Beta Testing is one of the Acceptance Testing types, which adds value to the product as the end-user (intended real user) validates the product for functionality, usability, reliability, and compatibility.
Inputs provided by the end-users helps in enhancing the quality of the product further and leads to its success. This also helps in decision making to invest further in the future products or the same product for improvisation.
Since Beta Testing happens at the end user’s side, it cannot be the controlled activity.
Purpose of Beta Testing
The points mentioned below can even be considered as the objectives for Beta Test and are very much required to produce far better results for a product.
1) Beta Test provides a complete overview of the true experience gained by the end users while experiencing the product.
2) It is performed by a wide range of users and the reasons for which the product is being used varies highly. Marketing managers focus on target market’s opinion on each and every feature, while a usability engineer / common real user focus on product usage and easiness, technical users focus on installation and uninstallation experience, etc.
But the actual perception of the end users clearly exhibits why they need this product and how they are going to use it.
3) Real world compatibility for a product can be ensured to a greater extent through this testing, as a great combination of real platforms is used here for testing on a wide range of devices, OS, Browsers, etc.
4) As a wide range of platforms which the end users are actually using, might not be available to the internal testing team during the QA, this testing also helps to uncover the hidden bugs and gaps in the final product.
5) Few specific platforms will cause the product to fail with showstopper bug which was not covered during QA. And this helps in improvising/fixing the product to be a compatible one with all possible platforms.
6) Known Issues, which are accepted by the Product Management team, may take a great turn when the end user faces the same issue and may not be comfortable while using the product. In such cases, this testing helps to analyze the impact of known issues on the entire product as the user experience gets hampered and is not acceptable for any successful business.
Any Product undergoing Beta Test should be reviewed against certain Readiness Checklist before launching it.
Few of them are:
- All the components of the Product are ready to start this testing.
- Documentation that has to reach the end users should be kept ready – Setup, Installation, Usage, Uninstallation should be detailed out and reviewed for correctness.
- Product Management team should review if each and every key functionality is in good working condition.
- Procedure to collect Bugs, feedback etc should be identified and reviewed to publish.
Beta Testing Performed
This type of testing can be performed in several ways, but there are five different stages in general.
Define the goals in advance. This helps in planning the number of users required to participate in the testing and the duration required to complete and reach the goals.
2) Participants Recruitment
Ideally, any number of users can participate in testing, but due to budget constraints, the project has to set up a minimum and maximum limit on the number of users participating. Usually, 50 – 250 users are targeted for mid-complex products.
3) Product Launch
- Installation packages should be distributed to the participants – Ideally, share the link from where they can download and Install.
- Share User Manuals, Guides, Known Issues, Scope of testing to the participants etc.
- Share the Bug logging methods to the participants.
4) Collect and Evaluate Feedback
- Bugs raised by the participants are handled by the bug management process.
- Feedback & Suggestions are collected by the participants based on their experience with the Product.
- Feedbacks are evaluated to analyze and make out the customer to satisfy the product.
- Suggestions are considered to improve the product in its next versions.
- Once a certain point is reached and when all the features are working, no bugs are arising, and exit criteria are met then decide to conclude Beta Testing Phase.
- Distribute Rewards / Incentives to the participants as per the plan decided and thank them formally to maintain good relationship (this helps in further beta test on the product, much more feedbacks, suggestions, etc)
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