EWT12 – Mapping the Maps

EWT12 – Mapping the Maps

Date: 3rd April 2010
Time: 15:30 – 17:30 GMT

Product: Bing Maps
Your test manager has discovered mind mapping, and is keen to explore usage of mindmaps as a way to record your exploratory test sessions. He has asked a group of his testers to try out this new way of recording for a session of testing Bing Maps.

Using Freemind (or another mindmapping application if you have one available), test Bing Maps, creating a mindmap to show your test coverage. Export the mindmap as an image file – .png, .gif, or .jpg are acceptable formats.

Testers: Tony Bruce, Jeroen Rosink, Anna Baik, Markus Gärtner

Markus Gärtner facilitated the discussion afterwards.

Markus Gärtner started with his own experience report. He said that he built a rough map of the parts of the product he already knew from previous visits. After 40 minutes he got stuck, but the mindmap got him back on new test ideas with the product. For the test manager Markus proposed to use mindmap, but maybe hand-written one, since tools distract testers from their work. In the aspiring discussion Markus pointed out that each mindmap could be something just worthy for a single tester, if there was no agreed-upon set of rules for usage of signs or structure, these maps will likely be just for the use of the single tester. The group discussed whether or not to use mindmaps in a team setting with clear pros and cons.

Jeroen Rosink reported that the tool was distracting him. He pointed out that there should be clear rules on how to use such a tool in a team setting. Using mind maps might be useful for defining test cases, in combination with a test heuristic like SFDPOT it can help structure the mind. Teams using mindmapping should agree on a common usage of signs, details of notation, and coverage. In addition the lifetime of the mindmap should be considered. If the map will be in use for the whole project it will be used differently than if it is just used for a single day. Mindmaps could also be used for test managers to define the test strategy. Though the format of the maps varied, it helped clear up the thoughts during testing.

Anna Baik stated from her experience that she pair-tested with Tony Bruce. Anna explained that she was re-exercising the tests from Tony on a different browser. Using a shared mindmap together with pair testing and mindmapping as an approach were three new items on her list. So, in order to make a statement about the usefulness of mindmaps for test reports, Anna explained she would need some more sessions using them. Anna explained that she might have used more visual annotations when using a hand-drawn mindmap.

Tony Bruce reported that collaborating with Anna over text chat and the mindmap was difficult. Using voice communications would have improved their course by providing less distraction. Using mindmaps for test reporting felt difficult for him. Mindmapping is usually an approach to get his your head down somewhere. Since Tony was used to Session Tester for his test sessions, he found mindmaps annoying. Tony made clear, that mindmaps may help to think about tests or think about what’s going on, but not for reporting of test sessions. Tony explained he used mindmaps in the beginning of a project to get his thoughts down.

The full chat transcript is also available.

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