Category Archives: Mind mapping

Fetching, fast and slow

Let’s start with a simple observation of the following sentence:

Do I communicate (without a mouse)?

 

If you were fast, then there is a high probability you were thinking: “The word mouse is used by the author instead of the word mouth. So the spelling is wrong.”

If you thought hard, then there is a high probability you were thinking: “The mouse is probably a computer accessory. So the question could be rephrased as follows: do I communicate (without a computer)?”

I once heard a great story from an experienced test manager René. He told me, that his project members were communicating with emails. It did not even change, when they sat in the same room. He just set a daily limit of 3 emails, which they could send. This lead to more face to face communication, which improved the project spirit and group cohesion significantly.

Breakdown
In the introduction I used a mind trick on you. This is a trick, which can be used to confuse people.  For the fast observations System 1 is used in most cases. This way of thinking provides fast, almost effortless way to digest information. Like walking to the office.

For the thoughtful observations System 2 is used. Doing complex operations like testing in the office. Both systems have been discussed in depth by Daniel Kahneman in the book Thinking, fast and slow. The title of this blog is based on the title of this book. And fetching is short for fetching coffee.

In March 2015 James Bach introduced the term testopsy. He analysed, what the tester did during a test. I thought about a post autopsy or blog post autopsy.  It is tempting to concatenate the strings post and opsy. But as a Dutch native speaker I do not take any chances. 

Just let me perform an autopsy for a blog post: how did I construct the blog post Do I communicate (without a mouse )?

Because I wrote the blog post, I have the original mind map, which was used as a basis. In the following picture I highlight, which System is used and the corresponding trends. System 2 is used in certain parts of the blog post and System 1 in other parts.

mindful-tester-mindmap-System1-Sytem2

A manager would say:
“This is nice. And that’s all. The relationship between the parts of the blog post and Systems is meager at most. ”

Time for a graph make over.

Graph SOS
There is a British car program, in which they deconstruct and construct a beloved car wreck. For people, who earn it.  And as a reader you definitely earn a better graph.

In case you did not read this blog post Do I communicate (without a mouse)?, please do. It makes the following graph understandable.

 

mindful-tester-timeline-system1-system2

In the graph above I show my usage of Systems 1 and 2 on the vertical axis. The horizontal axis shows the different parts of the post in reading order. So it is possible to observe, that System 2 is used less and less until the end of story.

A manager might be more interested in this graph than the previous one:
“So what you are basically stating, is, that people use System 2 for learning. And participating.”
Or even better:
“I wonder, whether System 1 is used during the meetings in my company .”

Breakdown 2
Over the years I saw a recurring pattern. Every time I boarded a project or got a new room, I had to change my coffee fetching list. And somehow I reduced the spent time. I eliminated waste: it looked to me, that I was lean. This story I carried with me for more than a year. Telling and retelling it to myself over and over again.

Then it was time to put it in a blog post. I started with the mind map with the condensed and descriptive title Coffee. The first branch contained the story. Then I added two funny anecdotes to add some flavour to the blog post.

In the meantime I had lost my favourite mug out of view: a bear, who juggles, while praising the owner of the mug. (That’s me.) After I had found the mug, I made a photo with my smartphone. The mug was on the foreground and my markers right behind them. Then I noticed my mouse: it was behind the markers and not on the photo. So I changed the view for the next picture: the mouse is on the background. Unreachable for normal use.

A few days later I noticed, that I was missing a photo with a funny text for the blog post. I needed something, that could be connected with coffee or tea. Then I remembered the picture of my mug, which was a major obstruction for using my mouse. A thought about communication entered my mind: Do I always need a mouse for communication? It was relatively simple to write an introduction from this point.

Most stories have a lesson at the end. I think, that it is highly predictable (and a bit boring). I wanted to give the reader a choice out of 3 lessons. But that was not entertaining enough. So I placed myself in the spotlights (again). If I could let my voices speak, then I would have a more recognisable situations instead of some abstract and concise questions without any explanation. I took the following voices:

  • The lean machine in me, cutting wastes on his way to the future
  • A woman constantly looking for her needs, while brainstorming and chatting
  • A service desk agent concerned about an implementation of a new functionality
  • A curious software tester looking for clues.

I somehow used a Dutch style form: the circle is round. I started with the title Do I communicate (without a mouse)? And ended with the same question.

From Mindmaps To Powerpoints – The Way To Runo part 2

For a company training, which I followed, the trainer used a flip over, a whiteboard with markers, and a set of binders with hand outs. No PowerPoint, so no time was spent on editing and reediting the presentation. It looked lean to me.

Your proposal rocks
Last November I was regularly looking in my mail box. There was a small chance, that I would be invited to speak at the Let’s Test conference 2015. But nevertheless it was worth the try. According to the tweets of the conference the speakers would be invited soon. And then …. I got the invitation. I did not shout as I had planned. But I was ecstatic.

In 2014 there was Tasting Let’s Test in Utrecht. I noticed, that Huib gave the same presentation of Let’s Test 2014. So I prepared my wife, that there was a small chance, that I would give my presentation at Tasting Let’s Test Benelux in March and May. Instead other speakers were invited, which gave me more room to prepare my workshop.

Get. Set. Mind map.
After this surprising news I was busy notifying people. Then I realized, that my proposal was written from the jugglers’ point of view. The name of my 2 hour workshop is What I learned from juggling as a tester? So what’s in it for the testers, who would attend? That gave me a brief moment of panic. Luckily I had my mind map for the proposal. This became my starting point for my workshop.

The first mind map contained the five branches with takeaways:

  • Small tricks lead to nice combinations
  • Create a flow
  • Learning by teaching
  • €Find your own style
  • €Have an open mind

In the takeaway mind map I made sub branches Juggle and Test under the 5 branches. Under these branches I brainstormed.

The second one was my outline mind map for the presentation. It described, when which takeaway would be presented .

One evening my wife asked me, whether I was preparing my workshop. I confirmed that. I mind mapped on my smartphone.

Episode Mind Maps
Looking to my outline mind map I split my presentation in episode mind maps. The first episode mind map I called first year. This was my abbreviation for the first year I was juggling. For each slide I created a branch. I added branches for the content of the slide, things I would tell and sometimes a title of the slide. This all lead to a Slides mind map, which contained the title and the text of all the slides in the right order.

Test Slide Story
In the movie industry first the scenario is written, then the story board. This board contains images of the movie, so all involved film crew members have a better idea, how the scenes will look. I used this idea to create my slide board, a serie of rough sketches of the slides. Every slide was created using the slide board, my pictures mind map, and my titles mind map.

I used a pen and lined paper for the first version. Then came the fun part: I used a coloured fine pointed marker to make changes. I noticed, that I still missed some titles and pictures. This process I repeated another time. Images were popping up in my head. So I had to take action to make pictures for the presentation.

One of the challenges I faced was to get nice pictures. For my presentation at TestNet Voorjaarsevenement 2014 I used my own pictures instead of stock photos. There were 2 pictures of some else I really loved to use. So I formally asked for permission and I got it in both cases.

From Mind Maps To PowerPoints
The making of the PowerPoint was uneventful: just copy and paste. Even after all the editing steps pieces were missing. I added mind maps like additions, research, and demo. On one point I did not like the order. So I made Order Mind Map, which I reedited several times. When I was happy with the order, I changed the slides in the Powerpoint.

A few weeks before Tasting Let’s Test Benelux I played with the idea: what would I do, if I got a request to speak? I focused on the big errors in my presentation.

 A few days before Tasting Let’s Test I realised, that I had to make differences in the presentation. If the presentation would be the same like the one in the conference, then people might be disappointed. So I modified a few slides and also decided to change some juggling props. One slide had only title. It was good enough.

The day before Tasting Let’s Test I loaded the latest version of my presentation on my laptop. I had my MVP, Minimal Viable Presentation.

PS
The story continues here.

Do you want to talk about it?

Sometimes I need to talk, sometimes I need to write.

A few good speakers?
There are test conferences, which are always looking for new bright speakers. One way to find them is the Call For Proposals or CFP. In the past I had serious doubts, whether my proposal would be accepted. Today I pose my self two simple questions:

  • Was this subject presented on this test conference?
  • If this is the case, can I present it in another way?

Sometimes I have to repeat these questions several times to pinpoint my subject.

A few years ago TestNet, The Dutch SIGIST (Special Interest Group in Software Testing), asked for subjects for their peer meetings. I suggested mind mapping. A few months later I noticed, that the subject was put on the calendar, so I volunteered to speak about it. The reply was, that TestNet needed proposals. I made two: one about the basics of mind mapping and another one about the use of mind mapping during testing. The latter was accepted.

A word of comfort for starters
I once read an article about the 100 Man Kumite. One man had to fight 100 man in an extreme short time. One Dutchman wrote, that he feared two types of fighters: the beginners and the experts. The beginners did unexpected things.

During one of her theater workshops Franki Anderson asked:
“Is every voice heard?”

Give me 5 minutes more
There might be a misconception, that an idea must be presented in 5 minutes. In the office 5 minutes of full attention of your manager, team lead or product owner can be a known restriction. You either learn or learned, how to squeeze your message or request to the bare minimum.

If I talk to my peer testers on a conference, I have enough room to sketch the situation. I have enough time to tell them about the problems I had to tackle. This can take about 20 minutes. Then I switch to the actions I took, taking 10 minutes. I end with 5 minutes looking at the results and lessons learned. In the Netherlands STAR is used: Situation Tasks Actions Results.

So, what would really trigger the organisers to accept your proposal and invite you as speaker to their test conferences? Exercises. Delegates or visitors of the conference go back home (to the office) with new ideas and real hands on experience. If you have any doubts about it, just look at TestLab. This popular activity is scheduled on different test conferences for years.

Let’s go back to my suggestion for mind mapping for the TestNet peer meeting. If I just talk about mind mapping, I can fill one hour. Participants get the idea, tell about it and forget it eventually. Exercises spice up the whole participant experience. I used to give 3 hour workshops about mind mapping for colleagues, who work in the IT. They made two mind maps during the workshop. The only thing I had to do, was to narrow the workshop down to testers. Instead of an one hour talk I now had an highly interactive workshop of 3 hours.

If you might have noticed: test conference organisers are looking for special sessions. I would suggest the following format for the workshop:

  • Describe the Situation and Tasks.
  • Let the participants perform the Actions.
  • Discuss the Actions and Results.
  • And repeat the STAR.
  • At the end share your own Actions and Results.

Getting to Stockholm
On my quest for knowledge I stumbled upon Peers with Beers on Friday October 24th 2014. Some participants are well known in the international testing community. For a ridiculous low price I could spend all office hours with them. I also joined the dinner, so I extended the time with another 5 hours.

During this peer meeting the participants were expected to present their ideas about testing in the future. The presentations were chosen based on the title. My presentation was not chosen. I realized, that I had a bad title. Too generic. Joris agreed with me:
“A good title is important.”

After each presentation the contents was discussed using K cards. I primarily observed the other peers: the way they discussed and the jokes they made. It was difficult for me to get in the right gear to exchange ideas. Huib remarked, that I was a bit silent.

During the dinner that evening the call for proposals of Let’s Test 2015 was discussed. Two days later was the deadline. Derk-Jan told a story about a rented car.  “We should make proposal for it.” We had a lot of fun about it. In the call for proposals there were no restrictions for the sessions. So this was totally acceptable. At the end of the evening Joep gave me a final advice:
“‘Do not forget the takeaways. ”

Weeks earlier I noticed on one of the pictures of Let’s Test 2014, that people were juggling with balls. I thought:
“I can teach them this easily”.
I gave many juggling workshops.

On the day of the deadline for Let’s Test 2015 I went to my PC and opened my mind map with the attached notes: What I learned from juggling as a tester?. I think, that creativity is necessary to become a good tester. As a juggler I have to amaze my public with my creativity. In my proposal I added a remark, that I would be able to extend the lecture with an one hour juggling workshop.

On November 6th I got the exhilarating news, that my proposal for a 2 hour workshop about juggling and testing was accepted. A total of seven proposals from Peers with Beers were accepted for Let’s Test 2015. So apparently, I was in good company.

[Updated:  Ard had a special Crime Investigation Game. This was held secret until the first day of the conference. So I increased the number of accepted proposals.]

Let ‘s make a mind map

On September 11 2012 I held a workshop about Mind mapping and Testing at 8:15 PM. TestNet, the Dutch Special Interest Group in Software Testing, was the organiser of the evening. The people in the room had worked a complete day, had dinner, and enjoyed an engaging introductory workshop about Mind Mapping by Ruud Rensink. It was time to start my workshop.

The Name Trick

After a minute in my workshop I showed my introduction sheet. “This year we had a summer with great sport events. I could ask you to mention a name of a player of the European soccer championship. Or a name of a player of the Olympic Games. Or a name of a player of the Paralympics. ” People started shifting in their chairs. Probably looking for names and ready to put their hand in the air.

“A few years ago the World Championship Table Tennis took place in Rotterdam. Do you know a name of a player?” People let their shoulders hang. Then a member of the audience said: “Erik van Veenendaal.” I continued with “Who does know Erik van Veenendaal? ” 70% of people raised their hands. The remaining people looking puzzled, probably thinking: “Erik Who?”

“Erik van Veenendaal and I were in the Belgium and Netherlands Testing Qualifications Board.” My red laser point was on the board name, which was shown on the screen. “Erik van Veenendaal said: “We have to write a letter. Let’s make a mind map.” Meile Posthuma and Rik Marselis were requested to make one.” In the back of the room Rik sat straight up after hearing his name. “I saw the mind map and it was interesting. That’s why I bought this book.”, while showing a book of Tony Buzan.

Breakdown

On LinkedIn I was linked with Erik van Veenendaal. A few years earlier I got the surprising update, that he was participating in the Table Tennis World Championship. This was so strange, that I still remembered it.

In the Dutch Test community Erik van Veenendaal played an important role. He is an author of several books about testing, which are used by Dutch testers.

Tips

  • Get on social media.
  • Follow people, who are influential in testing.

 

An Introduction Mind Map

In 2013 I was asked to be the  track chair of a tutorial of Alan Richardson at TestNet Najaarsevenement. I agreed. This was, how I introduced him.

Remembering after one and half year using a mind map
“Welkom, mijn naam is Han Toan Lim. Dit is de workshop The evil tester’s guide to http proxies. Because the speaker does not understand Dutch, I will continue in English as a courtesy.

One of the trends these days is to stand out in the crowd. Alan Richardson has three websites. On one of the website there is a blog post about zombies. You might be wondering: “What am I doing here?” Please be seated. You are in the right test conference. The websites are sources of knowledge about testing. There are courses about Selenium.

A log in one of the blog posts drew my attention: “Admin woohoo”. In plain English it means, that he could modify anything at the end of the test session. If this would happen in our systems it would be unacceptable for our stakeholders and our customers.

My wife asked me, why I became track chair. On LinkedIn and his blogs I discovered his genuine love for testing and coaching. It is no big surprise, that he won the award for the best tutorial on EuroStar in the capital Amsterdam. Now I leave you in the good hands of Alan Richardson.”

Used mind map
Click on image to get a readable version

Mindful tester - Announcement 15

Breakdown
The first thing I did, was making a mind map about Alan Richardson using a search engine. Then I began making a mind map of the introduction.

Tips

  • Use a mind map tool. Preferably one on your smartphone, which is compatible with a desktop version. Eg Mind Manager and Freemind.
  • Use version control for the mind maps.
  • Let the speaker determine the content of the introduction.

 

Management by mind mapping

A mind trick is a trick, which can be used to confuse people. The following mind trick I used, happened in the real world. I changed the names of the people on purpose.

The count mind trick
During one of my mind map workshops I asked the participants:
“At the count of three you mention the name of your team lead.
One two three.”
A lot of names were mentioned. It was hard to hear one clearly.

“At the count of three you mention the name of the boss of your team lead.
One two three.”
Fewer names were mentioned. Some names could be distinguished.

“At the count of three you mention the name of the your business unit manager.
One two three.”
Almost every name could be distinguished.

“At the count of three you mention the name of the your division manager.
One two three”
Only three name were mentioned: Peter Red, Tony Purple, and Helen Yellow. “

At the count of three you mention the name of the your CEO.
One two three”
“Jack Orange.”
People were a bit surprised, that the same name was mentioned.

I continued with:
“Last evening there was a meeting in the canteen with Jack Orange, Peter Red, Tony Purple, and Helen Yellow. Jack Orange used a mind map to explain his view on the future of our company. If you go to the canteen, you can still see the mind map.”

Breakdown
On the morning of the workshop I met participant of previous workshop Introduction mind mapping.
“Hi Han Toan, will you give a mind map workshop this morning?”
“Yes, this morning.”
“Derek of facility management told me, that there is a mind map in the canteen. Jack Orange, Peter Red, Tony Purple, and Helen Yellow and other hot shots were making a mind map in the canteen last evening.”
“What? Can I see it?”
“Why not?”

Tips

  • become known as the expert on a subject like mister mind map within and outside the company.
  • stimulate sharing of information about your subject.
  • know the hierarchy of the company.