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Employee spotlight – Kristen Hansen

22 December 2022 Time to read:  minutes

Meet the people who have made Acutest what it is today in our commemorative interview series as we celebrate two decades of assurance and testing.

Since its launch in 2002, Acutest has grown as a market-leading testing consultancy business specialising in testing software, business processes and IT. 2022 marks twenty years of Acutest and we are celebrating by shining a light on the talented consultants who make Acutest what it is. Acutest is a close-knit community of consultants built on mutual respect, creating a shared learning environment for everyone. It is these people and their dedication that makes Acutest what it is today.

To mark this milestone, we caught up with Kristen Hansen, Principal Consultant at Acutest to shine a light on his career, love of travel and appreciation of foreign languages.

Over to Kristen!

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So Kristen, how long have you been at Acutest?

I started at Acutest in February 2006 when I answered a call to help Acutest on a project at a major telco. It was during that time that the organisation was the first to use our Test Improvement Programme (TIP). Now, 16 years later, I am still working for Acutest on interesting and challenging projects and the TIP is still a useful tool in the Acutest Accelerator.

What do you most enjoy about being a part of Acutest?

The best thing about being at Acutest is that you make a difference. Most of our clients are struggling with delivering on time, to budget, or even delivering at all. Acutest helps them to cut through all of the confusion and gets them to where they want to be despite all the odds. The sense of achievement that comes with enabling your client make progress, when progress seems impossible, is immensely rewarding.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

If I had to pick one, it would be assisting a main broadcaster to make their move to a new HQ. Not only did the new facilities need to be tested but they were moving to digital content production, content management and output technologies as well as redesigning working practices for its staff. Listening, at midnight, to the first programme to be output from the new facility and hearing the radio show host announce to his audience that he was broadcasting from their new home must rank as the high point.

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“The sense of achievement that comes with enabling your client to make progress, when progress seems impossible, is immensely rewarding.”

Kristen Hansen, Principal Consultant at Acutest

And what was the most challenging?

Most of Acutest’s work is helping organisations that are in difficulties so, by definition, difficult is normal. In my time at Acutest, I have only had one project that required more from me than most assignments. Acutest were brought in to a project where delivery had been severely delayed and the cost of delivery was spiralling out of control. The emergency package of testing managed to make more progress towards delivering a minimum viable product in four months than had been achieved in several years. Then political events stalled progress—the hardest part of the project was downing tools and doing nothing when a worthwhile deliverable was within reach.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Making a tangible difference. The upside about being asked to help in situations where organisations are in difficulties is that there is always scope for the Acutest team to make a difference. The fact that most of our work comes from existing clients or people who previously worked for one of our clients tells us that we really do make a difference for people at a time when they are struggling. Add to that that many people will use the services of one of our clients every day and you realise that making a difference for one client may well help many people. In my most recent project for an NHS Trust, our team was helping schools stay open and teach children by identifying a Covid outbreak early and before it spread.

Tell us a little bit about your home life/interests

Travel and everything around it has to be my consuming interest. I love to see new places, learn new things, meet different people—I love learning languages for the insight that it gives into people’s lives even though I am not very good at it. So far, I list terrible Kiswahili, rubbish Arabic and pretty dire Bahasa Indonesia in my list of useful languages!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Kristen!

Championing our employees at Acutest

At Acutest, we continue to value our employees and encourage collaboration and professional development, with regular social events. Recently we published our employee satisfaction results for 2021 where an overwhelming 94% of Acutest employees felt they belonged within the Acutest family, 26% above the UK national average. We are deeply proud of these results and we look forward to what the next chapter holds for Acutest.

Like what you’re reading?

We are looking for bright, enthusiastic consultants to join us on a wide variety of projects across our high-profile client base. You will have the opportunity to work hands-on within functional test projects, creating and executing test cases, but also to gain experience with cutting-edge tools and technologies. You will work across multiple industry sectors and disciplines, so will need a consultative nature and be able to collaborate with individuals of varying levels of technical knowledge. Many of the projects you will be involved in will enable leading blue-chip businesses to demonstrate the productivity of their systems and websites. A majority of these are in the public eye, so will give you the professional satisfaction of being able to see the results of your work in action. 

Written by Julia Bluckert.

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