I just signed up as a tester at uTest. What is uTest? Really there are two parts to uTest, people who want their products tested and the testers:
“uTestTM provides software companies with significant benefits including higher quality software releases, reduction in product release cycle time and overall product time to market while improving overall customer satisfaction. We also provides software companies with significant cost savings including reduction in QA costs by minimizing help desk costs, handling peak QA periods effectively and improving overall quality of released application.
uTestTM customers gain access to a large, diverse and global community of software testing individuals over our secure testing platform. The uTestTM Testing Platform provides a hosted infrastructure to manage complete software QA cycles and projects.
Software application testers who are part of the uTestTM professional testers community are able to test applications in a completely flexible work environment, earn significant additional income and improve technical expertise.”
From the tester’s perspective, the way it works is that you will get paid for defects that are not duplicate and are verified by the company. It’s not apparent what the rates are yet. You can get paid monthly, via a Mastercard debit card from Payoneer, when your balance is greater than $100. I didn’t sign up for the money, I signed up because I’m interested to see what testing is like in a large testing like atmosphere. I’ve only been involved in one other large testing effort for Intel. It was beta testing of hardware and when the testing was complete I got to keep the hardware. The experience was horrible. Mostly because communication sucked and ultimately the product sucked. uTest appears to have a platform built to better manage this type of environment, so I’m excited to see how and if it works well.
I wonder though, since money is involved, will it be more competitive? Will people race to break things and get defects in to make sure theirs isn’t a duplicate? I envisioned a few of the typical project, Developer and QA problems and wrote asking how uTest would handle them. Here were my questions:
Bug being duplicate: What if there is a core bug, but another resulting “bug” is caused by the core bug. An example would be an incorrect global variable that displayed itself on 5 different pages. What if reported one defect for each of the 5 pages (resulting in 5 defects), but somebody else reported the core/global variable issue? How and who will manage duplication in a fair way? How will you prevent companies from marking a bug as duplicate as an excuse to avoid paying?
A bug is really a bug: A common scenario that developers & project managers do is mark a bug as a “feature request” when A) the project is overwhelmed and they are trying to lower the defect numbers or B) if the functionality is not documented specifically/a little loosely in the requirements. How will you protect both sides from abuse?
Verification occurred: At the end of your registration process you state: “If you have encountered a bug in our registration process please let us know by emailing us at bugs@uTest.com, we will credit your uTest account with cash for every non duplicate bug that you submit and we verify”. I’m assuming this is how it will work when testing for other companies too. How will you protect testers from finding/entering defects and not getting paid because the company we are testing for has run out of budget and decided to use the excuse: “not verified, so we’re not paying”?
Usability: Will there be any money for usability suggestions that are turned into future features?
Here is uTest’s response:
“One very important point I would like to emphasis: Only the company (the software vendor) is entitled to approve or reject a bug. We do NOT interfere in this process since only the software owner can really identify a real bug or a problem. BUT, we do offer tester’s a few mechanisms to object a company decision:
1. A Dispute process – for complaining about invalid rejection reasons. In that case we will investigate this issue and credit the tester if needed. We would do our best to make sure the testers would get paid for their hard job.
2. Budget – We do make sure that companies would have enough budget before initiate a new testing assignments, so there is no way testers would work for companies without approved budget.
3. Tracking invalid behaviors – We track every communication between the company and a tester, so once we’ll notice that a certain company act unfairly with the community we would get involve and make sure the testers is getting what they deserve. The testers community has the power to make a change, once a few tester would report a wrong behavior of a company, we would get involved.
Duplication – As part of our testing platform functionality, we’ve developed a duplication engine in order to identify a duplicate bug once a new bug is being submitted into the system. We then would notify the tester that is there is a possibility that his new bug is already exist and ask him to make sure he is submitting a different one. We would also publish a list of known bugs so the testers won’t waist their valuable time finding existing bugs.
Usability – we do plan to offer various methods of credit testers who provide usability feedbacks, this would be in the later stages of the platform.”
It sounds like uTest is on the right track. Go check ’em out: http://www.utest.com/