Using Influence Diagrams to Understand Testing

Isabel Evans and Stuart Reid
18 May 2015
9:00 - 17:00
Thon Hotel: Boston

Using Influence Diagrams to Understand Testing

Using Influence Diagrams to Understand Testing Influence diagrams provides a simple-to-create and easy-to-understand approach to address the complexities of real-life problems. For instance, as testers we may want to find more bugs, but what is the knock-on effect of this on developers and on the business?

Developers now have more defects to debug and it’s likely that the business has lost confidence in meeting their delivery date (and that’s just at the top level!). Influence diagrams provide a means of understanding and managing the complexities of those key interactions between testers, developers and the business.

Over the last few years, Stuart and Isabel have been using influence diagrams during the introduction of testing and agile approaches as a practical tool to:

  • Analyse cause of problems
  • Help identify potential solutions & improvements
  • Predict and track the outcome of changes in organisations

In this practical workshop, Stuart and Isabel will, using hands-on activities, help you construct and interpret influence diagrams. You will build diagrams to illustrate typical problems and solutions both in testing organizations and projects, and in the interactions between the business, testers and developers.

Using simply pen and paper (along with plenty of discussion) you will analyse several typical testing problems and identify potential solutions. Starting with simpler problems and diagrams, you’ll work up to analysing complex (‘wicked’) real-life situations (the original purpose of influence diagrams). By the end of the workshop you will be able to build and understand how to use influence diagrams in your day-to-day work. We will also provide you with some take-aways and example influence diagrams that illustrate a number of different IT delivery and testing situations.