May 11, 2011 08:02 ET

uTest Launches Community-Driven Programs That Represent the Next Leap Forward for Crowdsourcing Models and Community Management

By Enabling Community-Driven Teaching, Mentoring and Vetting, uTest Has Created the World's Most Self-Sufficient, Self-Teaching, Self-Policing Crowdsourcing Model

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - May 11, 2011) - When its online community balloons to tens of thousands of members, every crowdsourcing company inevitably faces the same dilemma of figuring out how to manage, vet and engage such an enormous pool of talent. This is exactly the challenge uTest, the world's largest software testing marketplace, set out to solve with three newly launched initiatives: Sandbox, Crash Courses and Test Team Lead.

Together, these three initiatives have enabled uTest to qualify new uTesters; provide community-generated training materials to raise the skill level of community members and their eligibility to accept more work; and give select members the opportunity to provide management and mentoring to other testers on real projects.

"With 40,000 testers from 175 countries in our community, the logical question was, how do we design our community management tools and programs to scale to manage such a massive, global workforce?" said uTest CMO Matt Johnston. "We could keep adding in-house community managers in finitum, but that's not the most cost-effective way to scale our business -- and it's also not the best way to nurture a community."

Johnston continued, "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 then on, uTest adopted a new vision of community management, one focusing on the development of tools and systems that enable learning, professional mentoring and peer-to-peer sharing to happen naturally."

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

About uTest, Inc.
Founded in 2007, uTest is the world's largest marketplace for software testing services. The company provides real-world testing services through its community of nearly 40,000 professional testers from 175 countries around the world. Thousands of companies -- from startups to leading software, retail and media enterprises -- have signed up with uTest to get their web, desktop and mobile applications tested. More information can be found at or the software testing blog at

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