Category Archives: Mind mapping

Workshop Mind Maps

Can I make a mind map for a 2  hour workshop?
Nope.

First set

Over a few months I have to give a long workshop about European privacy laws and Exploratory Testing. Sometimes it is tempting to put all the information in one extra extra extra large mind map.

Giving me a disappointing delay in processing information.
Forget it.

Wait. I use several mind maps.

Yes. That is more comfortable.

In this blog post I will show titles of mind maps to prepare myself for my workshop at Agile Testing Days.

It took me months to make these mind maps. This is my way to collect more information than I would be able to share.

This gives me enough space to tailor the workshop on the spot.
Did you ever tried to entertain people for 20 minutes?
I will have to teach people for 2 hours.
Good luck. To me.

Why do I share information about my mind maps?
It will give the delegates some hints what I will tell.
I also want to share my preparation with newbie speakers.

Another reason is to attract more diverse speakers on stage. Preparations is like taking small steps.

There are even sessions for speaking at the same conference.

So what are you waiting for?

In order to avoid boredom I just select a few mind maps for a small introduction.

T
There is no way to predict the people in my audience. So I made a lot of categories. Next to the beginners, I have exercises for experienced testers, testers using tools, and managers.

An experienced tester knows what a dataflow test is. Now I also have to explain this to a manager. But I come back later to DiSSS.

Second set

The framework of my workshop is in the  file ‘Talk Lawful Thing to test 1c’. If this sounds strange to you, I completely understand you. It started as a talk and grew to a workshop.

After a while I could not add new perspectives. So I made some other mind maps.

Resources are things you can use after my workshop. This part seems relatively simple. I only had to put in some good resources in it. I made this exercise challenging for myself by adding information written by women.

A good opening or intro of the workshop sets the atmosphere for the coming hours. If I will casually tell something to complete strangers at the beginning of the workshop, it is because I rehearsed it more than 100 times.

Up till now I could not find a shortcut.
Rinse and repeat.

Third set

Tim Ferris has a never ending serie of experiments.

Yes, I made a typo in the file name. And for me it is about speed.

A mind map with central object Lawful thing – Ferris which has branches DiSSS, Jokes, and CaFE. The branch DiSSS has sub branches Deconstruct, Selection, Sequence, and Stakes. The sub branch café has sub branches  Compression, Frequency, and Encoding.

Tim developed some acronyms like DiSSS.

  • Deconstruction is the first action to understand how people perform tasks.
  • Selection is the second task to select which techniques have the most impact.
  • Sequence: what is the best order of actions?
  • Stakes: what’s in it for me?

CaFE

  • Compression: how can I compress the information on 1 page?
  • Frequency: how often should I do it to become good?
  • Encoding: what is a good way to encode the information? Like CaFE.

Is it possible to use these acronyms for GDPR testing?
I think so.
The dataflow test is a good candidate for Selection.
I wrote you I would come back to DiSSS.

The first test session needs extra attention from my side.
During my workshop there are several sessions during which delegates are going to test. Hands on is different from watching. It is like a tennis game with everyone on the tennis court.
And I am the referee.

The mind map ‘20190528 add Lawful thing’ contains information I still need to process.

A workshop is like work.

Speaking matters

In this blog post I share my latest progress on my speaking.
One of my reasons is to get more diverse speakers on stage.

The making and the scale of my mind maps might intimidate newbie speakers.

What I left out, is my adding of nodes in the mind maps over time. This could be days apart.

What I left out, is the long study.
If I add 1 branch to a mind map every day, I have a mind map of 365 branches after a year. I started in the summer of 2018.

If I go in more details, the more branches I will add on a single day.

A talk takes time.

Conference Digest Mind Map

This is my small tribute to Tony Buzan, who died on April 13th 2019. He was the inventor of the mind map. Rest in peace Tony.

Mind map with central object "Todo Wordcamp Rdam 2019 v1a" with main branches presentations, Notes, Goodies, Books, and Actions. Main branch presentation has sub branches Stomme post, Hashtag, http headers, Get fast and Live.  Sub branch Hash tag has sub sub branches #ewmrtc and a part of an URL. Sub branches  Goodies has sub branches Camera sticker and highlighter. The main branch Actions has sub branches 404, host, security.txt, xmrpx.php. Markers, and “words pictures”. The sub branch Markers has sub sub branch Backpack. The sub branch host has Csp and .htacess. The sub branch Books has sub branches “safe website”, “performance wordpress site”, and “SEO starters”!

Quick breakdown of my mind map

On my smartphone I use Mindjet Mindmanager. It is a rather dull looking mind map program. I can add colour, but that will slow me down. For me mind mapping is jotting ideas as fast as possible.

My first action was to make my conference notes readable. My handwriting is quite awful. The use of sketchnotes did not improve the quality significantly.
Just wait and see.

My notes were about WordCamp Rotterdam 2019. There were some really technical talks. It is almost impossible to translate technical stuff like settings of analytics programs or Cascading Style Sheets to images.
Yeah. You’re right.

Okay. The Notes branch was needed as a reminder that I would read my notes without thinking too long.

Almost immediately I added a branch with presentations. If needed, I would read the presentations in slow speed. Just before blogging I realized I made an error. I opened Twitter search and entered the hashtag “#wcrtm” and “slides”. #wcrtm stands for WordCamp RotTerdaM. All the presentations of the interesting talks popped up.

Another branch is Goodies. These are gifts of sponsors. I lost my highlighter somewhere. I marked this branch with a red cross. Then I remembered that I had a camera sticker from a previous conference, which I found and placed. So I marked this branch with a green V. For the English people: Jack in the box.

I got some booklets / books about SEO or Search Engine Optimalisation, performance of a website and website security. The reason, that I did put this branch under the central object, was to balance the tree. This tip was given by a business consultant. The way I interpreted was that I had to avoid a mindmap with too few main branches.

Back to my Books branch. This branch contained information which I could use. Not immediately, but it was something I could not put away lightly. The Goodies branch was more like: done and forget.

Now comes the most important main branch in my mind map: Actions. Sub branches were added during my note cleanup.

This website still had no proper 404 screen. Yes, there are some plug ins, but is there a more elegant way to solve this problem? Also too many plug ins will slow down my website.

During the conference there were lots of configuration suggestions. As a newbie WordPress administrator I asked, how I could configure this. The answer was to contact the host provider. Actions from my side could collide with actions from the host provider. Bracing for impact.

I still have to place a security.txt on my website. More information can be found in securitytxt.org.

On the web I read some disturbing information about Xmlrpc.php. On the conference it was strongly suggested to remove it.

Another action was to collect all my markers for future notes. A final action was to put extra information about text in my pictures in the Alt Text.

Depending on my progress and feedback of my host provider I will adjust my actions in my mind map.

We need to speak. Let’s talk.

Especially, if you want to speak at a conference in 2019.

My New Year’s resolution is to speak at one conference. But it takes a lot of actions from my side.

This year I tweeted about sketch notes for a workshop. This triggered me to write this post about using visual tools in 3 acts.

Ready? Set. Read.

Act 1

A conference does not need a complete presentation in advance. So this is a huge time saver. Call it a lifehack.
Serious. Hack.

I always look at the theme of the conference. Most of the times this leads to 2 proposals. A proposal is a summary of something.

Something is what I am mulling about in my brains. I only have to put it in a mindmap.

There are several structures. A favourite one is an experience report. STAR is rather useful:

  • Situation
  • Tasks
  • Actions
  • Result

Once I was a test coordinator and I was requested to execute a performance test. I hired a performance tester. The website could handle the load properly, but the web masters had to cope with long delays. So I opted for a hybrid approach: a computer for a load test on the website and human testers acting as webmasters.
The result were acceptable response times.

Another way is to address nagging questions. This could lead to a presentation about exploratory testing and regulations.

What about this pitch?
I used Exploratory Testing in the healthcare domain. My tests passed audits in 2 consecutive years.
Pretty cool.

A nice workshop is based on exercises. No sweat no gain.

Structure is something like 1 exercise per hour including setup, doing and reflection.

I always go to the submission form and find all questions in advance. While submitting I prefer copy and paste. I copy the text in the note of a branch in a mindmap and I paste the text in the answer in the submission form. I try to avoid situations like ‘That will take another hour to answer this question properly’.

Most proposals have the following elements:

  • Info about speaker including speaking experience
  • Description
  • Summary
  • Takeaways

Okay time for a visual tool. Enter the mindmap.

For more details just click on the pic(ture).

Mindmap with branches exercises, title, and English alternative
In case you noticed some Dutch words, it is my mother language. So I translated some words in English. For the record this proposal was accepted after more than 2 years.

At the office I worked with TDD. This lead to this mindmap.

Mindmap with branches timeline, setting, references,termen, summary, description, metadata, and Oud

The description. summary, and takeaways are shown in blue and bold. I wrote a lot of thoughts in the branches. This proposal was rejected several times, so I turned this in a blog post serie.

This year General Data Protection Regulation needed a bit of exposure.
A mindmap with the branches activity A, test ideeeen, Zelf, Reported website, mailings, purchase X, purchase Y. and Blad
This proposal was not accepted and also this one was transformed in a blog post serie.

This minimal mindmap was a remake of other mindmaps.
A mindmap with the branches Exercises, Proposal, and Writing
It took me several attempts to get my workshop for blogging accepted for a test conference.

Act 2

[Update author: my opinion is not the same as the author of the referred characters, but I believe in the goodness of the good characters.]

The last years I use a lined notebook to make sketchnotes. It is my way to be creative in a visual way. I feel like a Merry Potter.


“A lot of people think you can only use a laptop to write blog posts. Well, this picture shows my tools I use for blogging. And yes, marker and paper have impact on my writing. Sometimes I have to rewrite whole sections.”

Music notes followed by ‘Spotify iTunes”. “MUSIC” has an arrow with “?” pointing to “Blogs”.
“Would you please raise your hand, if you use Spotify or iTunes?
Thank you. As expected most people listen to these services.
Personally I think music is important.
I see people nodding.
Question: why do you not use music in your blog posts?”

"Getting in the flow " followed by a curly lined arrow. "movement" pointing to a typewriter with "Type" and a pen with "write".!
“One of the difficult things with blogging is paralysis. What is my first section, first sentence, or my first word? What I do, is start writing and get in a flow. Movement of the body also leads movement of my mind.”

"Finding" Picture of fish "Marlin"!
“When I blogged a post, I discovered the heuristic ‘Finding Marlin’ Marlin stands for ‘Make a real life impression now’”.

Readers recognise situations like conservations. I just describe what I see and hear.”

"Start" pointing to "0.1" and versa. The same for "Start" and "0.2". The same for "Start" and "0.3". Under picture "etc. Retell.”!

“A good story develops over time. The first time I write a story it is bland. It does not excite me. So I change a few words for more speed and flavour.”

“Meta Blogging”, followed by a rectangle pointing to a rectangle pointing to a cloud. There is also an arrow from the first rectangle to the cloud.!
“A blog post is something I put in the cloud. First I make a file. The text including markup instructions I copy to the cloud for multiple edits and  publication. I blogged about this process. The most left rectangle is the blog post about writing blog post and the resulting blog post. I call it meta blogging.”

A watch followed by "Time Traveling"!
“This trick is a nice one. In the blog post from 3 October 2016 I was really delighted to be invited to speak for my first workshop at an international test conference covering my travel and accommodation costs. The post contains:
‘The fun has started.’
It points to a tweet of 6 September 2016 with the text ‘Yes seriously’.

It looks like I did some time traveling: blogging in October, tweeting in September, and finishing blogging in October. I only wrote towards the tweet, that contained my punchline.”

Act 3

Most of the times I got ideas for pictures from my sketch notes. In order to avoid copyright issues I use my own pictures and sketch notes. Or ask and get permission.

While studying User Experience, I heard about a designer making 50 designs in 50 days. I really liked his work in Amsterdam.
As a Dutchman I am biased. Of course.

Back on course. He made a booklet for frequently asked questions. There were 4 categories with questions. In 2 steps an answer for question was likely to be found.

Now I had a writing exercise for a blogging workshop. Um. Wait, I could use a similar structure for this part.

4 quandrants containing a snail, signpost, someone looking up to a bar, and an empty thought balloon!

  • Snail  meaning “Slow”
  • Signpost meaning “Direction”
  • Empty thought balloon meaning “No idea”
  • Someone looking up to a bar meaning “Bar too high”

I made this nice obstacle map. Attendees could place a sticky note on the map. With 50 attendees I could get a quick overview.
Let’s get visual.

But how to keep up with a beamer? I had 20 mini presentations to handle questions.

Scrolling
is boring.

In my mindmap I placed links to presentations. My first version was solution driven.
Wait, how was I supposed to jump to solutions?
No idea.

I changed the solution to verification of the right context. What were the symptoms? I also would ask some additional questions. Nothing is worse to misinterpret a problem encountered. That is the moment my voice start to Rumble Or … I start to Fumble For …

OK time for a little demo:

A mindmap with branches "Direction", "No Idea", "Slow", and "Bar too high"!
Using the presentation mode only the speaker – that’s me – can see the mind map. I click on “Direction” and all subbranches are opened. Then I click on “How do I write this down? ” and my first slide is shown for the attendees.

TExt balloon containing "How do I write this down?"!

“So basically this is the question, what you are struggling with.”

A tweet showing a photo of "Perron 9 3/4" at Utrecht Central Station. It is overlapped by "Time for magic"!
“I took this picture at a Dutch railway station. ‘Perron 9 3/4’ can be translated to ‘Platform 9 3/4’. This seems impossible.
Writing a blog post looks like magic for a lot of people. Let me take this as a starting point.”

Eye and "Characters"!

“If you look to the books about Harry Potter, there are several characters. It is not all about a single hero. Every interaction adds to the story. If I write blog posts, I can use different views like the tester, the scrum master, or the manager.”

Disclaimer

This blog post does not offer 100% acceptance success of proposals. See act 1. Writing proposals and making talks take a lot of practice. And some visual tools really helped me.

BTW

if you are still hesitating to talk, please consider https://techvoices.org .
[Update: TechVoices was formerly known as Speak Easy.]

3 2 1 dissect

Looking for a new blog subject was not that difficult. At that moment I was making jokes.

The trigger for the post was my thought process during lunch. This painful moment reminded me that I have to careful with rehearsing. Especially in front of my family.

Jokes have to be rehearsed many times to get the right wording and timing. I do not mind a good joke. It just takes time.

The theme of the post was jokes. So I thought back which jokes I had used in the past.

This way I remembered the University of Technology. In my graduation year there was no presentation program. I wrote with a marker on transparent plastic slides and used an overhead projector to show the slides behind me.

I cut the slides to pieces, so I could add special effects like vanishing lines. This could be funny.

From then I started my journey to today. All kind of moments of used jokes I added to my list. After the first draft I had a mind map with two levels. When I looked more closely, I saw an unordered set of stories.

This is not particularly bad. Ed Catmull calls it the ugly baby. The creative process starts with rough ideas. At the early stages the writer has to be patient. It can become a beauty of a story.

This brainstorm did not automatically lead to sections. The paragraph about Harry Potter reminded me of a song of Queen. That became my first section title.

For another section I added ‘Expect the unexpected’. This advice is used too many times, but it was consistent with the vanishing walls

Next stage was to convert short word descriptions to snippets of stories. This was not difficult. At least I had some Fieldstones or stories to share.

It was time to continue in a new version of the mind map

mind map of first version blog post

In the second version of the mind map I continued to add notes to the branches.

The Fieldstones were short and hard to read. I had put pieces of my memory in a mind map without any transition, so I added some words to describe the setting.

Now I had to structure the mind map. I had already ordered some branches, so I added the first branches in one group.

It was about using jokes in the present and future. The next section was focused on my workshop at TestBash Netherlands. If someone without a test background can understand my jokes, then it is good.

The third section was about jokes in the office. Yes, I like the humour of programmers.

The last section was a transcript of some jokes during a presentation about a performance test. During the rehearsal of the jokes I thought about some visualisations to increase the impact of the jokes. These movements were added in the last weeks before the talk.

The grouping of branches led to the following sections: ‘expect the unexpected’, ‘practice makes people smile’, ‘it’s kind of magic’ and ‘what about this?’.

There was an extra section about twittering. I started with a simple story about my reaction on a single tweet. It began to grow. I still had the tweets stored in a mind map, so that saved me a lot of typing.

Then came the editor question: does it fit? I wanted to write about making jokes for my own presentation. I marked the branch with a red cross. It would not be contained.

A frequently used branch for me is Metadata. It is a way to remind me to add extra information to the post. I had found the Chicken picture beginning this year and this became the banner.

The categories were more difficult than usual. How would I categorise a post with jokes? So I introduced ‘Fun intended’. It is a variation on ‘Pun intended’. Fun rhymes on Pun, so that’s good. Fun!

mind map of second version blog post

My work title of the blog post was ‘Adding humour’. That was good enough. So I made a link from the title to the central object.

[Update author: my opinion is not the same as the author of the referred characters, but I believe in the goodness of the good characters.]

The Office section contained a reference to Harry Potter and that is difficult to follow for people who do not know this character. I solved this by using some common sense humour.

This was one of the few times that I used a joke as a writer in this post. Normally I add more jokes to make a post more digestible. But this would lessen the effects of the described jokes.

The Twitter section was still in my mind. Was it really off theme? I noticed that I was not the only one cracking jokes. Other people like the street artist and the scrum master made jokes about things unrelated to my workshop.

What the heck.
So I decided to put it back in the blog post.

Then the editing started followed by reediting. Etcetera.

The research part is a rewarding one. I checked facts in my blog post. For the Harry Potter section I had added a joke about muggles. While watching a movie I heard the American word for muggle. I went into a bookstore and looked up the word in the book with the screenplay.

The proper spelling of the quote from a song of Queen was checked using a search engine.

mind map of fourth version blog post

This ends my dissection of my previous blog post. I hope that you and I learned something. I certainly did. I basically wrote down my steps and thoughts.

mind map of this blog post

On my work I have test charters and bug reports which describe my actions. I can justify my tests.

For me it was one step more to tell a story to testing peers at a test conference.

Maybe you have something to share. Really. Just take your time.

Some experiences of you are really worthwhile for your peers. Especially things you just do automatically like me writing a blog post on a smartphone using mind maps.

There is a supporting testing community out there constantly looking for short and long stories, talks, and workshops for testers.
Please have a look.

Zoom out. Zoom in.

On the Kanban board was a sticky showing me what to test.

Zoom out. Zoom in.
The test plan had acceptance criteria for this functionality. I picked the first criterion.

Zoom out. Zoom in.
In the knowledge management system I went to the test department and clicked to the application section. Then I looked for the test case.
Yes, I like to modify my input on the fly. In this case a data file would save me hours of testing.
I could not locate the file.

Zoom out. Zoom in.
I went to the PO or Product Owner. He also started looking:
“Maybe I sent you the file.”

Zoom out. Zoom in.
I went back to my desk. In the mail program I could not find the right file. Then I remembered that this functionality had been covered in one ticket. I found a zip file. This contained other zip files.

Another zoom in. I unpacked a zip file. And repeated this for another contained zip file. I found the data file and expected results.

Zoom out. Zoom in.
I went to the PO to tell him the good news.

Before I went home, I zoomed in in the knowledge management system. I uploaded the found files. The names explained the contents of the files. The next day I would take time to tidy things up.

Zoom out: out of office.

Rat’s Head, Ox’s Neck

Waiting.

I grabbed my notebook with the sketchnotes for my workshop at TestBash Netherlands. In my head I went through all possible visual solutions for a test exercise. I drew the most simple one. At that moment I had no more details to fill in. I almost came to a stop. A workshop in distress?

Centuries ago Musashi Miyamoto had an advice for warriors:
Rat’s Head, Ox’s Neck.
If you are too preoccupied with details, then work on the big picture. If you are too preoccupied with the big picture, then work on the details.

So I switched to my mind maps with the global structure for each hour of the workshop. I moved branches around and clarified thoughts for myself. Another brake was about to stop my flow of thoughts. I could lose valuable information, if I deleted too many branches.

Digital mind maps are easy to save. So I copied the mind maps on my smartphone and set the previous versions on a safe place. What had been bugging my mind? Time to delete some stuff.

One exercise felt out of place in the Second Hour Mind Map. I moved the whole branch to the mind map of the first hour. The number of exercises per hour was almost equal. I love balance.

Then I noticed the theme of the first hour: time out. Wait a minute. That was not a time out exercise. I visualised the exercise: this was about states. I moved the whole branch back. I prefer theme over balance.

The fun with markers is that I can number the branches. So I changed their order a few times. In the meantime no slides were adjusted or removed. I was editing my workshop on a high level at high speed. Look mum. Without presentation program.

In between I switched to the mind map Extra stuff. After opening I hoped to find some Fieldstones I could use in my workshop. But I was disappointed: it was a list of workshop materials I had to take with me.

That was not in the name, so the file was renamed by me. This was an advice from a Cleancode session at my office. And I could add extra stuff like a whiteboard. Sorry, I mean equipment.

Apologies now. I love the smell of smiles in the morning.

Time to switch between the Hour Mind Maps. I did some dry runs in my head. Then I was not ready, because in another mind map I had still some funny pictures to include in the slides.

Luckily I had grouped them around a subtheme. Some pictures I really wanted to use. I reopened the Hour Mind Maps and added branches with funny pictures. There were stories or Fieldstones attached to them.

Another dance of branches in the Hour Mind Maps started. This was creativity at work. Feel the Flow Luke.

I also found my Story Fieldstones Mind Map at last. Some I placed in the Hour Mind Maps. Others went to my sideboard. I also had some floating Fieldstones which I could use at any moment in my workshop.

I heard my name mentioned in the hallway. My wait was over. Within 1 hour I had reshaped my workshop. The next time I could work on my slides again.

I had seriously enjoyed myself. :)

Thanks for reading.
Yours Mindfully.