Business world is filled with examples of how ideas originate in informal settings. Rollin W.King and Herb Kelleher started Southwest Airlines after King had visualized on a cocktail napkin in a San Antonio bar, a triangle connecting Texas’ 3 major cities – Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. King immediately felt they could offer fares so low that people would fly instead of drive. Another example is Jack Welch. Shortly after becoming the CEO of GE, he explained to his wife on a cocktail napkin at a restaurant in Connecticut using 3 intersecting circles that had 3 categories: core manufacturing, technology and services. Businesses that appeared outside the circles were to be fixed, sold or closed.
What does it all mean? On a lighter note you might look at cocktail napkins differently when sitting at a bar next time but what it actually means is, ideas when visually captured are more appealing and are very powerful. That’s why we see many of us capturing whiteboard discussions on our mobile phones these days so that we can refer back to it later and build on it.
What are Mindmaps?
To quote Wikipedia, a mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. There are so many other tools such as Flowchart, UML diagrams etc. that are around for a long time. Now then why should we go for mind maps? Well, first of all a mind map can be drawn on a simple piece of paper and it doesn’t require any technical skills to use them. What better reason do we need? If you are still looking for more reasons, here they are:
- Simple to represent the idea in a visual and creative way
- Increases Creativity
- Helps in expanding coverage
- Can use simple sketch pens to denote legends and mark different areas in different ways
- Can be used simultaneously by multiple people in a brainstorming session
Where to use Mind maps?
Mind Maps is not limited to a specific area of work. You can use them to capture the most complex of your engineering ideas to something as simple as what routes are available for me to go from Point A to Point B. However, mind maps do require the user to have a good understanding and knowledge of the subject that he wants to talk about. Some examples of areas where mind maps can be used for are:
- Problem Solving
- Planning Activities
- Structural Representations
- Team Activities
Why Testers should use Mind maps?
Testing requires creative skills and every phase of testing involves brainstorming with internal and external stakeholders in order to arrive at the right test cases/scenarios. Starting with Requirements Analysis, mind maps can be used in the following phases such as Test Planning, Test Design, Test Execution and Reporting. We have shared some examples below which might help readers get an understanding of how we use mind maps at Aspire in Testing.
- Test planning: Mindmaps can be used to define the scope of the product/release and also to communicate the plan for testing
- Test Design & Reporting: Mindmaps can be used to create high-level test coverage. The same test coverage can be used during test execution and marked with pass/fail status
- Project dashboard: The test plan can be conveniently converted to project dashboard which can provide details on status, progress, assignment, issues/road blocks etc.
Mind Mapping Tools
There are tools available online today for creating mind maps. We have listed below some of the mind mapping tools that can be very helpful.
Happy Mind Mapping! 🙂
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