Tuesday, 21 May 2013

MindMaps 101

Apologies for the lack of updates, it's been a busy week, had my 3 year wedding anniversary last week, so was busy sorting stuff out for that, and had a bit of a hectic weekend! :)

Anyway, I've recently been reading a lot about mindmaps, and how they are useful when brainstorming and coming up with areas that may or may not need testing when a story/pbi comes in.

I started to wonder what the fuss was about, so I recently created a MindMap for a recent blog post here and found it extremely useful.

So let me go over how they work, and then I'll explain how I personally find them helpful and hopefully you will too.

They are an extremely simple concept, you have your theme in the middle and off of that branches anything that you think is related or want to investigate, and then you can have branches off of them too... And so on... I find that the mind will naturally flow from one area to the next, and you won't have to think too hard and you won't forget important areas.

So let me give a brief example, say you want to discuss performance testing, you could then branch off and discuss why it's important, and then off of that discuss common performance issues. 

As you can see you can branch off a number of times, and can create quite the interesting mindmap. I've seen some with so many points on, for instance this one here around android testing is massive and extremely useful to anyone who wishes to know more about testing on an android device. This illustrates that it doesn't matter how big or how small a mindmap is, it can be useful to you, and will be useful to you and hopefully others will also find it useful and learn something from it.

I currently use bubbl.us but am on the look out for a free version which will allow me to save as much as I want, so if anyone has any suggestions shout :)

I don't use mindmaps all the time for pbis and test planning, as some are so small that it's not necessary, and I'm still quite new to them, so am trying to use them as efficiently as possible, I am using them whenever I think of a new blog post, and I try and share them with you when I can. The one for this blog post is at the bottom of this post... so enjoy! In a future post I'll take an example PBI and come up with a mindmap for it....


  1. I'm very similar - I've seen a lot about mindmaps on twitter, but haven't really used them since university days. Then I came across an example where I thought they might come in useful, thanks to twitter I found the free software 'Freemind' and now have a dozen mindmaps covering a variety of topics.

    1. I had a look at FreeMind, and I guess I'll have to play about with it some more in order to understand it's powers fully, but there are definitely tools about there. Bubbls.us was just easy and intuitive to use.

  2. Thanks for sharing the post.

    What is PBI's ?

    1. PBIs are Product Backlog Items, they are often a User story, and written in the following context:

      As a User
      I want to have something available to me/some new functionality
      So that I can do something

      They are effectively an item of work that the team will have to work on. Commonly found in an Agile environment. I'll try and write a blog post about them in the future....

  3. Mindmaps spread - have you seen the 101 from Darren McMillan?


  4. Nice one, I have been trying to find out more about "lean and mean" test case design using mind maps techniques, because I am lazy to write detailed long and meaningless test cases. The business requirements where I work change day to day and I need to edit/rewrite test cases frequently. It is a big task to keep up with everything! Is this something you can extend with an example in your future posts! :)

    1. There is one in the works! Just been really busy lately!!! Hopefully I can deliver it soon!