DevOps is accelerating the rate of application deployments, which in turn highlights the need for an effective testing methodology. Many technology professionals struggle to visualize and implement testing methodologies.
Mind maps can be an invaluable tool for achieving success in testing efforts. They encourage creative thinking and provide an easily digestible, visual test plan that can accommodate several layers of depth. You can define your strategy and share your progress across the entire project team.
Here are four steps that will help you implement mind maps successfully in your testing efforts.
Step 1: Establish the purpose
What are you going to use mind maps for? You need to make sure you have clear goals and objectives for your mind map adoption and that everyone working on the project understands them. Don't dive in at the deep end. Choose a small project to start with or a specific part of the system you are testing, and give yourself and the rest of the team the time to learn how the software works and what it can do.
There is a learning curve involved with adopting mind maps into the testing process, and you want to make it as gentle as possible to avoid disruption and minimize risk to your team’s delivery timelines.
Step 2: Select the right tool
Your selection will depend on what features your team needs and what your budget is. The tools range from complete project management suites to relatively straightforward diagram editors. Prices range from free to one-off purchase prices to subscription models. Try out a couple of candidates and see what feels right.
Step 3: Create the visual outline
You have the tool ready to go and you've established where you're going to use it and what the objectives are. Now it's time to create a good visual outline. You can break this down into four areas:
- Test planning and strategy: Validation points, scope of tests, and priority of planned execution
- Test execution: Issues encountered and execution progress
- Test automation: Candidate identification for automation and logical grouping of common scripts for reusability
- Product behavior: Workflows within the product and interactions with users or other systems
Step 4: Evolve the information
The mind map must be a living document for it to work efficiently. That means it must be stored in a central location accessible by all team members. You're going to want to consider version control to ensure that changes are logged and recorded and older data is not lost.
You'll also have to iteratively evaluate what should be stored in the mind map and parse data to keep it usable. You can link to secondary documents or include tabs to allow the mind map to be expanded and collapsed as required. It's very important you don't let it grow unchecked, or it will become unmanageable.
Making Mind Maps Work
You will get more out of mind maps as you and your team grow more familiar with using them. Here are ten questions to keep in mind when you're defining your mind maps.
- What are the different functions you are testing?
- How are you testing them?
- Where are you testing them?
- What is the testing scope?
- What user security or data is specific to your test?
- When do you test?
- Are there critical areas where defects should be actively tracked?
- Do you have a priority order for testing?
- Are there any gaps in your understanding of the function and what you're actually validating?
- Are there things that are reusable from a workflow or scripting perspective?
If you take the time to come to grips with mind maps (and get your team on board), then you'll find they can be much more efficient than traditional documentation. You can scale them up gradually, use them sparingly, or make them the key artifact from your testing efforts, depending on your needs.
Mind maps can encourage a new perspective in your test team and promote collaboration, but that also extends to the developers, business stakeholders, and management. These maps make it easier for colleagues to grasp your work process, your progress, and your understanding of the project. Using these methods, you can improve your testing methodology and enable your DevOps application deployment.
Open your mind and give them a go.