As we get closer to reaching the critical milestone of 40,000 testers in the uTest community (any day now!), we knew we’d have to find ways to scale our community programs in order to manage, vet and engage our enormous pool of expert testers and QA professionals.
Well, we didn’t have to look very far! The answers were right in front of us — where else but within the uTester community itself. As Matt said, “We found inspiration in seeing the enthusiasm and personal pride that resulted from members advising, supporting and training other members in our tester forums.”
From there, we launched three new initiatives – Sandbox, Crash Courses, and Test Team Lead – which catapulted uTest into the next phase of crowdsourcing, one that is self-sufficient, self-teaching, and self-policing.
One that is “For uTesters, By uTesters.”
For example, the Test Team Lead program gives uTest members the opportunity to earn paid leadership roles, mentoring and helping other testers succeed in their work. Crash Courses provide community-generated training materials to raise the skill level of community members and their eligibility to accept more work. More than 50 Crash Courses have been written to advance tester skills and further their careers.
Details on each program after the bump!
About uTest Sandbox
With nearly 1,000 new testers joining uTest every month, the company developed the uTest Sandbox program, a simulated testing project that enables uTest to evaluate the skills and quality of new community members. Here’s how it works:
- When a tester’s profile information matches current or expected project demand, that tester is automatically invited to a weekly Sandbox project.
- Each Sandbox test cycle mimics a real testing project with a target website to test, instructions to follow, and bugs and test cases to submit.
- Each Sandbox project is evaluated by top-performing veteran uTesters, called Sandbox Team Leads (see more about this program below). These proven performers vet new uTesters based on ability to follow instructions, uncover valuable bugs, write clear bug reports, and include relevant documentation such as screenshots and video captures.
- Sandbox graduates with the highest grades, as determined by the Test Team Lead, will begin building their uTest rating, and will be placed at the front of the queue to receive upcoming paid testing opportunities.
About uTest Crash Courses
With nearly 40,000 testers in its community, uTest discovered the global appetite for testing-related training to be monumental. Members have expressed interest in learning about a wide variety of software testing specialties, from basic functional testing of iPhone or Android apps to more advanced training such as performing security audits or performance engineering.
To meet this need, uTest launched the Crash Course program, which follows a FUBU formula (“For uTesters, By uTesters”) to create real-world training materials. Here’s how it works:
- Any uTester can request a Crash Course on any topic– from broad subjects like testing web apps to highly-focused subjects such as performing usability testing on iPad apps.
- Then the topics get voted on by uTest community members. If there’s enough interest in a particular topic, uTest will identify testers with the most experience and success in that specific area, based on their performance in related projects.
- uTest will then approach the member and inquire into his interest in producing the Crash Course, providing him esteem within the community as a subject matter expert.
- During this program’s brief beta period, more than 50 Crash Courses were written and remain freely available to all uTesters to advance their skills and further their careers.
About Test Team Lead
Test Team Lead is a program that gives uTest members the opportunity to assume paid leadership roles within the community, mentoring and helping other testers succeed in their work. To succeed, a member must demonstrate skill in effectively managing other people, work well with uTest project managers, and provide high-quality customer interaction.
There are two ways members can participate: Test Team Project Leads or Sandbox Team Leads. Members are selected based on their past performance on uTest projects, uTest’s experience working with them, and their organizational and leadership skills.
Test Team Sandbox Leads moderate the Sandbox training and serve as role models for the uTest community. During Sandbox training sessions, they are responsible for:
- Role playing from the perspective of uTest project manager and/or customer to evaluate tester interaction and performance
- Grading and recommending testers based on an agreed upon grading rubric
Test Team Project Leads are graduates of the Sandbox Team Lead program. In this more advanced role, the member supports uTest’s project managers on customer-facing projects by:
- Communicating with testers when more reporting is required
- Answering testers’ questions about projects and applications
- Reproducing submitted bugs for quality control
- Adding new and valuable information about discovered bugs as needed
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.