Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back to basics 3a: Mindmapping that last set of tests

You can find the "game rules" for this series here.

Yesterday I went through a lot of the options for creating a series of test ideas for our sample login page.

Sadly for an article like that, a lot of things had to, by necessity, be written out the long way.  As a rule of thumb looking at all those test ideas, I estimated there would be about 3 days to script it all up formally (depends on the level of detail you add).

A lot of people are proposing using mind maps to guide testing, but within Wellington, most people have come to hear of their use through talks by Aaron Hodder which you can read about here or here.

Yesterdays piece took about 90 minutes all told to write.  I managed to put much of the test ideas into this mind map in about 10-15 minutes.  Much quicker.  Although of course the mind map lacks detail, and the "discussion of why we're testing" commentary I needed to add to yesterdays document (because it's written to be an instructive guide).

Turning a test idea into a limb of a mind map is definitely "a skill" over a set of rules.  Some of those test ideas were a couple of sentences long, and a limb of a mind map won't handle that kind of detail.  You've got to be able to condense it down, put something that captures the essence of the test idea.  But will make sense when you look at it again in 2 days going "what did I mean there?".

If you don't have a Twitter account, do get one.  Twitter with it's 140 character limit is great for getting you into the habbit of condensing complex ideas into a sentence!

Aaron suggests using a mind map to help plan out and guide your testing.  If you print it out and tick/scrub out elements as you test them.  That way it shows what you've done, and what's left to test.  A useful trick, and one worth bringing to your attention.

Also, show it around (maybe even put it on the wall), and ask people if they have any better ideas.  After all, two heads are better than one - unless you're this guy ...

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