News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Collaboration with ConceptDraw

Using ConceptDraw Products
When You Collaborate
Our users often ask about how to share the work they’ve produced with ConceptDraw products, so we put together this summary of some options for using ConceptDraw in collaboration with others.

If your collaborators don’t use ConceptDraw

For displaying content such as a drawing or mind map, simply export to your preferred graphics format, and then send via email or instant message (Skype, Google chat, etc.). To allow others to work with and make changes to your data, ConceptDraw products can export to a variety of file formats that other programs can edit. For example, ConceptDraw MINDMAP can export to Mindjet® MindManager® files, and ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw PRO can export to Microsoft® XML files, which are compatible with MS Project® and Visio® (respectively).


If your collaborators do use ConceptDraw, the most straightforward method for sharing your ConceptDraw files is via email. ConceptDraw saved files are typically very modest in size and easily fall within the acceptable limits for attachment size of most email clients and services.

Instant Messaging

Furthermore, most instant messaging protocols (like Skype®, Google® Chat, etc.) allow peer-to-peer file transfers. The manageable size of ConceptDraw files allows them to be rapidly transmitted that way.

Google Documents

The advent of cloud computing has brought about numerous free online document management systems, such as Google Documents ( This type of service is a fast and easy way to collaborate. After registering an account (usually requiring only a valid email address), you can upload your files, set permissions for who can view and download, and then notify your colleagues via email that you’ve shared with them.


Another great free virtualization service now available is called Dropbox. Visit to sign up for an account and download the small application. Thereafter, files saved in your Dropbox can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. You can share folders in your Dropbox with others, allowing them access to your files as well. This is a powerful and flexible way to have multiple users collaborating on a single file.


Microsoft SharePoint® is a content management system for enterprise. Among its many uses are powerful document management tools that manage versioning, and allow administrators to set various levels of read and write permissions. SharePoint utilizes an innovative system of “checking out” documents that assures that a file can only be edited by a single user at a time. There is a common misconception that SharePoint can only be used with files created by other Microsoft software, when in fact it can be used to manage sharing and versioning of all kinds of files.


Sharing your screen with a colleague over the web is another great way to use ConceptDraw cooperatively. By utilizing services like Citrix® GoToMeeting®, Skype, or TechSmith® Jing®, you can collaborate live regardless of distance. ConceptDraw MINDMAP is great in this arena for managing meetings and taking notes, or presenting a mind map. You may even turn some of your colleagues onto increasing their productivity with ConceptDraw!


There’s no shortage of options for employing ConceptDraw products in a collaborative environment, whether your colleagues also use them or not. The variety of export options and manageable file size make displaying your work, or transferring it to another location a breeze. Using ConceptDraw in a live setting, via screencast, brings its innovative meeting-streamlining capabilities onto the web and around the globe. No matter the setting, ConceptDraw is the key to unlocking your creativity, streamlining your workflow, and increasing your productivity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Start Projects Faster with Mind Maps

Did you know that mind mapping is an awesome way to get your project started in a hurry? The powerful input tools of ConceptDraw MINDMAP make it easy for you plan out your projects, large and small, more quickly than ever.

Try starting in Brainstorm mode. This puts the focus on getting your ideas on the page as quickly as possible, without worrying about how they’re organized. Click the Brainstorm button on the toolbar, and then start typing your list of tasks, phases, and milestones. Don’t concern yourself with structure yet, just input all your content. When the Brainstorm is over, use the intuitive drag-and-drop functionality of ConceptDraw MINDMAP to organize your project. The speed that you can map out a project is only limited by the speed that you can think and type.

Example ConceptDraw MINDMAP
To arrange the new project as a mind map, first change the name of the Main Idea to the title of your project. Then, determine your high-level tasks, or Phases. Attach these to the Main Idea as Main Topics. From there, attach your lower-level tasks to their corresponding phase. In no time, you’ll see your project’s structure taking shape.

Now, go to the Output tab, select the Project Management category, and double-click Open in PROJECT. This will save and close your mind map, and launch it in ConceptDraw PROJECT. You’ll see that your Tasks and Phases are automatically laid out on the ConceptDraw PROJECT Gantt chart, ready for you to set dates, durations, predecessors, resources, etc.

ConceptDraw PROJECT Gantt Chart

This is a great way to save time outlining your project. The fast input and flexibility of organization in ConceptDraw MINDMAP, coupled with its tight integration with ConceptDraw PROJECT, enable you to take your project from a collection of scattered ideas to a concrete plan in just a matter of minutes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Organizing and Selecting Social Media Response Messages

Using flowcharts and Action Mindmaps
to improve Social Media effectiveness.
Interactive Flowcharts can change the way one creates and organizes their social media response process. ConceptDraw PRO provides tools to develop a response flowchart that can be connected with Action Mindmaps. Visual navigation through the stages of a response process helps you locate specific actions to be taken via Action Mindmaps. Action Mindmaps can be used to describe primary messages and good additions, show examples of messages, and also define the main objective of messaging for a specific situation.

Using a combination of Interactive Flowcharts with Action Mindmaps helps professional social media teams be more proactive by being prepared with proper responses. Social Media Response solution minimizes Time to Response, improves the quality of responses, and assists in your entire marketing strategy.

Social Media Response Flowchart

Social Media Response Flowchart

The response process consists of three major stages. These stages are easy to identify: review an input, evaluate specifics of the case, and respond.

They can be visualized by three vertical columns (swim-lanes) which collect the items identified for the appropriate stage.

The review stage is involved in assessment of the first impressions from received inputs. The evaluation stage is used when making decisions for the case you are dealing with. The response stage is intended for choosing the proper responsive action to take.

Action Mindmap

ConceptDraw Action Mindmap

A response Action Mindmap organizes actions, scripts, advice, and work examples into a one-page visual assistant, useful for dispersing out to a team.

An Action Mindmap contains four major branches helping determine a responsive action - Primary Messages, Good Additions, Examples, and Objective.

Connecting a Response Flowchart with an Action MindMap

Connecting Response Flowchart to
Action Mindmap
Connecting items between a response process flowchart and Action Mindmaps is as easy as assigning hyperlinks to objects.

The solution provides a set of special symbols (“Action Mindmap” objects) intended to be used on flowcharts to symbolize connections and hyperlinks with Action MindMaps. These objects contain hyperlinks to mind map documents and can be titled and colored on the flowchart. When modifying a response process, these objects can be easily moved (drag-and-drop) between flowchart items without any need for editing. This helps provide meaning for the newly constructed response process as it refers to the same Action MindMap and will be used during other steps of the process.

From a practical stand point, “Action Mindmap” symbols are a great time-saver which makes reworking the response process much easier.

Checklist for Preparing a Social Media Response Flowchart.

Critical steps one must follow when developing a Social Media Response Flowchart.
Check Point 1. Create a flowchart describing the process of response to social media.
Check Point 2. Distribute Action symbols on the flowchart items according to the necessary response.
Check Point 3. Create set of Action Mindmaps describing the messages and details.
Check Point 4. Assign hyperlinks for Action symbols on the flowchart to connect to specified mind map.

Your Social Media Response Flowchart is ready!

Flowcharts can be developed in any sequence. The critical steps involved in creating a flowchart can be completed in whatever order works for your team, whether you choose to start by identifying Action Mindmaps or you choose to first develop the flowchart describing the bigger picture of how you want to organize your social media response process. If your response process is part of a larger project and you also want to work with a Gantt chart, you may also incorporate ConceptDraw Project in order to connect Action Mindmaps with project Gantt charts.

Now organizing the response process for social media teams can be quicker and easier. Interactive flowcharts help to facilitate the training of your team, increase the quality of your responses, and will make you more prepared and proactive when responding to occurrences in social media.

Written by Gregory Zhukov, President CS Odessa