Software beta tests typically focus on installation, quality, compatibility, and performance in varied real-world environments.
Software Beta Test Traits
Larger Betas - Software beta tests don't face the same limitations in product availability and distribution as hardware, so software betas often have more testers.
Early Beta Phases - Due to the simplistic distribution of builds, software beta tests often begin their beta testing phases earlier than their hardware counterparts.
Multiple Phases - Software betas often include a number of phases based on various builds of the product. Depending on the length of the overall beta test this can be anywhere from 3 to 10 phases.
International - While hardware isn't easy to distribute internationally, software generally is. This encourages more international testing of software-based products.
Software Beta Test Challenges
Feedback Management - Due to the large pool of candidates combined with the fact that users are generally already at a computer, a great deal of feedback is often generated from software beta tests. This amount of feedback can be difficult to manage.
Build Management - Managing software betas becomes increasingly difficult as additional builds are released. Ensuring participants are using the latest build and reporting accordingly is a very daunting task.
Piracy - Unlike hardware-based beta tests, software tests are susceptible to piracy from participants. This can be challenging to combat without the proper experience and tools.
Environment - Beta software generally relies on a computer or other complex device. These outside devices can often cause many of the problems identified during the beta. Understanding the testing environments of individual users is difficult but essential to successfully managing feedback.
Secure Software Distribution - The Centercode platform offers the ability to securely deliver builds to testers. When they log in, they can be required to download new builds before entering the feedback portal.
Custom Test Platforms - Centercode allows you to collect the exact information about your user's environment that will offer value during your beta. Users can attach these profiles directly to their feedback.
Digital Agreements - Our software allows you to easily execute digital non-disclosure and participant agreements with testers. These agreements offer testers a clear understanding of all their legal obligations.
Feedback Management - Our Feedback Management system eases the process of managing large amounts of beta feedback, including identifying and handling duplicate feedback. Feedback may also be automatically handled based on your criteria and workflows, including transferring it to existing defect tracking systems.
Feedback Filtering - Our Managed Betas Team acts as a filter to ensure that feedback is clear and complete.
Bug Reproduction - In addition to filtering issues, our beta team can act as a tier 1 support mechanism by reproducing incoming bug reports and adding additional information to the reports as needed.
Legal Agreements - All of our beta projects include an non-disclosure agreement (NDA) process which educates users regarding their legal obligations during the test. This process greatly reduces piracy and leaks.
Test Platform Database - Our community of users has been profiled for highly detailed information regarding their testing environments. These profiles are then attached to feedback such as bug reports to provide a clearer picture of the feedback's context and value.
Build Distribution - Our beta team can ensure that builds have been effectively distributed to participants. Once distributed, builds may be tracked and connected directly with feedback.