We’re in the home stretch of our Beta Tips series. At this point you’ve collected all the feedback you need from your testers and you’re ready to end your test. But you can’t just shut down your project out of the blue, or you risk confusing your testers and leaving some loose ends behind. Here are some helpful tips for wrapping up your project while laying the groundwork for future tests.
1. Give Notice That It’s Over
Send a clear indication to testers that the project is complete. An email, official letter, or some other form of announcement helps bring closure to the test and lets people understand that their role is complete. It’s also helpful to use this time to remind testers of the terms of the NDA should they extend past the end of the beta.
2. Wait Until You Receive the Product
On the other hand, if participants are supposed to ship the product back to you after testing, do not announce that the project has closed until everything is back. If they think you have officially ended the test, they are far less likely to return the test items. They’ll just think you’ve moved on to other, more important matters.
3. Know Who’s Making the Difference
“Cultivate good testers. Good testers are hard to find and are worth numerous average testers. So be sure to keep track of the good testers and make them feel appreciated.” —Amanda Dawson, TiVo
4. Create a Shutdown Procedure
“Establish a standard process for shutting down betas — and stick to it. The details are not too important, but having a process improves communication. We like to post a heads up that the beta will go read-only in seven days and then be shut down completely after another seven days. This gives customers time to file any unfinished feedback etc.”
—Simon Bosley, Autodesk
We have one more Beta Tips post coming on rewarding your testers for all their great feedback. This is one of our most popular topics, so be sure to check back next week for the completion of the series.