MindMaps - A killer tool to increase your test coverage.Prashant Hegde
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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.
Mind maps can be used in all the test stages from test planning to test case execution.
Mindmaps can be used for:
- Test Planning
- Requirement analysis
- Impact analysis
- Task allocation
- Test case design
- Test reporting -Quick test reports
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.
A traceability matrix is an essential tool for every tester to analyze and improvise the test coverage. You can use a mindmap instead of a tabular traceability matrix.
To create a traceability mindmap - add nodes of all the Epics. Draw branches from every module and associate all its user stories as subsequent nodes. Now link the test cases for every functionality.You can link the requirement number of the test management tool.
This ensures that you have not missed out writing test cases for any user story. This mindmap gives you the birds-eye view of your test coverage.You can identify the areas where you need to strengthen your coverage.