Mind map under construction

The Invasion Of The Spreadsheet Snatchers

“Walk your talk” is a common advice. For me it became “Mind map your talk”. During my employment of an IT company I became a mind map teacher. I needed lots of examples, so I started using mind maps for many occasions.

The frequent visitors of my blog might suspect, that I use mind maps for too many things. Here is some proof against it:

  • In the office I use spreadsheet as a log book and table formatter (Make a  comprehensive table in a spreadsheet program, copy ,and paste it in a word processor).
  • In this blog I hided uses of spreadsheets here and here.

So I am not an Invading Spreadsheet Snatcher. You’re just lucky.

Can you cover me, Spreadsheet?
A fast way to show the coverage of functions or attributes is to put it in a mind map.

  1. Just open the document in a word processor.
  2. Copy the group items.
  3. Paste the items in a mind map.
  4. Use icons to register the progress.

It can be cumbersome in particular cases. How about more than 20 items? With related information like syntax, position, etcetera.

Once I had to test a change request. There were good technical specifications about a new file format in pdf format. And the same specifications in a spreadsheet. :)

These were the steps I took:

  1. Open the spreadsheet.
  2. Determine the column with the field names.
  3. Insert a column “Changed”.
  4. Add columns “To be tested” and “Comment” at the right end of the table.
  5. Put a filter on the heading of the table.
  6. Fill in, whether rows have been changed with “Old”, “New”, or “Changed”.
    “New” means completely new field.
    “Changed” means, that the field has changed position or the size, etc.
  7. Set “To be tested” to Yes, if Changes is “New” or “Changed”.
  8. Check, whether the rows Changed and To be tested are filled with the filter.
  9. Test, whether a subset of changes have been implemented within a time box.
    i.e. the rows with “To be tested” equal to Yes.
  10. Note down, what has been tested, and ids of bug reports in the column “Comment”.

Feedback loop 1

  1. Talk with a fellow tester and programmer, which other modifications must be tested
    i.e. the rows with “To be tested” equal to No.
  2. Change “To be tested” to other values after this talk and add additional information in the column “Comment”.
  3. Test, whether the determined changes have applied within a time box
    i.e. the rows with “To be tested” equal to Yes.

Feedback loop 2

  1. Talk to a business analyst, which other modifications must be tested
    i.e. the rows with “To be tested” equal to No.
  2. Change “To be tested” to other values after this talk and add additional information in the column “Comment”.
  3. Test, whether the determined changes have applied within a time box
    i.e. the rows with “To be tested” equal to Yes.

Can you help me with the question, Spreadsheet?
A supplier had changed a table, which was already used in production. A programmer came in with an urgent request to check the changed values. Just a few checks were good enough. I had only a hard copy of the changed specs. After a small request I got the pdf version.

These were the steps I took:

  1. Open the pdf file.
  2. Go to text mode.
  3. Copy the complete table.
  4. Paste the table in a spreadsheet.
  5. Select the cells with identifiers.
  6. Transpose these cells.
    (Change a vertical row cells to a horizontal row cells using a standard spreadsheet function.)
  7. Save the sheet to a csv file.
  8. Replace “; ” (semi colon)  by “,” (comma) in the csv file.
  9. Copy the content from this file in a sql tool.
  10. Make a query with the following format:
    Select * from the_table where id in (<copied string>)
  11. Execute the query.
  12. Talk with programmer about the result.

Bonus Spreadsheet material for free (Really)
In case there is no fancy pdf or digital file, then the following steps can be followed:

  1. Scan the hard copy.
  2. Use OCR software to convert the picture or graphical file into a text file.
  3. Correct errors in the text.
  4. Format the text.
  5. Copy the information in a spreadsheet.
  6. Make nice columns  with “Text to columns”
  7. Follow steps described above.

Just
mind your spreadsheet program.