Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Specially Motivated Test Resource

Below is an article from Thorkil Sonne telling the amazing story of Specialisterne, his company and how he hopes to reverse the terms of normality. It's a great story & I hope you enjoy it! The article was published in the first edition of the New EuroSTAR newsletter.

Clcik here to view the entire EuroSTAR newsltter and to subscribe to future monthly editions.

A fragile world

6 years ago my youngest son was diagnosed with autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I was given a chance to get a glimpse of the fragile world of autism.

My son frequently impresses me with his skills derived from strong memory, attention to detail, motivation for tasks, correctness in communication and learning ability.

But he also worries me, as he does not comply with the social requirements in society. As an IT-professional with 15 years background, I can see that his skills are potentially valuable to the corporate sector. After 3 years as president of a local branch of Autism Denmark, I can see that my son will only have a very small chance to use his special skills in a job situation.

Someone has to make a difference - so I quit my job as CTO to establish a company for persons with valuable skills and who are non-compliant with the social requirements of most companies.


To get a job in most ‘normal’ companies, you have to comply with social requirements like: flexibility, social skills, team player, humour with flair for irony and a high stress threshold. If you do not match the social requirements – then you are left out.

At Specialisterne we reverse the terms of ‘normality’.

We define ‘normality’ as ‘whatever the majority decides it to be’. In our company the employees are the majority and thereby set the standards of ‘normality’.

We expect our candidates to stick to planning, schedules and agreements, require special working conditions, are strong individuals, have attention to detail and concentrate on doing what they are good at.

By being accepted as ‘normal’ at Specialisterne our employees build up their self esteem and put their full efforts into providing unparalleled quality in testing for corporate customers.

The customers

The customers of Specialisterne are small, large and global companies with high test standards. We perform any kind of test, where domain knowledge is not a requirement.

For different customers we perform tasks like:

* test management
* establish or improve test documentation
* static, dynamic, beta and system tests

Our customers will have ISEB test certified project managers as single point of contact to make sure, that it is easy for the customer to get access to the special skills of our employees with no risk to the customer.

Our customers are positively surprised by the skills of our employees and present us with high scores on the satisfaction evaluation report and we frequently see comments like: “The Specialisterne employees have impressed us with their ability to maintain attention to detail throughout the entire test, giving us a thorough result.”


The Specialisterne concept is a success in Denmark where so far 27 employees with the mild form of autism, Aspergers Syndrome, have found a niche to perform tests for corporate customers.

The needs for motivated testers are the same internationally – and so are the needs for alternatives for persons who do not fit into standards of ‘normality’.

I intend to reuse the experiences gained at Specialisterne to spread the concept internationally and build bridges between the corporate sector and the potential of specialist resources worldwide.

The roll out will take place where Specialisterne can join efforts with large and global companies to benefit from adding a new brick to the puzzle of setting up Test Dream Teams.

EuroSTAR 2006

At EuroSTAR 2005 I had the privilege to present the paper ‘Adding Autism Competencies to Testing’. I told about our vision, skills and experiences so far. The presentation was awarded ‘Best Presentation’.

I am very happy for the invitation to do a key-note presentation at EuroSTAR 2006.

I will present to you the Specialisterne concept, experiences, and references – and discuss the perspectives of how you can benefit from the experiences gained at Specialisterne.

Best regards

Thorkil Sonne
Founder and CEO

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