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Beta Testing | David Tzemach

Beta testing is an important and significant phase in any application lifecycle. In this type of testing, the company releases a “beta” version to the market or shares it with individual customers before the official release. Once the product is deployed, the beta testing period starts. It is based on real customer feedback in critical areas like usability, user experience and any quality issues that may have escaped the testing effort.

Even though the beta is the usual name for this test method, there are a few alternative names like:

  • Customer acceptance testing (CAT).

  • Customer product testing (CPT).

  • Customer validation (CV).

  • Early release version.

  • Pre-release version.

  • Field trials.

The process of beta testing

The high-level steps of the beta testing process include:

  1. Select the customers that want to use the software as a beta.

  2. Select the customers that can send the most effective feedback.

  3. Release the beta version and validate that the customer gets the support they need.

  4. Collect customer feedback.

  5. Transform the feedback into action items (feature requests, bugs and more).

  6. Prepare and distribute the beta feedback.

Why you should beta test

  • There are a few significant reasons that should motivate you to execute beta testing:

  • The application is tested in real environments, not a limited test environment.

  • The application is tested on multiple devices, architectures, and configurations.

  • Any returned feedback is important because it comes from a real user’s experience.

  • Cost-effective.

  • Increases customer satisfaction and confidence in the application.

  • Any issues found in the beta allow the company to fix them without affecting its reputation.

When the tests should happen

Beta testing is the final phase of testing. It is executed after complete testing cycles and before releasing the application to the public.

What happens next

There are a few paths that companies may follow, depending on the collected feedback. In some cases, the company may decide to fix issues (only the critical bugs or deal-breaker requests). In other cases, the feedback is translated into feature requests (FR) to be implemented in future versions.

Common pitfalls to avoid

  • Not having a mechanism to collect customer feedback.

  • Ineffective communication between the company and customers.

  • The application is released without passing the previous quality gates.

  • Customers do not receive technical support during the process.

  • Feedback is not translated into action items.

  • There are no specific timelines for the beta period.

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