MindGenius 6 Review – Mindmapping and Project Management!
If you are looking for Windows mind mapping software with project management features to boot, then MindGenius may be worth a look. It is going up against the likes of MindManager and iMindmap. Does it have the oomph to compete with the big boys? Let’s find out in this MindGenius review.
MindGenius, Version 6
Pros • Large range of
• Project management functions
• Shallow learning curve
• Lots of templates
Cons • Dated interface compared
• Export has problems
• Full critical path
Bottom Line A dated user interface and problems with it’s project management and export tools compromise an otherwise competent mind mapping tool.
MindGenius review Introduction
There is a bit of a fad among mind mapping software and mind mapping apps to have a myriad of bells and whistles in addition to their core mind mapping functionality. This may be project management functions, fancy brainstorming templates, research tools or even fly through 3D animations of your completed mind map. Haven’t they come far since mind maps were first envisaged since Tony Buzan first envisaged them? However, all of these fancy features come at a price. And, today we look at such a piece of software, MindGenius. One of the main add-ons in the case of MindGenius is Project management functionality. It will never rival the likes of MS Project but aims to be good enough for most people’s needs, and indeed, most people don’t use the full functionality that MS Project has to offer. MindGenius has the ability to transform your mind map into a Gantt chart, manage resources and track the project. If those are features you are interested in, then it is worth to consider MindGenius as a potential mind mapping option. So, assuming you are still on board, and considering MindGenius, let’s take a collective slurp of one’s particular tipple and push on with this MindGenius review. Actually, wait a second, for I am damn dangerously close to the bottom of my glass. Nightmare. I need a top up….
Nightmare. I need a top up….
MindGenius User Interface
OK, now I am ready.
It feels familiar, and gets you from A to B in an understated sort of way
Opening MindGenius for the first time for me was like slipping on an old pair of leather shoes. It feels familiar, and gets you from A to B in an understated sort of way. For the most part, everything is where you would expect it to be and does what you expect it to do – with some exceptions which I will come to later. Apart from the addition of the project management functionality, MindGenius sticks to its core competency – mind mapping. From the screenshot below, most things are as expected. The centre section is where the action happens and where your mindmap takes shape. New tasks/nodes are added simply by hitting enter and typing so you can dump your thoughts pretty quickly and easily. To the right side of the screen we find the pre-defined templates. There is a huge selection at your disposal to fill a myriad of needs. You can also save your own templates in here as well in order to get a flying start on new mind maps.
Unfortunately, the unused predefined templates cannot be hidden so there will always be more clutter than is really needed. Most people will use but a small fraction or the available templates so the rest are superfluous. I should also mention that normally form mind mapping apps(and in many productivity apps), the right side of the screen is normally taken for node/task details for quick and easy editing. So, break from the norm in this case for MindGenius and to it’s detriment as changing node details was longer and more troublesome than it needed to be. Here are a couple of examples where I found the implementation to be more time consuming than needed,
- The selected task does not move with the task being edited. So, if you create a new node, the selected node is still the parent. So, to create another child node(grandchild if you will), you have to select the parent. This all took extra steps to get information into the program – not great for quick fire brainstorming.
- Simple resizing of pictures involves opening a dialog box and guessing how many centimetres it should be. The familiar dragging of the corner that we are familiar with in Windows, MS Office and many other programs has not been applied.
Now back to the presented interface – at the top if the screen we have the menu bars. This is pretty much where you will have to go to access the core functions and in many cases to enter node details such as due dates, people responsible and so on.
MindGenius Features and Functions
For high end mind mapping software such as MindGenius it would be unthinkable that all the basics would not be covered. And, this seems to be the case. MindGenius ticks all of the basic features boxes including mind map formatting options, filters, exporting, addition of pictures/icons/files, node comments and so on.
So, I will not devote time to the basics in this MindGenius review. You can rest assured they are baked in. Instead, I want to cover some differentiating MindGenius features, notably the project management features and the range of import and export options.
Mindgenius Project Management Functionality
With a push of a button it is possible to convert your mind map into a Gantt chart, replete with the usual accoutrements – start/due dates, task durations and resources. Three key items to mention with respect to the project management functionality in MindGenius,
Critical Path: in principle it is possible to display the critical path in MindGenius. However, it does not really function as I would have expected. For example, in the Gantt chart below only line 23 is highlighted as a critical path item. What about lines 6, 14, 17 and so on? So, I have some doubt in my mind regarding this functionality. I also noted that on the MindGenius Youtube video the same problem as noted in this MindGenius review existed with only the last tasks being highlighted as a critical path. You can refer to the video below, about 9 minutes in to see what I mean.
Resource dropper: A nice little function to drop resources onto tasks. Makes it quick and easy to deploy resources.
Resource graph: As with the likes of MS Project you can display the utilization of individual resources to determine which poor sod has been overworked.
MindGenius Gantt chart and Critical Path features
I will spend a few words to cover the project reporting function in this Mindgenius review. For all intents and purposes this looks pretty promising. With two mouse clicks you can get a nicely formatted status report generated such as that shown below. Such features are common in hard core project management tools such as MS Project and Rational Plan. For a mind mapping app, I would call it an unexpected bonus.
MindGenius Project report
MindGenius Import and Export
No mind map is an island and it is essential that they play well with other apps. This is, in principle, one of MindGenius’ strengths for it supports a huge array of import and export options. It still cannot rival iThoughts compatibility but it puts up a respectable showing. The list of export options include,
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Excel (In Gantt view, there is an additional option to export to Excel Gantt chart)
- Microsoft Project
- Microsoft Visio
- Export as an image (JPEG, PNG, BMP, EMF)
- Text file
- Other mind mapping apps: Freemind, Freemind, iThoughts* (iPhone/iPad), Thinkingspace* (Android), Pocket Mindmap
Having said this, my experience of the import/export on MindGenius has been mixed. First for the positives. It is great to see native MS Project support. Often MS Project support is limited csv files which require a more convoluted import and export process and can result in lost information. So, thumbs up for the MS Project support. Likewise for MS PowerPoint and Excel where good quality results have been seen. In Excel for example, the exported xls file has been pre-formatted so it has the tasks nicely grouped and even contains formulas for summing task efforts.
Sample Excel export result
On the other side of the coin I had less positive experiences with the mailing of mind maps and export to mobile apps such as iThoughts during this MindGenius review. For the former case, it seems that MindGenius struggles with mail programs that are not MS Outlook such as Firebird. The email function is simply not operable. Likewise for the mobile export icon. Clicking on this main window icon has zero effect. This is disappointing to have such a feature front and centre and for it to fail in this manner. I don’t think it can be stated that iThoughts export is still supported. One last comment on this topic. I also note that the pictures in the mind map were not exported. Such a feature is supported in the likes of MindManager.
A single user license for MindGenius will set you back $235 which places MindGenius in the high range price bracket for mind mapping applications. Other competing mind mapping software such as MindManager and iMindmap come in at $349 and $235 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum you have basic mind mapping applications such as Freemind which comes in at a wallet friendly $0 and in the middle you have the likes of iThoughts which recently released iThoughts for Windows which is priced at $50.
MindGenius Review Summary
Mindgenius has the price of premium Mind mapping software with the associated premium features bolted on to it’s mind mapping foundation. Those features are primarily project management functions and a wealth of import/export options. Those functions need to be working well to both justify a price that would make your wallet wince and to compete with the big dogs of the industry such as Mindjet’s Mindmanager. And, therein lies my problem here, for bugs have been noted for both of the mentioned features which really limits their application. In general, I would also say that Mindgenius feels a little dated compared to other competing mind mapping software in this price range. These factors combined make it difficult to recommend. I hope you found this MindGenius review helpful and if so make sure to share on your choice of social network,