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Why should you use Mind Maps for Exploratory Testing Documentation?

Exploratory testing documentation plays an integral part in achieving enhanced product quality. Find out how Mind Maps can make it better.

Why should you use Mind Maps for Exploratory Testing Documentation - Blog

Exploratory testing is so widely used nowadays that almost all agile methodology projects use them to good effect. So if you’re wondering what makes exploratory testing an important component that is needed for a product to be successful, we have a simple answer. Exploratory testing has the potential to not just identify, but to even resolve certain issues that may have gone unnoticed during scripted testing. But what makes it that way? If you give it some thought, you will understand that scripted testing doesn’t capitalize on the tester’s expertise. Though it has its own advantages, scripted testing alone is no longer enough to meet high-quality standards. As a leading QA company, we have employed mind maps for our exploratory testing documentation in various projects. So in this blog, we will be exploring why you should document exploratory testing using mind maps.

Exploratory Testing

Let’s have a brief introduction to exploratory testing before we head over to the exploratory testing documentation part. To put it in simple words, exploratory testing is a software testing method that involves focusing on the requirements, the test design, and the test execution at the same time. It’s a hands-on technique in which testers are involved in as little planning as possible while still performing as many tests as possible. Usually, in testing, the test cases are written in advance along with the expected results. After which, the testers will perform the tests and compare the actual result to the expected result.

What makes exploratory testing different is that the expected results are not defined, as not all results can be predicted. As mentioned earlier, exploratory testing can be used to tap into the potential of a seasoned software tester who has vast experience. Moreover, only an experienced tester will be able to perform effective exploratory testing as a fresher who might be even able to perform automation testing will suffer without experience. But it is a well-known fact that experience alone doesn’t make a person more adept in their field. So it is vital that the tester has the required expertise as well.

Exploratory Testing

Why is Documentation Necessary?

Quality can’t be achieved by just finding the bugs, it can be achieved only if the identified bugs are fixed. That is why good documentation is an integral part of exploratory testing. Just imagine yourself being on any team, be it sports, IT, or any domain, it is of paramount importance that all the players on your team are on the same page as you. If there is a lack of communication within the team then you would no longer function as a team, rather you would be functioning as an individual in a group. Good documentation doesn’t just make it easy for every person on your team to understand your actions, it’s also instrumental in helping you maintain a record of your actions that can be used to reflect upon and create new strategies.

There are multiple ways one can document the test cases, but just like how exploratory testing has its distinct advantages, let’s find out what are the plus points of using mind maps for exploratory testing documentation.

Exploratory Testing Documentation using Mind Maps

Mind maps in general, have a lot of advantages for many use cases. But in this blog, we will be focusing on what makes them apt for documenting exploratory testing. Unlike formal descriptions, the structure of mind maps is very much adaptable to changes. It is a powerful approach that has the capacity to improve learning about the application/product and enable testers to solve the problem in creative and efficient ways. Since the expected results are not defined in exploratory testing, we can add new nodes during or after execution to cover the entire application. You can create as many test cases as you want in your mind map using different nodes, you even can add a node, edit an existing node, or delete a node as per the requirement.

For a better understanding of the exploratory testing documentation, let’s take a look at an example. The mind map we have used below illustrates the exploratory testing flow for the process of ordering a product from Amazon.

Mind Map for Ordering on Amazon

Exploratory Testing Documentation using Mind Map

If not for exploratory testing, a tester would generally

→Check for the navigation smoothness
→Cosmetics check on each page
→Check for the timeout session
→Check for the amount deduction, reduction, etc.

But as an exploratory tester, he/she would have to perform the test cases using both mobile and web login. So mind maps are a great option for the high number of combinations that would be required during exploratory testing.

If the tester had to perform the same action, but as an existing user, then the general way to write test cases would be,

Positive test cases:

The primary objective here is to ensure that the login is successful when the correct credentials are given.

Entering correct email id or the phone number → Okay
Entering correct password → Okay

Negative test cases:

The objective here would be to ensure that the login is successful only when the correct credentials are given. So we would have to try out different combinations to make sure that everything works correctly as planned.
Combination 1 :
Entering incorrect email id or phone number → Okay
Entering the correct password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay
Combination 2 :
Entering correct email id or phone number → Okay
Entering incorrect password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay
Combination 3 :
Entering incorrect email id or phone number → Okay
Entering incorrect password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay

Despite using straightforward terms for a very simple scenario, this type of descriptive exploratory testing documentation might still confuse people. But at the same time, if we use a mind map to represent the same information, it will definitely seem simple.

Mind Map for Existing User

Existing user - Exploratory Testing

On seeing this mind map, even a non-technical person like a Business Analyst will be able to understand the way of testing. The visual representation helps to create an uncluttered outline of the entire process making it far more superior than the regular documenting that can be done on a notepad or similar tools. Apart from that, mind maps will be instrumental in predicting what other errors could be there based on the existing record and save loads of time and effort.

In the future, if there was an additional screen that was added after the login screen, it can be represented as follows,

Mind Map for Additional Feature

Exploratory Testing Documentation

The above figure illustrates the concept of an additional screen that has been introduced next to the login screen as a part of security for the application. So according to that, even if the correct credentials are given the user would have to enter the captcha code correctly to successfully log in.

Conclusion

Since exploratory testing is also reliant on the tester’s cognitive skills, mind maps are an excellent choice that can bring the best out of the exploratory testing documentation process. Our highly skilled team has enjoyed using mind maps to provide the best exploratory testing services to all our clients, and we highly recommend you try it as well. We hope you found this blog to be informative. If you have any doubts or strategies you would like to share, make sure to use the comments section.

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Exploratory testing is so widely used nowadays that almost all agile methodology projects use them to good effect. So if you’re wondering what makes exploratory testing an important component that is needed for a product to be successful, we have a simple answer. Exploratory testing has the potential to not just identify, but to even resolve certain issues that may have gone unnoticed during scripted testing. But what makes it that way? If you give it some thought, you will understand that scripted testing doesn’t capitalize on the tester’s expertise. Though it has its own advantages, scripted testing alone is no longer enough to meet high-quality standards. As a leading QA company, we have employed mind maps for our exploratory testing documentation in various projects. So in this blog, we will be exploring why you should document exploratory testing using mind maps.

Exploratory Testing

Let’s have a brief introduction to exploratory testing before we head over to the exploratory testing documentation part. To put it in simple words, exploratory testing is a software testing method that involves focusing on the requirements, the test design, and the test execution at the same time. It’s a hands-on technique in which testers are involved in as little planning as possible while still performing as many tests as possible. Usually, in testing, the test cases are written in advance along with the expected results. After which, the testers will perform the tests and compare the actual result to the expected result.

What makes exploratory testing different is that the expected results are not defined, as not all results can be predicted. As mentioned earlier, exploratory testing can be used to tap into the potential of a seasoned software tester who has vast experience. Moreover, only an experienced tester will be able to perform effective exploratory testing as a fresher who might be even able to perform automation testing will suffer without experience. But it is a well-known fact that experience alone doesn’t make a person more adept in their field. So it is vital that the tester has the required expertise as well.

Exploratory Testing

Why is Documentation Necessary?

Quality can’t be achieved by just finding the bugs, it can be achieved only if the identified bugs are fixed. That is why good documentation is an integral part of exploratory testing. Just imagine yourself being on any team, be it sports, IT, or any domain, it is of paramount importance that all the players on your team are on the same page as you. If there is a lack of communication within the team then you would no longer function as a team, rather you would be functioning as an individual in a group. Good documentation doesn’t just make it easy for every person on your team to understand your actions, it’s also instrumental in helping you maintain a record of your actions that can be used to reflect upon and create new strategies.

There are multiple ways one can document the test cases, but just like how exploratory testing has its distinct advantages, let’s find out what are the plus points of using mind maps for exploratory testing documentation.

Exploratory Testing Documentation using Mind Maps

Mind maps in general, have a lot of advantages for many use cases. But in this blog, we will be focusing on what makes them apt for documenting exploratory testing. Unlike formal descriptions, the structure of mind maps is very much adaptable to changes. It is a powerful approach that has the capacity to improve learning about the application/product and enable testers to solve the problem in creative and efficient ways. Since the expected results are not defined in exploratory testing, we can add new nodes during or after execution to cover the entire application. You can create as many test cases as you want in your mind map using different nodes, you even can add a node, edit an existing node, or delete a node as per the requirement.

For a better understanding of the exploratory testing documentation, let’s take a look at an example. The mind map we have used below illustrates the exploratory testing flow for the process of ordering a product from Amazon.

Mind Map for Ordering on Amazon

Exploratory Testing Documentation using Mind Map

If not for exploratory testing, a tester would generally

→Check for the navigation smoothness
→Cosmetics check on each page
→Check for the timeout session
→Check for the amount deduction, reduction, etc.

But as an exploratory tester, he/she would have to perform the test cases using both mobile and web login. So mind maps are a great option for the high number of combinations that would be required during exploratory testing.

If the tester had to perform the same action, but as an existing user, then the general way to write test cases would be,

Positive test cases:

The primary objective here is to ensure that the login is successful when the correct credentials are given.

Entering correct email id or the phone number → Okay
Entering correct password → Okay

Negative test cases:

The objective here would be to ensure that the login is successful only when the correct credentials are given. So we would have to try out different combinations to make sure that everything works correctly as planned.
Combination 1 :
Entering incorrect email id or phone number → Okay
Entering the correct password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay
Combination 2 :
Entering correct email id or phone number → Okay
Entering incorrect password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay
Combination 3 :
Entering incorrect email id or phone number → Okay
Entering incorrect password → Supposed to throw an error → Okay

Despite using straightforward terms for a very simple scenario, this type of descriptive exploratory testing documentation might still confuse people. But at the same time, if we use a mind map to represent the same information, it will definitely seem simple.

Mind Map for Existing User

Existing user - Exploratory Testing

On seeing this mind map, even a non-technical person like a Business Analyst will be able to understand the way of testing. The visual representation helps to create an uncluttered outline of the entire process making it far more superior than the regular documenting that can be done on a notepad or similar tools. Apart from that, mind maps will be instrumental in predicting what other errors could be there based on the existing record and save loads of time and effort.

In the future, if there was an additional screen that was added after the login screen, it can be represented as follows,

Mind Map for Additional Feature

Exploratory Testing Documentation

The above figure illustrates the concept of an additional screen that has been introduced next to the login screen as a part of security for the application. So according to that, even if the correct credentials are given the user would have to enter the captcha code correctly to successfully log in.

Conclusion

Since exploratory testing is also reliant on the tester’s cognitive skills, mind maps are an excellent choice that can bring the best out of the exploratory testing documentation process. Our highly skilled team has enjoyed using mind maps to provide the best exploratory testing services to all our clients, and we highly recommend you try it as well. We hope you found this blog to be informative. If you have any doubts or strategies you would like to share, make sure to use the comments section.