My first reaction to this video is that I met in my life 3 times people that were able to laugh about themselves. They were making themselves vulnerable, telling me how stupid they have been again and again and laughed about themselves – (hopefully) knowing that I wouldn’t think less of them (quite the opposite). Do I need to tell you that I admire them? Why else would I count? They were warm and I could be a bit more myself in their company.
I simply don’t think myself being capable of this (yet). But this is the way to go!
I have been working on my Visual Thinking application line. It’s time to explain the future developments.
The rebranding became necessary when Apple changed the App Store Rules and my existing names became too long for the new rules. I needed to shorten the name although I liked the rather verbose “Visual Thinking” branding. After some thinking I decided on “Visual Thinking and Communication” or in short: “Vithanco”. I really like the new name, because it really stands for how I think about these applications. They are tools for thinking and tools for communication. And since I was working on it, I worked on a new logo.
Along with the rebranding came new features I had already been working on. Keyboard control, spell checking, performance improvements (now diagrams with 100+ nodes are as fast as diagrams with 10 nodes), and clusters. The latter is currently only available for Concept Maps but will be available in the next releases for IBIS and TOC.
This was the easy part. I made one more decision that needed more consideration. I will switch from several small applications to one application. I intend to update the one Domain applications that I have going forward. But my main focus will be on Vithanco – the generic App. The different diagrams that you can create with the IBIS, Concept Maps, or TOC variants will be part of the new App (in fact you will be able to open them in the generic application). The variants are basically “Domains” within Vithanco. Each diagram will be created according to a particular Domain.
New Domains will be included into Vithanco. The first new domain will be based on the benefit realisation approach that I mentioned earlier. More Domains will follow.
The Domain and Node Type Editor will be only fully functioning in the generic application going forward. I will hence take this functionality from the TOC variant.
With Vithanco I will change the payment model from pay in advance to Freemium. Flying Logic is the only similar software that I know. It sells for 249USD. I think that is a too high price upfront for private users. Hence, you can try it for free for 2 months before you will be charged 2.99 USD per month. If you don’t want to use it, you cancel the subscription. This way -ignoring net present value- you will need to use it for 7 years before you pay the same. Updates won’t cost you extra, new Domains won’t cost extra. I hope others see this as well as a fair deal.
Vithanco will be released in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to see it on the App Store.
Lastly, I am now creating Vithanco.com as a new home for the application. I will transfer all software related content there going forward.
On a related note, sometimes I observe the same mentality within a company where I see decisions made that seem to serve personal interest more than the interests of the company. It seems to have less negative impact as these people tend to change their customer base completely whenever they are switching jobs.
I am a big fan of Theory of Constraints (TOC). I read the book “The Goal” years ago – actually after I was presented the great application “Flying Logic”. Ever since then was I wondering why Flying Logic is so expensive. It is such a great tool and so applicable to many kind of issues – but simply too expensive. When I was starting with the Visual Thinking for IBIS application did i have Flying Logic in mind. I wanted a Mac tool that is similar to Flying Logic, but easier to use.
I have now done a big step in that direction. I have released the first version of “Visual Thinking with Theory of Constraints“. It is an early release as the visual language is more complex and will need some adjustments. Next problem is that TOC has several different diagram types and the app needs to cater for it. But, I have a workable first version.
I changed my blog side. It is now integrated into my webpage www.kneupner.de. New material will be published there. Old material is converted manually. Therefore not everything is available yet through my “new” blog side. If you have subscribed to this blog, then please add now the new feed https://www.kneupner.de/files/feed.xml See you on www.kneupner.de…
Some time ago, I was pointed towards a software tool called “Flying Logic” from Sciral. I was told that Flying Logic would support to plan backwards from the goal. I like software that helps me to display my thoughts (I call that “Visual Thinking”) and I fully subscribe to the thinking backwards idea (famously promoted by Stephen Covey’s “7 habits for highly successful people” as “Begin with the End in Mind“).
The structure of this post
Therefore I downloaded the software and used the 30 days trial to play a bit around. Flying Logic is actually a tool that maintains a directed graph. Each node of the graph has a type that is shown as a description. Therefore you can have a “goal” node or an “action” node. This is very simple and you can only influence the colour of the node frame based on the type. Flying Logic auto-layouts the graph without giving you many possibilities to influence the graph. The focus is clearly on clarity – not on creating the nicest graphs. But the result is decent. You can use these facilities to create your own node types and therefore to create your own thinking “grammar”. As an example, I tried to prepare this blog entry based on a simple grammar using “Fact”, “My part of the story”, and “Conclusion”. It isn’t the perfect grammar yet, but it allowed me to arrange the pieces of this entry first visually before the writing. Which was for once fast and straightforward. On the support page you can see that other people use the tool for areas like web-page design where they use their own custom-designed grammar to plan a webpage.
Flying Logic has a set of already defined grammars “out-of-the-box”. Those grammars are mainly related to “Theory of Constraints” (TOC). TOC is a so-called management philosophy. Thankfully, Flying Logic comes with an eBook explaining TOC. Whilst what I read was really interesting I quickly found out that the eBook is very dense, i.e. packed with information. Hooked as I was I started to map out the content of the book and created a TOC mindmap – another way of “Visual Thinking”. By now I use Flying Logic regularly and use my mindmap as a guide to the eBook and to TOC.
Mindmap: Theory of Constraints with Flying Logic
TOC provides different model types that help you focus on different aspects. Two of these models are the “Current Reality Tree”, which is used to analyse the weaknesses of the current situation, and the “Future Reality Tree”, which is used to envision a future solution. The latter, the Future Reality Tree, is actually the model type that let to me learning about Flying Logic. You start with the goal and analyse from there backwards how to achieve that goal. The provided grammar helps to think in a constructive way.
Overall, Flying Logic is a simple tool that allows you to display your thoughts. It comes with strong support for a backward thinking (“Begin with the End in Mind”) due to the underlying theoretical framework TOC. My understanding to the framework is available here as a mindmap. But Flying Logic is not limited to the framework and you can easily create your own graphs types. The tool isn’t cheap, but it was worth the money for me.
I mentioned the Business Motivation Model earlier. The Business Motivation Model is a model that explains core terminology for an organisation. The model is an OMG standard.
I got aware of the model during a conference when one of the main authors (the Business Rules expert Ronald Ross) explained it briefly. It doesn’t surprise that he uses the model to explain how Business Rules fit into an organisation.
I used the model to define the strategy of our department. The big advantage is that it explains easily the difference between concepts like “Vision”, “Mission”, “Goal”, “Objective”, “Strategy”, and “Tactic”. Having the clear distinction of these terms facilitates discussions that allow focusing on the “why” behind your activities. The terminology and relationships between the concepts provided by the model make it simple to see the bigger picture and how everybody’s work relate to our goals.
The model includes further related concepts as can be seen from the diagram on the right side.