While MindManager 8 mind mapping software has become my favorite work productivity tool of all time, the price is fairly steep for some people. If you already have a previous version of MindManager, such as MM Pro 7, you can take advantage of a limited-time upgrade offer. Until Dec 31st, 2008, you can upgrade for only US$129, which is a $45 savings. Plus, you get 6 months free of MindJet Connect, which gives you a workspace to share mind maps and other files with up to 5 virtual teammates and colleagues. You also get 6 months free acess to MindManager Web, which is a webified version of MindManager.
If your budget is a bit limited for now, you can download MindManager for a 30-day trial (MM 8 for PC, MM 7 Pro for Mac). If you’re more the OpenSource or “free software” type, you have the standard choice of the multi-platform FreeMind. More recently XMind has become not only free but OpenSource. I have not played around with it much yet, but even the free version has some map types (fishbone) not found in MindManager. It does have an “organization chart” mode, which is one of my favorites in MindManager. It claims to have spreadsheet nodes, but from what I can tell at a cursory inspection is that it’s just a table, not a spreadsheet. You cannot do spreadsheet-y things such as add up columns or rows. However, you can embed sub-maps within each cell.
XMind Pro offers additional features, including Project Management options such as “Gantt View”. The only drawback that I see is that XMind Pro, despite being a desktop application, uses a monthly subscription model. My feeling is that I’m happy to pay a subscription fee for web apps that I intend to use and can access from pretty much anywhere I have an Internet connection. If I’m buying a desktop app, I’m expecting a flat one-time rate.