's templates can be a really good jumping off point, but you should be willing to change those templates based on your own needs. For example, I was provided with an great template to start with for session-based testing, but I found that it was time-consuming to enter some of the same data over again or make certain customizations over and over again, and since I was primarily focusing on the same product for most sessions, it was easier for me to simply customize the template to my needs. I also turned my template back in to a more generic model, and posted it for public consumption at Biggerplate

BSF: Can you share a specific application that really attracted you to using MindManager 7?

MM: To be honest, I haven't really applied it to any new uses yet. My main focus thus far has been to find the best way to use mind mapping for software testing, and I've found MindManager 7 to be an excellent tool for that purpose.

BSF: Matthew thanks so much for your time and for sharing your ideas about visual mapping with us.

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