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.


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.


  • 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


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.


  • 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.”


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?”


  • 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.

Sharing knowledge about testing and other things on my mind