Mindjet, the leading provider of software for visualising and managing information, today announced that MindManager has been implemented as Volkswagen's online IT project management solution. MindManager enables the IT team to transparently manage projects and communicate to all participants. It also provides a high level visual overview of the project, giving the flexibility for fast action.

The ability to gain a 50,000-foot view of a project using MindManager makes it easy for all participants to see relationships and efficiently manage deviations from the initial project plan. This enables Volkswagen's IT engineering team to accelerate the escalation process for resource bottlenecks during the project. The team has found that MindManager enables visualisation of the project information 30 per cent better than other project management tools.

In addition, MindManager is increasingly used by middle management, with up to 1000 Volkswagen managers currently using the solution. Mindjet's MindManager is an enterprise collaboration tool that combines the power of information visualisation with the benefits of team collaboration to improve business performance. By capturing ideas, information and data, MindManager brings corporate information to life in a visual format that is usable and actionable.

"MindManager's high level view makes it easier for all project participants to recognise how things fit together and act quickly to manage deviations from the plan," said Claus-Dieter Henning, coordinator and technology consultant within Volkswagen's IT Engineering team.

Volkswagen's IT Engineering Team specialises in the development and support of custom software solutions, integration of these solutions with heterogeneous system environments and the roll out of the solutions into the Volkswagen workplace. Henning is co-responsible for the design, roll out and operation of more than 40,000 PCs, for which he set up an online information platform using MindManager as the project management tool.

The challenge for Henning lies in project organisation and process development. "A typical project goes through different stages-from the development of complete design studies for the client, through extensive testing, though to the production and roll out. We are co-responsible for the entire project," explained Henning. "The main goal is to make users happy, optimally equip PCs and operate in a manner that is effective and affordable."

Visual cues, project overview and flexibility enable fast action
There are a number of features unique to MindManager that the Volkswagen IT Engineering Team finds particularly useful. For example, Henning says that he and his team need to be able to tell quickly which areas are going well and which need action. "MindManager enables that through color coding," he says. "For example, if one aspect of a project is marked in red, I know at a glance that I need to give it my immediate attention. Once we resolve the issue, I can change the color to yellow. This makes for simple, usable stoplight functionality."

The project overview provided by MindManager makes it easier for the project team to recognize how things fit together and where bottlenecks are forming.

"Also key for me is the enormous flexibility MindManager offers. Regardless of how big the map is, I never lose the big picture in a project and am able to quickly navigate through structured information. Other solutions do not offer this kind of flexibility," Henning says.

Instantly creating an on-line portal to project information
Henning also uses MindManager's Web export to share maps as online information portals. The portal contains key points such as contacts and their information, milestones and open items, as well as indexes to the entire project documentation-even links to related projects. "The online interface helps us create a relationship with the client as we document and share our activities and responsibilities," said Henning.

"Every client, even external ones involved in the project such as Audi, Siemens or Siemens Business Services, can access the portal," he notes. "Users can drill down as deep into the details as they require. If there are changes, we just change the map and use MindManager's web export to update the portal. Changes are easy to manage, so the portal is always up to date and the project is clear to all participants all the time."

Saving time and improving quality through efficient meeting management
Henning and his team also use MindManager for meeting organisation, which saves 15 minutes per team meeting while providing high-quality meeting documentation. "During a meeting I capture the minutes right into the meeting map. I always have a top level overview and never get off track," explained Henning. "At the end of a meeting the minutes are complete and are available to participants immediately and in a variety of formats. I estimate that by taking minutes in this way I save about fifteen minutes per meeting."

Henning says that in the average week he will have ten to fifteen meetings. Just in its ability to help him manage meeting notes alone, MindManager saves Henning from two and a half to almost four hours per week.

More than just saving him time, MindManager also improves the quality of the minutes. Henning says Volkswagen's IT Engineering team decided to implement MindManager because the solution is extremely flexible, easy to use, intuitive and visually appealing. In comparison to other project management tools, he says, MindManager ability to visualise information makes that information about thirty percent more useful.

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