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Test Plans + Mind Maps!

June 28, 2019

mind map


There are loads of different types of test plans out there.  Some are pages and pages.  Some are short and sweet.  Some visual. Some mostly text. I am going to be addressing one specific type of test plan that I find works well in an agile environment.  It’s less structured, more informal, easy, and gets the point across. 

First of all, what are test plans?


Test plans are a document of what/how/when a story will be tested before development, and they clearly display what outcomes will be expected as the story moves along. 


There’s also different types of test plans: big ol master test plans for the whole app and feature test plans for one feature. These plans can list several things, including scope, verifications, schedule, approach. 


In an agile environment, things move fast.  Because of this, time can be an issue when it comes to creating test plans.  The benefit of a mind map is that it’s something you can whip out quickly to help guide you in test coverage. 

mind map


Break it down: What are mind maps really good for, and why do people tend to use them?  

Mind maps show complex relationships between elements in a snap shot. All these complex relationships and linking get boiled down into little words and paths.  They are especially helpful when there are a bunch of variables working together in paths of user flow. I find mind maps to be my go-to tool when: 


  • Testing complex features with lots of different paths. 
  • There are features sharing functionality with different types of users. 
  • I’m in a situation where’s there’s lots of different ways to get a result
  • I’m dealing with lots of data


Mind Map Example

This is an example mind map I’d create for a job listing page.  This page has a handful of features and responds differently depending on whether the user is a guest or registered user.  If something has changed or was added to this page, I would keep all these paths and variables in mind when testing. 

mind map



When I’m testing something, I think to myself ‘what does the feature touch’?  What are all the ways I can access this feature?  What are all the ways of submitting info in this feature?  What users see what along the path of flow with this feature?  What variables can I change?


These questions are easier to answer when the feature is smaller.  Once it grows and becomes more complex, it may be helpful to create a mind map. It’s a low effort/high impact tool, so you have a go-to guide to know what touches what. 


Summary

Mind maps might look scary at first, but they're actually a great tool for test planning that can help your agile process. If you've used mind maps before, share your experience with this strategy in the comments section below.


Ready to make your own mind map test plan?

Make your own: https://app.mindmapmaker.org/#m:new

Test plans: https://www.guru99.com/agile-testing-a-beginner-s-guide.html

https://www.3pillarglobal.com/insights/5-rules-to-the-road-for-test-planning-in-agile

Other articles about mind maps test plans: https://www.cmcrossroads.com/article/using-mind-maps-create-comprehensive-test-plans-your-alm

https://lisacrispin.com/2011/02/28/using-mind-maps-for-test-planning/

https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/mind-mapping-software-testing/

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