Mind Mapping in Software Testing – Ways to Make Testing More Fun!

As we all know visual aid is more powerful than any other mode of learning. This has proven many times that people will remember the creative visual aid than learning the things traditionally.

Usually we have seen people explaining presentations by chalking the lines, circles, and squares on board or through PowerPoint point slides.

But have we ever thought representing it in more creative way? Have we ever thought to make it more colorful?

If not, please read the below article to present your ideas in more creative way.

What is Mind Mapping?

A mind map is a graphical representation of ideas and concepts. It is a creative and logical way of advanced note-taking using symbols, colors, mind shapes, words, lines and images. This helps you to structuring information, helping you to understand requirements in better way, helps you to analyze, to cover the data comprehensively and moreover its fun!!

Why Mind Map is Required?
When we have many conventional methods why we need mind map? How this is different from concept maps.

  • Increases  creativity
  • Simple to implement the idea in creative way
  • Very flexible and easy to maintain the mind maps.
  • Provide more coverage.
  • Can position all the data at one place (you need visit different portals every time).
  • Can represent to management without any hurdle and confusion.
  • We can mark different areas in different way to make it more attractive.

Where Mind Maps Can Be Used For:
Mind map is not limited for particular problems and ideas. It is open to create maps for every idea you have. Just you need to have good idea and intuitive knowledge about the subject.

  • Problem solving
  • Structural representations
  • Team planning
  • Condensing material into compact and effective format
  • To graph team activity.

Mind Map in Software Testing

Testing is huge area of ideas and creativity. Every phase of testing has its own methods and terminologies. It is up to the individual where to apply mind map in software testing. It is always advisable to have good understanding and ground work of internal branches of testing phase which you are planning to chalk out. We need to collect all those thoughts into one place.

Find the below few examples which could help you to frame your ideas.

Work Assignment on Software Project – Mind Map
This is about total work assigned to you for one release. What data you need to collect to map your ideas. A sample and simple example,

  1. Start with the release name and year (like: June’12 Major Release)
  2. Collect all requirements assigned to you.(Like: CRs,SR,ITRs)
  3. Collect requirement numbers.
  4. Collect the requirement names and program name under which these requirement falls.
  5. Collect charge codes provided to each requirement.
  6. Collect Developer, Development lead and Development manager names (It helps to catch development team when we face issue)
  7. Similarly collect Testing team details. This helps you not hit internal websites every time if someone asks you to provide details.
  8. Collect analyst details. This is to get clarification on your requirements.
  9. Collect the iteration details (start date, end date, number) under which iteration the requirement comes.
  10.  Collect all the links and credentials from where you access these details

[Click to enlarge image]  Work Assignment on Software Project – Mind Map

A Small analysis of this mind map,

  • Requirement square has a small pen and book like symbol; it indicates that it has some notes move cursor on requirements or those notes you can see in the bottom.
  • Requirement numbers and flags. Flag is for severity of the requirement, here Red flag indicates that it is a critical requirement and with iteration number 1.
  • See the graphical hyperlink join between ‘Dev team’ and ‘SR12345’. It means this dev team has developed this requirement.
  • Joined one more graphical presentation from ‘Tester’ to ‘SR12345’ – This means these testers are responsible for testing these requirements.
  • Also notice Local hyper link symbol (green arrow mark) in ‘Links and Credentials’ square – This is connected between ‘Links and Credentials’ and Requirements. Click on ‘Links and Credentials’ will redirect you to ‘Requirements’ square.

Requirement Traceability Matrix Mind Map
Traceability concept is very important for testing perspective. This maps testing requirements to testcases by preparing test traceability matrix. Through this we have to ensure that we have covered all the testing functionality of the application.

Traceability between requirements and other downstream components like tests, task, team, milestones can be achieved from mind map.

One of the simple example we have mapped using mind map tool:
[Click to enlarge image]

Requirement Traceability Matrix Mind Map

This is how I have mapped my requirements and again this is depending on the user how he assigns the value to symbols.

Similarly mind map can be used in any phase of the testing. Few more scenarios listed here, you can try these in your company.

  1. Test case creation from Use case / Requirements.
  2. General report management.
  3. Automation test script management.
  4. Team management.
  5. Daily or weekly meetings.

Mind Map Guidelines
Tony Buzan (Inventor of Mind Mapping) suggests 7 steps for making a successful mind map.

Mind Mapping Examples in Software Testing
Please access below links for more testing mind maps

  1. Example 1 – Test Planning using mind map
  2. Example 2 – Software Testing Interactive Mind map
  3. Example 3 – Software testing types mind map

Free Mind Mapping Software

Many freeware mind mapping tools are available in market. You can try any mind map tool which works for your ideas. Few free tools listed below which I’m familiar with.

  1. Free Mind
  2. Edraw Mind Map
  3. Wise mapping
  4. Mind Meister


About Author: This is a guest post by Nataraj Kanchyani. He is working as a Senior Software Engineer-Testing at Centurylink Technologies India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore.

Want to share more ideas for using mind mapping in software testing? Please comment your experience using mind mapping tools and techniques.

Recommended reading


#1 Suneet Sharma

Kindly send me free Ebook of Software testing on my email id.

#2 Kirankumar Reddy

very interesting concept and a must read for every software tester.

I suppose we can use this technique in every phase of SDLC for requirement gathering, design, development, testing, team management etc.

#3 Atul Sharma

even test cases can be also managed using this technique. just you need to good knowledge of AUT

#4 Girish

Kindly send me free Ebook of Software testing on my email id.

#5 Sudheer Kumar

Used mindmapping technique and created maps instead of writing test cases and got approval from clients, during crunch time.

Also making the resources use this technique gives little more interest in creating maps than usual test case design.

There are lot of free tools available for mind mapping.

#6 Nataraj

Sudheer, You are correct.. many companies are already using this technique.This is very usefull and creative method. Creating TCs using mind mapping is useful thats conventional method.

Try out other work also.

#7 @halperinko - Kobi Halperin

Dear Nataraj,
While MindMaps are very useful to share ideas, we need to step out of the lately “hype” behind these in SW testing arena and consider in which cases these are really useful, and in which we just strech these due to hype.
Trully – MM are great for sharing ideas in graphical manner.
On the other hand – these are not useful for larger sets of information, or in cases where we wish to maintain this information for the long run (MM are not well connected to DBs yet).
Most of the things we are collecting in testing might be better presented in trees, which are better in handling larger quantities of information, and are integrated with DBs.
These are also easier for maintaining traceability tables etc. – as the tabular nature of DBs is much more suitable for this purpose.
As well as sharing by exporting/importing information.
When we wish to present a small portion of this information in colorful & graphical manner – that’s where MM has the advantage.

@halperinko – Kobi Halperin

#8 Shwetha M.S

If we write the test cases using mind ,how we can do tracebility matrix in mind map?

#9 Nataraj

@kobi, thanks for your comments,
1.I agree MMs are little tough to handle to when we have more data,but not impossible. In my 1st MM there small note pad @ bottom, we can store data there easily which helps you when you go directly to that branch.
2. Your branches should always contain minimum data,else will end up in confusion.Add other data in Note section.
3.Does licensed MM tool provide link to DB,Dont know.i have to learn this.
4.It will be more effective to use MM’s for shorter rls’s

#10 Nataraj

diff types of links are availble. You can link individuals using links.

#11 Shwetha

We are using Free mind tool for preparing testcases.Plz let me know how to prepare tracebility matrix using mindmap.

Can u plz elloborate your answer?

Thanks in advance

#12 sugat

Kindly send me software testing ebook.

Let me know if i need to follow any materials

#13 Aamer

Please share the software testing ebook on aamer.inam@gmail.com

Would be so nice of you.


#14 Gaurav Khurana

really nice and new concept… thanks for sharing enough details… would try to make next ppt via one of these tools…

Its a great way of explaining some requirements and for small requirements can help in avoiding writing cases

#15 Gustavo T

Hi all,
Please share the software testing book
Thanks for this post
(from Argentina) >> Regards

#16 sowmya

I need more info on types of mindmaps used in testing

#17 Nishant

which tool is batter to create mind map Xmind or Coogle

#18 Prabhat

Nice to read this post.

Mind mapping techniques most important things now-a-days. Everybody can use it.

#19 kishan

Plz send me the software testing Ebook at my email id

#20 kishan

Plz send me the software testing Ebook at my email id- kishan12june@gmail.com

#21 Manoj kannan sv

Kindly send me software testing ebook.

Let me know if i need to follow any materials

Leave a Comment