First of all a small disclaimer: Although this should be pretty obvious in my opinion I would like to mention that I am definitely a bit biased towards Visual Paradigm, always have been. Considering the website you’re currently visiting I believe this should be obvious enough, but I still wanted to explicitly mention this because honesty goes a long way.
Of course… Bias or not: I can back up all my words with arguments
Visual Paradigm Professional is amazing
Please note: this post is about my first impressions, and I need to share. I am going to follow up with a second part, and you can also rest assured that all my impressions and newly gained expertise will eventually find its way into the unofficial ‘share your tips’ thread. But for now I’d like to share some of my first impressions with you guys, because I am honestly a little overwhelmed here.
And I am seriously impressed at first sight.
It all starts with the start page, no pun intended. I believe many people (generally speaking) usually underestimate the usability of these even though plenty of work goes into them; you might end up surprised.
First the attention for details: when I started my modeler edition I had 3 tabs: the 3 tabs at the right side you see in the screenshot above: System Design, Team Collaboration and Reasons to upgrade (obviously ). Seriously though: it all added up. I had direct access to BPMN, UML, ERD and data flow. Now with professional this has (literally) expanded to what you see above; now there are more analysis tools, project management and very specific diagrams such as customer story map.
I know that this is but a small detail, but I think it adds up: the starting page isn’t merely eye candy, it really tries to help you get started with your project. And to me that means something.
One tool, one vision, one specific workflow
When I was still using Visual Paradigm modeler edition it was relatively simple to describe it: a software design and business process modeling tool with many enhanced capabilities. But now that I have access to the Professional version it is not that simple anymore. Because honestly: this environment is extremely diverse. It is still the software design and business process modeling tool I came to love and respect, but the upgrade provides so much extra functionality.
Professional is just as much an information processing tool as it is a project management tool, yet it’s also just as much a software design tool as it is a documentation tool. And then my alarm bells go off because this doesn’t mention the database design aspects, the “sticky note” functionality (I like to call this “ad-hoc” information management) nor does it do justice to the very user friendly workflow:
This was my first experience with mind mapping. And I like to think that it worked out pretty well, here are my rough (first impression) ideas about this post. Yups, spoilers!
But seriously though: this is a huge advantage which Visual Paradigm has over the competition. In my opinion obviously, sure, but still…
One vs. many
When it comes to information processing then I think we can all agree that Microsoft Office is a given standard within the field of ICT. And it’s hard not to acknowledge them: once you dive deeper into the possibilities which the Office environment gives you then you’ll realize just how complete it is. For example: how about using a Word document which uses a VBA macro which in its turn accesses your Outlook contacts database in order to retrieve any contact information which is then used in your Word document (think about address information for example).
The reason I mention this should be obvious… When it comes to the kind of functionality which Visual Paradigm Professional provides then it gets quickly obvious that these suites are competitors. After all: Visio (modeling), Project (project management) are all part of the Microsoft Office suite.
Yet here also lies a major advantage for Visual Paradigm:
- Visio: $590,- *
- Project: $1160,- *
* Note: Professional editions, prices verified online at the time of writing.
- Visual Paradigm Professional: $799,-
And… Visual Paradigm isn’t a suite, it’s a single program.
Now, please note that it’s not just the price difference I’m hinting at here, though I obviously think it is an important aspect to keep into consideration. My main argument is that Visual Paradigm is one program with one specific workflow.
And that can provide some serious advantages.
First of the obvious: How about setting up a project overview diagram (PERT chart for example) which then directly links to some of the diagrams which are related to that aspect of your project?
In other words:
Try that with Visio + Project!
Sure: using Visual Paradigm may require you to adapt to a new workflow. Been there, done that. When I first got into contact with UML modeling I used the SunONE Java studio UML tool. A format still supported by Visual Paradigm as import. So when I discovered VP I tried to make it behave as if it was that other UML environment.
Look: Visual Paradigm isn’t the same as Visio or Project. And I’d also like to state that my (extensive) experience with those two environments are based on the Office 2010 editions.
Having said that… Visual Paradigm may not be the same, but it can definitely provide the same functionality, if not much more (see above).
Software design, project management, mind mapping, requirements capturing, sticky notes… GUI wireframing (!), Team communications (VPository or Team Server powered, but still…!), General overview (!)…
The following images were “Gimped” by yours truly.
The text is a bit larger than I wanted but so be it.
Here you see an overview of all the diagrams which VP Modeler edition provides. I may be working with Professional now, but I don’t forget my roots so to speak. The Modeler edition is in my opinion a serious value for your money. Full UML / SysML support, business modeling (BPMN), requirements capturing (it sounds all to easy, but I think that once you start using this facet you’ll appreciate it much more) and finally the databases. Where I’d like to mention that the Modeler also allows you to generate databases within all supported engines (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL, etc.) and all based on your ERD diagram.
So now looking at professional:
I think some diagrams will come naturally (like Mind Mapping), others you may need to get used to but even so… I honestly believe that Visual Paradigm roughly provides the same functionality as Visio & Project combined. Sure there are differences, do not expect the same workflow here.
But once you become more familiar with the way Visual Paradigm works then the sky becomes the limit. For both enterprise users as well as professional individuals.
And if you need help reaching this then the VP Team is but one click away (linked the main support page, but I like to think that these forums also work quite nicely).
Peter Looyenga (that’s me) is an IT professional who’s been working within the industry for 37 years (though it should be noted that I also include my teen years behind my C64 because I learned tons from that experience). I have been using Visual Paradigm since it still had separate versions such as SDE-NB (roughly 10 years ago give or take) and I consider myself a fan of the software as well as the company.
Yes, I am biased, and I realize I may sound like a marketing drone here, but c’est la vie. I honestly believe Visual Paradigm is an amazing product with a ditto company behind it, as such I felt the need to rant a little bit after my first encounter with the Professional version.
This is also the very first time I explicitly linked my name to an online company.
Part II will be a little more down to earth so to speak, but I do reserve the right to mix in a little bit of extras details
I hope you guys can appreciate my rant, but I really felt like doing this As I started with: I think VP Professional is a really amazing product.