TecHRseries Interview with Blair Young, Senior Director of Product, MindManager

Among the many challenges that the global workforce faced in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic,  lack of proper communication and cohesion were key problem areas. These problems are only intensified when employees are remote and spread out across geographies. Blair Young, Senior Director of Product, MindManager discusses how teams can achieve more despite it in this chat with TecHRseries.



Tell us a little about yourself, we’d love to hear about your journey in tech…

My journey in tech has been varied from both a role and marketplace perspective. Originally, I worked as a software engineer creating expert systems for telephony systems.

My background spans both enterprise and consumer offerings in various markets, including cybersecurity, SaaS, business efficiency, big data, mobile, data visualization, AI, and data communications.

Most of my career has been spent in product management, product marketing, and a variety of other roles including sales support and customer support. I have led entire product businesses and initiated change management strategies to maximize current and future product opportunities.

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I’ve been at the helm of product management for MindManager for over a year, and it’s been a pivotal time for the growth of and evolution of the brand.

We have been working to rapidly evolve the MindManager offering to encompass a full-fledged suite of visualization products.

We just introduced the MindManager Product Suite, which represents a new connected ecosystem that supports teaming and collaboration across all offer components.

Can you tell us about the MindManager Product Suite: what are some of the near-future innovations planned for the platform?

At its core, MindManager serves as a visual front end for information. It simplifies complex data so that individuals and teams can execute quicker and with more clarity.

With our expansion of the MindManager Product Suite, we are helping teams harness the power of data visualization to boost productivity, foster collaboration, and keep activities aligned for better-informed decision making and overall success.

We have just introduced MindManager for Microsoft Teams, available now to Enterprise subscribers as a direct download. Customers can find the app listed in the Microsoft AppSource catalog. Users can collectively edit maps, manage team dashboards, and keep tasks and projects on track within Microsoft Teams.

We also enhanced the MindManager Snap capture capability with team queues, enabling users to share data from browsers, desktops, and mobile devices to everyone in their team. This breaks traditional software restrictions and fosters real-time collaboration on your terms.

In addition, we have deployed new Enterprise management controls and capabilities, making it a critical solution for teams and entire organizations.

How / Why according to you should business leaders in tech and across industries use visualization tools to have a more rounded perspective on employee work? Can you talk about some interesting stories of teams using visualization to help understand flaws and recreate structures and processes?

Visualization tools offer countless possibilities for scoping out even the most complex projects, plans, and processes. For instance, Kanban boards and Gantt charts are ideal for tracking project status, allocating resources, and managing tasks.

The advent of Big Data has created big challenges for users and corporations. The problem is less about what information you have and more about how you manipulate it and make business sense from it. Data overload is a real problem – and that is where MindManager comes in. People work best and are more productive in a visual context. Visualization of projects, processes and data simplifies the thought process and the execution, providing business efficiencies to the corporation.

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MindManager is used by all corporate functions in a wide range of industries – anyone seeking to recognize and understand patterns and relationships with their data can benefit from visualization tools.

We’d love to hear about MindManager’s journey the last few months, during the midst of the Covid-19 lockdowns and how the team and business is adjusting to the new normal now? What are some of the biggest changes to structures / processes the Covid-19 has led to?

As a brand with offices that span the globe, our team is well-versed and accustomed to collaborating across time zones. We cultivated our collective knowledge to put together a remote support work kit to help companies dealing with the sudden shift in their workplaces at the beginning of the global lockdown.

We have amplified this support with the introduction of new MindManager collaboration capabilities that empower users that are suddenly part of this new “work-from-home” reality.

How should companies capitalize and create better work experiences despite being remote during this global downtime? Also, how would you advise companies to use their HR Tech stack to create these enhanced experiences during this world crisis?

The global events in recent months have only emphasized the requirement for teams to stay connected and aligned on objectives.

We recommend incorporating tools that support collaborative brainstorming or whiteboarding, in addition to centralizing team and organizational knowledge. It’s key for teams to have a “big picture” view of priorities, so a tool that supports visual task management is a must. To stay on top of these tasks, we recommend streamlining a process communicating remotely and organizing regular virtual meetings.

What are some best practices you’d advise HR teams to follow in the new normal and beyond as the future of work changes; when it comes to employee management / engagement and setting new processes?

Many common challenges for teams, including lack of communication and cohesion, are simply exacerbated when employees are spread out across offices and geographies.

Even when in the same office, peers can have little insight into each other’s activities, encumbering project and plan completion.

Adopting methods to visualize work and share this information in easy to navigate diagrams, dashboards, and maps supports collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Hopefully leaders have used this time to equip and empower their teams with the tools need to collectively organize data, track projects, and share knowledge.

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MindManager helps individuals, teams, and enterprises do great work faster by simplifying the way they capture, organize, and share information. Transforming scattered ideas and unstructured data into dynamic visual maps, MindManager gives people a clearer understanding and greater control over their time, work, and world.

Blair Young is the Senior Director of Product at MindManager