innovation tools

Mind mapping your testing strategy

I recently was asked to do a talk on software testing for a group of iPhone developers.  I decided to speak to them at a practical level and talk about how I approach software testing, as I wanted them to understand that there are different ways you can perform software testing other than resorting to heavily documented process and formal test scripts.
As part of my preparation I decided to use FreeMind to create a mind map of some of my testing strategies. Like many in the testing community I find I rely heavily on mnemonics to remember heuristics and oracles. I like Parimala Shankaraiah’s post on the Power of Mnemonics and decided to create something similar but in a mind map form.

Most of the information is not new and has been around the testing community for a while. As I started brain dumping the information, I got really excited about the map. I knew that not only was it helpful for the talk, but for me personally, it provided a great tool to remind me of different approaches I can take to testing. I’ve inserted due credit, but if I’ve left anyone out or got it wrong, please let me know and I can update it.

In fact I’m so thrilled with the results, I’m going to share it. So here it is.

BlogRoll insight

This heuristic is backwards

Recently, I’ve been asked to make some comments on a book. I’m using a technique I ‘discovered’  in my early days of testing.
I am calling it the ‘Backwards Heuristic’.
In my early days of testing when I had to review documents, I lacked the confidence to speak out in review meetings. I quickly found out (rightly or wrongly) that to make a decent impression in a review, salient points had to made quickly before any team member came up with the same point.  The main reason for this, most people had only read the first three chapters of a document, because they either a) lost interest in the document  b) ran out of time  or c) were not given suitable notice about the review. Consequently,  beyond the first few chapters, most people had few or any real comment to make. In fact, review meetings often turned into an intensive discussion on the ‘introduction’, or the’ intended audience’.

So, I came up with a cunning plan, which I now call my backwards heuristic.  What I did was  always started reviewing documents from the last chapter to the first. My thought process was, most people never read the last chapters, so if anything was going to be missed, it was there.   I was on a winner, by reviewing any document from the last chapter to the first, I most always had something to comment about that was unique and worth discussing. What’s more, it often took me less time to come up with something worthwhile, than if I had read the document from start to finish.
Its only now that I have gotten round to calling it ‘the backward heuristic’, mostly because I’m reviewing James Bach’s course on RST.  However, perhaps this has been discussed by other people before? Or does it take a truly devious tester to think up such methods