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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

ConceptDraw MINDMAP Tutorial: Improve Your Meetings PART 2

This is the second tutorial about using ConceptDraw MINDMAP to improve your meetings. In the first tutorial, we talked about how to use MINDMAP to prepare a rich agenda of an upcoming meeting. This tutorial will focus on how to use the same basic map from meeting to meeting to save time, improve the efficiency of your meetings, and to keep all of your projects on track.

You can also watch the YouTube version of Part 2 of using ConceptDraw MINDMAP to improve meetings.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keep Staff Informed on Multiple Project Status

Step 1. From ConceptDraw PROJECT, open the sample New Product Launch.

Step 2. From the top tool bar, click the Generate Reports icon.

Step 3: From the Generate Reports window, select Project(s) Status. Click Generate .
Step 4. Select the projects you wish to include in the report, and click Finish.
Step 5: A multi-project report is generated.

Result: A professional Project Status Report mind map to help track multiple project status.

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Like Winning Free Stuff?

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager with delivery experience across projects, programs and portfolios in Automotive and Financial Management industries. He authors the well-read blog, Tactical Management.

Tactical Project Management is conducting the Applying ConceptDraw OFFICE to Your Project Management Challenge.

The winner will receive one free copy of ConceptDraw Office PLUS a $100 dollars gift certificate!

Contest details can be found here.

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Communicate Tasks with Your Team

Step 1. Open plan ov investigations “Grant Project” in ConceptDraw PROJECT.

Step 2.
From the Export toolbar, click Generate Reports.Step 3. The Generate Reports window appears. Double-click Task Status.
Step 4: Your report is automatically generated in ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Step 5. From the Export toolbar, select Web Page-> Map View. Click Export.
Step 6. Below is an example of public generated web pages on a corporate site:

Step 7. Repeat steps 2-6 to update tasks each day.

Result: Your project team will be routinely informed about task statuses.

It's Official: ConceptDraw Products are Windows 7 Compatible

CS Odessa recently announced that all current versions of ConceptDraw products have passed the high standards of compatibility, reliability and performance for the Windows 7 operating system.

The latest versions of ConceptDraw Office, ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw MINDMAP, and ConceptDraw PROJECT, are now officially Compatible with Windows 7 for both the 32- and 64-bit versions of the Windows 7 operating system.

The Compatible with Windows 7 logo program is a series of Microsoft Corp. tests designed to monitor and ensure compatibility and reliability for PCs running the Windows 7 operating system. Compatible with Windows 7 products give users added assurance and peace of mind that products will install and run reliably with Windows 7.

"We felt that certifying our products to be Compatible with Windows 7 would be of great value to our customers. We have found the number one question from our PC customers, since the launch of Windows 7, has been: Will my ConceptDraw products be compatible with Windows 7? This is no longer an open question for our users. The answer is YES," states Oleg Bocharnikov, Head of Product Marketing at CS Odessa.

"The passing of all ConceptDraw products through the Microsoft-designed tests for compatibility and reliability with Windows 7 provides CS Odessa a powerful base for our future development of all of our Windows products."

Windows 7 is designed to be compatible with the most popular hardware and software products you use every day. Each product aspiring for certified compatibility must go through rigorous testing to ensure optimal Windows 7 experience. Products that receive the Logo are checked for common issues to minimize the number of crashes, hangs, and reboots experienced by the user.

For more information on Windows 7 Compatibility please visit Windows 7 Compatibility Center.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Google Desktop Search for ConceptDraw MINDMAP and ConceptDraw PROJECT

The Google Desktop Search plug-in for ConceptDraw MINDMAP and ConceptDraw PROJECT can be downloaded by clicking here. The plug-in is currently available for Windows users only. And the plug-in is FREE.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Stepping Up To Service

One of the pillars of a successful business is the ability to service customers in an extraordinary manner. In the book “Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success”, the author Leonard L. Berry identifies the drivers as: Leading with Values, Strategic Focus, Exceptional Excellence, Control of Destiny, Trust-Based Relationships, Investment in Employee Success, Acting Small, Brand Cultivation, and Generosity. Berry goes through each driver and identifies why it is important to both customers and company and how they relate to exceptional service and customer loyalty. Berry looks at companies who exemplify customer service and then examines their success in the market. Each driver is important to itself, and there is a careful explanation of each driver.

One of the drivers described by Berry that I find fascinating is the “Trust-Based Relationship” with customers. “Trust-Based Relationships” cannot exist only within a single individual in a company. The trust attitude must permeate the entire organization and start at the top. And for this driver to be effective it must exist inside and outside of an organization. You cannot just say “trust me” and magically your customers believe you, it is a process of earning trust and happens over an extended period of time. It is so easy to lose the trust of a customer; and conversely it is so hard to earn it.

“Relationships are important to companies because they are the link to the future-tomorrow’s customers, tomorrow’s employees, tomorrow’s partners. Relationships with employees and business partners, such as suppliers and independent representatives, help a company forge relationships with its customers. The stronger the relationships, the less likely they are to end. Valued relationships last, helping a company control its destiny and perpetuate itself.”
It all comes down to knowing your customer’s level of expectations for support, and then committing the level of resources and training necessary; plus the support of management, to meet or exceeded those levels. In principle, this sounds easy, but at the implementation level it gets hard very fast. There are so many details, systems and people involved. I find mind mapping is a great tool to look at service levels. As an example ConceptDraw MINDMAP makes it easy to gather and organize information, as well as build phased plans to get one from where they are to where they want to be.

You can download a ConceptDraw MINDMAP template from here that lists the nine drivers from Discovering the Soul of Service this is a good starting point to take a service inventory of your organization. When you have completed it, share it with others in your company to get an objective viewpoint. Use the map as a base-line and then start modifying your content to more closely align with your company’s goals.

Berry, Leonard L. Discovering the soul of service the nine drivers of sustainable business success. New York, NY: Free, 1999. Print.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

For You Tactile Mind Mappers Out There: PaperShow

Brian Friedlander of the Assistive Technology blog was at MacWorld 2010 demonstrating a new product called PaperShow. And speaking of show, PaperShow won the 2010 Macworld Best of Show. PaperShow is a product that combines specially printed paper with a pen that has a camera in it. The result is that you can write on the paper, project it as you write, and immediately create PDFs and PowerPoints from what you've writter.

I know that a lot of people prefer to do mind mapping by hand. If that's true for you, then you might want to check out Brian's Assistive Technology blog entry on Back from MacWorld 2010.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ConceptDraw Products “Compatible with Windows 7”

CS Odessa has just been notified that its ConceptDraw products passed the standards of compatibility, reliability and performance for use with the Windows 7 operating system. ConceptDraw Office 1 - ConceptDraw PRO 8, ConceptDraw MINDMAP 6, and ConceptDraw PROJECT 5 are now "Compatible with Windows 7," and have earned the Windows 7 logo for both the 32- and 64-bit versions of the Windows 7 operating system.

Read more about how ConceptDraw products are now compatible with Windows 7.

Monday, February 15, 2010

ConceptDraw MINDMAP Tutorial: Improve Your Meetings PART 1

This is the first of a two-part series of videos to show you how to use ConceptDraw MINDMAP to make your meetings more engaging, efficient and productive. For best use, project your mind map on a screen and/or share via conferencing so that all the participants can see the map in real time as you use it to capture what goes on in the meeting.

You can also watch the YouTube version of Part 1 of using ConceptDraw MINDMAP to improve meetings.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jim McGee, Hans Rosling, TED India: Wonderful Information Visualization

Jim McGee's blog, McGee's Musings (which, by the way, features this Dorothy Parker quote: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.") has a really great video from TED 2007. In the video, Hans Rosling using information visualization like a master to create an engaging, compelling case for the imminent rise of China and Inidia.

Mind Mapping: Learning and Teaching with Both Sides of the Brain has posted an article I wrote on using mind mapping in education. It's called Mind Mapping: Learning and Teaching with Both Sides of the Brain.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

PC World Likes ConceptDraw MINDMAP 6.2

PC World has great things to say about ConceptDraw MINDMAP in its Feb. 2, 2010 review. " As one of the premiere tools for business planning and organization, MindMap offers users comprehensive, powerful features in an application that doesn't demand the latest CPU or gigabytes of memory in order to function well, which will appeal to laptop-toting business users."

The reviewer also highights the fact that: "ConceptDraw Mindmap's 30-day demo offers users a full featured version of the product, including online and phone support--a surprisingly helpful and welcome addition in an era in which support isn't always available even for paying customers."

Just to be clear...Online and phone support is, of course, available not just for those who download the trial. It's there for you when you purchase MINDMAP too! :o)

Read PC World Review of ConceptDraw MINDMAP 6.2 .

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quickly Create UML Diagrams with ConceptDraw PRO

Step 1. From ConceptDraw PRO, open the “Sample UML” diagram.

Step 2. Use the mouse to reposition objects.

Step 3. The UML Object Diagram library is included with the standard installation of ConceptDraw PRO.
From the File menu, select Library -> Open -> Software -> UML Object Diagram.

Step 4. Choose any object and drag it into the document work space.

Step 5. From the Connect Shapes toolbar, click the Smart Connector icon.

Step 6. Drag a new object to your document. The new object is automatically connected to another object.

Result: Now you have UML diagram that accurately describes your particular software engineering process.

How To Create Manufacturing Process Workflows with ConceptDraw PRO

Step 1. From ConceptDraw PRO, open the sample “Manufacturing Workflow” diagram.

Step 2. Using your mouse, reposition your objects as needed.

Step 3. The Drawing Shapes library is included with the standard installation of ConceptDraw PRO. From the File menu, select Library -> Open -> Drawing Shapes.

Step 4. Choose any object and drag it into the document work space.

Step 5. From the Connect Shapes toolbar, click the Smart Connector icon.

Step 6. Drag a new object to your document. The new object is automatically connected to another object.


Result: A professional workflow that visually depicts your manufacturing process.

Create a Gantt Chart from a Strategy Mind Map

Step 1. From ConceptDraw MINDMAP, open the sample “e-Business Strategy Mind Map”.

Step 2. From the toolbar, click the Open in PROJECT icon, to transform the mind map into a Gantt chart.
Step 3. Enter all necessary project details. Save your ConceptDraw PROJECT document (*.cdpz) from the File menu or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S.
Result: A professional Gantt chart to view your strategy goals in one project view.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

No Ink on the iPad

I have to say that I was stunned to learn that the iPad has no inking capabilities. It seems like such a no-brainer. When companies like Toshiba, Lenovo etc came out with their tablets back in the early aughts, they were just about the perfect format for mind mapping. I spent many a meeting scribing all my notes with my digital pen, drawing flow diagrams, shapes--whatever I wanted. But those tablets were heavy, and crippled by horrible battery life (you could do anything you wanted on them...for three hours).

So for Apple to come out with a device that allows no writing at all... I understand that they're battling Kindle, and so produced a device that you could not just read books on, but also watch video on. Oh, be still my beating heart. Heaven knows we need yet another way to watch TV.

Maybe it's too early to feel diappointed. Maybe Apple is hard at work on the next gen of the iPad (no, I don't mean the UberiPad). Maybe the digitial pen will return, attached to the perfect lightweight, eight-hours-of-battery-life tablet. That would be the day many of us have longed for--when we can combine the brilliance of mind mapping with the power of computing for an entire working day. We just seem to keep circling the perfect scenario, never getting much closer to it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ConceptDraw PRO Cisco Network Stencils a Hit

Inside ConceptDraw PRO 7 are 400 network objects made in accordance with Cisco Systems Corporate Iconography. These objects help people like Brad Hedlund, Cisco sales systems engineer, prepare his network solution designs, and then present them to customers.
"The beautiful Cisco stencils included in ConceptDraw are amazing," Hedlund says. "If CS Odessa continues to add more... network stencils, specifically for Cisco, they will gain the hearts of the large community of Cisco Engineers like me who diagram regularly."

Read more about using ConceptDraw PRO for Network Engineering Design. And learn how to Create Cisco Network Diagrams with ConceptDraw PRO.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Using Mind Maps to Lower Language Barriers

A recent article by Steve Barth (Managing Knowledge across Borders), reminded me how useful mind mapping can be as a way to lower language barriers. I have talked to many companies--from technology giants to small landscaping contractors--about how they use mind maps to make information more useful to non-native English speakers. It's one of those things that makes them feel like they have a hidden advantage over the competition.

In the first place, maps use single words or phrases instead of sentences and paragraphs. It is often syntax, not words, that make other languages hard to decipher. So by chunking out ideas in a mind map, users can capture and communicate meaning with simple words and the relative position of words. Graphic images help too. While it's true that the meaning of some images change from society to society, there are lots of symbols and images that can cross cultures (the international "No" sign, for example) and add another level of meaning to the information in the map.

Anyone have any stories about using maps this way? Doing business on a global level is common these days. Next time you need to communicate with someone in another country, try replacing that 10-page document with a mind map. See if it makes communication easier.