Mind maps for Software Testing

Using mind maps to help brain storm testing ideas is a great way to get all of your ideas out. Using a mind map you will be able to:

  • Generate more testing scenarios
  • Connect new ideas
  • Collaborate more with other people

How do I mind map?

Step 1: Start with your central idea/theme

Nothing beats using a good old pen and paper when it comes to starting, sure there are tools like xmind and coggle. You could also use your trusty presentation tool of choice (powerpoint, google slides, keynote or prezi). Even confluence has plugins that enable you to create mind maps.

But I like starting with my trusty pen and paper:

The word Idea is inside a cloud at the centre of the page

Step 2: Start brainstorming your ideas

Then you start putting your ideas down on the paper, maybe one idea triggers a bunch of related ideas? You might even come up with that 1 big awesome idea too.

The Central idea is surrounded by connected thoughts. Thought 3 has generated the "Big Idea"

Step 3: Share your mindmap and start collaborating

Ideas get better when you share them with other people. Share your mindmap with a colleague and see if they have any new ideas to add too.

Test Insane has this awesome repository of mind maps that other software testers have created.

How are mind maps useful?

They can used during sprint planning

I created, printed and laminated this mobile testing mind map in a previous team and I would bring it to planning meetings.

I would use it to remind myself to ask about:

  • Accessibility Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Privacy

As these elements of quality are often overlooked when we are doing sprint planning in development teams.

They can be used during job interviews

When I’m interviewing other testers one of my goto questions is to ask, “how would you test a username/password field”:

If they start mind mapping test scenarios, that’s a bonus in my mind. Also bonus points if they mention something like a big list of naughty strings, or how hard it actually is to validate a proper email.

Ultimately I’m looking for them to get to context based questions, things like:

  • Why are we testing this?
  • What’s changed recently?
  • Is this already in production?

If you’d like to read more about interviewing technical testers, this post is for you.

Further reading

Testing heuristics are also a kick arse way to generate more testing ideas too. Combining heuristics and mind maps is a sure fire recipe for generating more scenarios.

Are you interested in learning more about visual note taking? This post is for you.

Wondering how you can use visual note taking with automation testing? This visual risk based framework for UI automation is for you.

Want another way of generating crazy test scenarios? Try soap opera/scenario based testing.

Do you find mind maps useful?

Let me know by leaving a comment below or by sharing this post.


Leave a Reply