I have to confess that I have become a bit of a canvas "junkie" ever since I discovered the Business Model canvas a few years back. Canvases summarise the wisdom of experts on a single page in a way that is easy for non-experts to understand. In fact the original Business Model Canvas summarised Alexander Osterwalder's 172 page Phd Thesis on a single page!

But canvasses are so much more than a convenient way to summarise knowledge. Canvasses prompt a team to consider fundamental questions about an area they are investigating. At the same time the canvas provides a visual framework to organise what the they discover.

In the case of the Software Testing Canvas the fundamental questions are:

  • What will be tested?
  • Why perform this test?
  • How will the test cases be designed?
  • Who (or what) will perform the test?
  • How will the test be executed?

Canvases encourage team creativity and collaboration. I usually create my canvasses on the wall using sheets of flip chart paper. I get teams to write their ideas on sticky notes and add them to the canvas. As a workshop facilitator, I find that a canvas provides a ready made agenda and helps to keep the team focused on the task at hand.

For personal use I use an A4 template to jot down my thoughts and ideas.