The task of beta testing a product can land on many different peoples’ desks within a company. The objectives of a beta test can vary depending on the role of the person running it. For example, a marketing manager may focus on the target market’s opinions on specific features, while a usability engineer may focus on a customer’s installation experience.
The objectives of your test will significantly impact its planning and management, so it’s imperative that you consider and define your objectives long before your test begins. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at the beta testing objectives that serve the needs of people in different roles. This week we’re looking at the main objectives that beta managers have when running a beta test.
Since beta managers are often tasked with running beta tests for a wide variety of products with a plethora of stakeholders, their objectives often have to cover a lot of ground, as well. These are the main objectives that help them derive the most value out of beta testing for their teams.
Evaluating the Entire Customer Experience
The beauty of beta testing is that it gives you the unique opportunity to ensure that all of the vital components of your product are in order. These include feature/functionality, installation, documentation/training, support, delivery, and more. It’s very important that all of these components perform precisely as intended to make for a fantastic customer experience, and beta is your chance to make sure everything is coming together as planned.
Soliciting Feature Requests for Your Roadmap
While it’s up to the product management team to create the product’s roadmap, beta testing offers an invaluable sneak peek into the opinions and impressions of your product’s target audience. The ideas and suggestions you collect during beta can offer insight that can be used when thinking ahead to future versions of your product.
Finding and Fixing Critical Bugs
Your quality assurance team can’t run tests using every single platform, use case, or environmental factor that might affect your product’s performance. This may result in hidden defects in your final product. Beta testing helps to cover those gaps by providing your product with real-world testing in a wide variety of environments and scenarios (including many that you may have never considered). Beta tests often discover show-stopping bugs that QA would have otherwise never discovered, which can make a big difference in the quality of your final product.
Evaluating the Impact of Known Issues
There may also be some issues your QA team knows about, but have not yet fixed. Beta testing gives you the chance to determine how widespread these issues might be and gives you valuable information that can help your team fix them. You can also determine how best to support customers with these issues if you know your product is going to launch with the issues still present.
Ensuring Real-world Compatibility
Very few technology products operate in a vacuum these days. Most require interaction with some other product or platform to function. Testing the compatibility of your product in the real world is one of the most common (and important) beta objectives. Ensuring that you get your product tested with as many adjacent products and technologies as possible will uncover all of the unanticipated performance issues that could otherwise surprise you during launch.
These are some of the main objectives that beta managers often have during a test, but every beta is different. Your product or stakeholders may require different objectives to meet their specific goals.
In the coming weeks we’ll be looking at the major objectives for product managers, marketing managers, and other roles that could be running a beta test, so stay tuned!