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Test Planning

4 Points To Make To Your Boss About Beta Testing

September 9, 2015

You’re a product manager and the release of the product you’ve been working on is right around the corner. Before the big day, you want to run a beta test to make sure the product works perfectly. The problem is, your CEO isn’t familiar with beta testing and has some concerns. Maybe he’s afraid of a pre-release leak, isn’t sure if there’s room in the budget, or doesn’t think beta testing is important enough to squeeze into the release schedule. It falls on you to educate your boss about beta testing and the value it brings to product development. We’ve put together some talking points that can help you build your case.

1. It’s an Industry Best Practice

First and foremost, beta tests are a well-established best practice within the technology industry. Many of the most innovative and well-known software and hardware companies (as well as tons of up and coming startups) beta test their products before release. The reason these companies rely on beta testing is because of how effective it is. A beta test is the simplest and most cost effective solution to getting a new tech product ready for market.

2. It Tests Real World Performance

One of the reasons beta tests are so popular is because they’re able to road test how a product will perform in the hands of customers. There is only so much a QA team can replicate in a lab. It’s another thing entirely when a product is out in the real world- in a hundred different environments. Beta testers have a knack for stretching the limits of beta units in unexpected ways. Letting a handful of customers try your product before it’s released will help your team get a much better idea of how customers will use the product and where they will run into problems.

3. There’s a High Return on Investment

Another reason beta tests are valuable is because the return on investment (ROI) is often hundreds of times the cost of the test, which can add millions of dollars to the company’s bottom line. For just a small initial investment (that’s often in the thousands), a product team can get tester feedback that can help them make critical changes to their product’s performance, quality, and function. By improving product quality and the user experience, the company will see higher sales, lower return rates, and lower support costs. For a company expecting to sell hundreds of thousands of units, even a 1% decrease in product returns can mean millions in savings.

4. Quality Matters in Tech

The tech industry is known for its commitment to quality and innovation. Your tech product not only has to do what it promises, but it needs to do it well. It’s no accident that some of the most successful tech companies (like Apple) are also notably committed to product quality. Investing in beta testing is a great way to make sure that your product is high-quality and contributing positively to the perception of your brand. In an industry that’s defined by fast-paced competition and innovation, ensuring you have a brand people trust and release products that consistently outperform the competition is what makes or breaks a tech company.

Of all the things you can do to improve your product before launch, beta testing is at the top of that list. It is by and large the most cost effective way to increase quality and test product features in a real world environment before a market release. Hopefully these points will help you build the case for beta testing at your organization. If you’re looking for more resources to bolster your argument (like our ROI calculator) check out our resource library.

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