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Win-Win scenario with startups

I've been going to Slush for many years, and the innovation of startup companies keeps refreshing both my thoughts and attitudes. Knowit has networked with several Slush-going startups for some years now, and found many interesting cooperation formats. One of the best win-win scenarios is the cooperation in conjunction of Knowit-delivered trainings.

When we take a software testing training course, where the participants practice some test design technique or test approach, there is always the big question of what makes an interesting exercise. Real hands-on exercises are always better than paper-tasting theory-filled exercises. Well, how do you create an exercise that is hands-on? One great way is to have a real software that you can test while you practice that new technique. Even better if that real software actually has some bugs that can be found via testing, so the tester can feel a sense of accomplishment of actually finding a defect.

The technique works! Great! I will use this technique in my further testing.

Where can one find software that has defects then? In theory any software of course, but in practice the software that has been long in production is likely to have less live bugs left. So the obvious choice is then a software that is still under development, e.g. in beta testing phase.  A software in beta testing phase will be already quite stable, and also, depending on the type of software of course, accessible easily via internet to any location of a training delivery. Whose software then, who would like to give their software into this sort of use? Who would need extra beta testing? I think the choice is obvious - startup companies have scarce resources by definition, and thus could use more testing resources.

This thinking led to our win-win formula about training deliveries with startup companies' software. The startup grants access to their software and gets extra testing done for it, and possibly some bugs found and reported to them. The training participants get real software to test in the hands-on exercise, which is really interesting. No money is exchanged, there is just mutual benefit of doing this together.

I highlight in the following two cases of this cooperation. The first is a time management service called Timespace and another is a recruitment system called TalentAdore.

With Timespace we've cooperated during the exploratory testing exercise on a course called Exploratory Testing. The exercise included participants applying exploratory testing approach into Timespace during three test sessions, first one for getting to know the software and two later ones for exploring two chosen focus areas from participant's test charter. The types of defects that were found had to do with ease-of-use, localisation and business logic. Timespace software let's you manage your work and free time activities and manage your time to achieve a better balance in your life. This was an easy-to-understand and interesting scope for course participants to look into during the exercise.

Timespace Lead Developer Sam Engström says:

The cooperation has been fruitful and interesting. I have been able to chat with the course participants via Timespace's built-in feedback tool and get important additional details about found defects and the user experience.

The software:

Timespace combines aspects of mindfulness with productivity to help you get things done while maintaining a healthy balance between work and play. Timespace lets you place your focus on one thing at a time and it can then automatically organize and share your content in a way that is meaningful to you. In teams this leads to significantly improved efficiency and well-being.

With TalentAdore we've cooperated on a course called ISTQB Agile Tester during an exercise on exploratory testing. This exercise works similarly as the previously described exercise with an additional focus of mapping the testing to other types of testing that would be done in an agile project. So as agile projects are often expected to use test automation, the functionalities or parts of functionalities chosen for exploratory testing would be ones that are less likely automated. The participants spend the few hours of the exercise learning in each step to use the exploratory testing approach more effectively. And they found interesting defects, to do with consistency of functionality, usability and some feature working in unexpected fashion. The TalentAdore recruitment software that creates intelligent feedback letters to recruited people is something easy-to-relate-to and also really cool from point of view of using Artificial Intelligence within the software.

TalentAdore Team Leader, R&D Pauliina Anttila says:

We've received great feedback. It's really helpful for us. Some interesting defects for us to analyze and fix. This sort of cooperation is good to keep up on an ongoing basis.

The software:

TalentAdore brings the human touch back to recruitment. Our Virtual Recruitment Assistant integrates Applicant Tracking System (ATS), advanced communication technologies and intelligent automation. It lets you handle the entire recruitment process from job postings to hiring decisions, and build your own talent pipeline. The true magic happens when 100% personal feedback is given to all job candidates. You can now use our Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to communicate personally and individually throughout the recruitment process. Candidates know all the time how the process goes forward. And, if they are not selected, they know why. Via superior candidate experience, your employer brand improves, you attract top talent, and your business grows. Give it a try and you will never want to go back to the old-fashioned way of recruiting.


To conclude, the win-win operation of Knowit and startups is both rewarding for both parties, and fun for all involved. Let's all test!

For more reading about exploratory testing as explained by Knowit, see here. For more reading about Knowit trainings, see here.

For more info about Timespace, see here.

For more info about TalentAdore, see here.