MindMaps - Ultimate Thinking Tool For Effective Testing
A mindmap is a diagram used to visually organize information. It can be called as a visual thinking tool. A Mindmap allows complex information to be presented in a simplified visual form. A mind map is created around a single concept. The concept is represented as an image in the center to which the associated ideas are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.
Mindmap is a great tool for note taking, planning, studying, brainstorming etc. The term 'mind map' was first used by Tony Buzan in 1974. I drew my first mindmap when I was in school. I preferred mind-mapping over text notes and it proved to be a great aid to revise and recall the concepts quickly. This is because the information in mindmap is structured in a way that mirrors exactly how the brain functions - in a radiant rather than linear manner. A Mind Map literally ‘maps’ out your thoughts, using associations, connections and triggers to stimulate further ideas.
Tester's are expected to come up with lot of artifacts during the process of testing. The traditional test artifacts are time intensive, bulky and their structure do not support agile approach of software development. When working in agile environment testers work in a highly compressed test execution cycles. The stakeholders always complain testing as a bottleneck and ask to cut down number of testing activities or time allocated for testing. If we spend too much time in documentation ,we might end up having very less time to do actual testing.
Documentation != testing
Testers can use smart techniques like Mindmaps to create lean test artifacts - from test plan to a test report. Lean test artifacts convey the same information using fewer details and less verbose. Lean test artifacts save tremendous amount of time involved in test documentation. When I say I am applying lean approach it means I am reducing waste and at the same time I am amplifying my learning. Mindmapping is a cognitive activity that triggers creative ideas and reduces waste by avoiding extensive formats for test documentation.
Mindmaps can be used for:
- Test Planning
- Test case Design
- Requirement analysis
- Task allocation
- Impact Analysis
- Recording meetings
While test planning, you can draw an initial Mindmap keeping in mind the list of tasks, schedules, tools, roles, responsibilities, milestones etc. Present the Mindmap and discuss it with your stakeholders. Modify the Mindmap if any changes are required. One thing you will love about mind maps is its flexibility to adapt to changes. All you might have to do is to add or remove a node/branch. This flexibility might not happen when you draw on a paper, but a mind mapping software assists any changes easily.
The final mind map shows you the scope of testing in one glance. This mindmap can be used as a blueprint and later converted into a plan. This ensures that no test activity is missed.
Test case design
Mindmaps are an efficient way of creating lean test cases. It reduces the time required for creating test cases yielding better results. Mindmaps are very easy to maintain and are flexible to changing requirements.
Draw branches from every user story/epic and associate all its functionalities as sub-nodes.Start adding test ideas/test case for each functionality.
I created a mindmap covering test ideas for the major functionality. My team started to expand the mindmap by branching out more and more test ideas. We kept adding new nodes when we found unique scenarios that uncovered the bugs during our test sessions. This drastically increased our test coverage.The final mindmap can be as the basis for test case document or it's cool if it's used as it is.
The best part of mind mapping is that you generate more ideas when drawing them. Collaborative mind mapping with the team gives you best results.
Outline/structure of the Session
- Introduction to mindmaps
- Problems that we face in our day today lives - and how mindmaps can help to overcome them.
- How to draw a mindmap from scratch using best practices.
- Challenges that testers face with test documentation
- How mindmaps can act as lean test artifacts
- Designing Lean test plan using 2 different techniques.
- Designing Lean test cases using 4 different techniques.
- Designing a traceability mindmap instead of a traceability matrix
- Using Mindmaps for Enhanced learning
- Mindmaps for recording meetings.
1. What is a mindmap and why mindmaps work?
2. To draw effective mindmaps using best practices.
3. Overcome challenges with traditional artifacts using mindmaps.
4. To design lean test plan.
5. To design lean test cases and boost your test coverage.
6. Design a tracebility Mindmap
7. Generic concepts like Enhanced learning, recording meeting using mindmaps.
Testers, QA, Scrum master, Product owners, Developers