September 30, 2013

Mind Maps as a Tool for Testing

A lot of people have written about mind map and testing recently because the tools for working with and sharing them have gotten so much better.  There are really smart excellent testers out there that use mind maps in their daily work flow, and I've been trying to add them to mine since I got back from CAST 2013.  This week I'll use them any time I would have written anything down.

For example:

  • My activity log for the day complete with bug and investigations will be a mind map.
  • Testing Plans
  • Exploratory Charters and the notes/results from them
  • Feature/Bug/Product outlines will also be done up this way. 
I hope to create 4 or more Mind maps a day for the next 5 days. It should be an interesting experience. 

Read on for some dryer text on what mind maps are and how I will be doing them. 

Mind maps are a recording technique that for most people allows them to organize their thoughts in a manner that more closely reflects how they are thinking about them and see patterns that are forming. I've done mind maps with my daughters to help them organize their thoughts on an assignment they were working on.   Mind Maps can be done on paper or with a application.  The central idea is that idea and thoughts are connected to the ideas and thoughts they are related to and located near other items that they are related to.  

The important thing to remember is that the relationship are as you think of them, it's your mind map. There can be as many nodes connected to a node as you want. Like color, use it!. Something related in two places, put it in one and draw the link to the other. With practice you will be able to create mind maps that reflect your thought process.

One stranger way that I'm using them this week is my daily work/activity log. My central node is the date, and all of the first level nodes are the major activities of the day, bug or features that I'm testing.  Under these I have notes that occurred to me while I was doing it. Bugs that I will need to come back to file (so that I can do RIMGEA). I'm using color to tell me how important the items are, if I need to come back to them and what was injected into my day. 

There are many applications out there for working with them. The two that I'm using these days are Xmind and MindMup

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