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Program Management

Top Five Ways You Can Grow Your Beta Program

April 3, 2023

Beta Test Managers, imagine this: Your beta program has been in test for a while now, validating smaller products and squashing bugs before they ever reach the end user. Then, one day, you learn about a brand new hero product that’s set to release in a few months. There’s just one problem - nobody’s talking about testing it before launch, and asking to test the product is getting a lukewarm response from your stakeholders.

Lucky for you, there are some easy strategies you can implement today to start expanding the reach of your beta program. Here’s our top five tips for how you can grow your beta program and be a bigger part of your next major product launch.

Host Beta Expos

Whether you call it an expo, a roadshow, or a showcase, showing off your beta program via an internal tour is an excellent way to expand your beta program within your company. By directly showcasing the impact of beta testing to the teams around you, you’re not only proving your value, but you’re also building important relationships with people all across your organization. The stronger your internal network is, the easier it will be to ask for - and get - more resources for your beta program.

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Beta programs can be like birds - they have to outgrow the nest before they can learn to fly. Saying yes to as many asks and internal requests as possible is a great way to build the foundation for a larger beta program. The more responsibilities you have, the more resources you require, and the easier it is to ask for an increased headcount. Not only that, but you also get other team members invested in your success, meaning they’re more likely to go to bat for you in the future. Be careful not to go overboard, though! Saying yes to literally everything that lands at your desk may land you in deeper water than you expected.

Define Your KPIs

I’ll be honest here, I’m not really a math (or a numbers) guy, but I bet your internal stakeholders are! While going on expos and taking on more responsibilities can help build relationships within your organization, raw numbers and data objectively proves your program’s value. So clearly define your KPIs to paint the most accurate picture of your program. 

We recently spoke with Alex Larsen, Manager of Product and Customer Insights at Trimble, on our Delta Huddle Podcast to see what he had to say about using KPIs: “I tend to rely on the KPIs, which are just raw numbers for the most part. I don't have to add a lot of context. I can just say, here's how many bugs we identified, here's how many features got requested, here are the number of teams we support… You can kind of get a good idea of the value of the program, regardless of what's being said with that feedback or what product is being tested.” 

Fun fact: Centercode comes with a set of KPIs loaded right into the system, making it easy for anyone to speak to the value of beta testing.

Become Best Buds with Support

If you think about it, you and your support team have a lot in common. You’re both interacting with customers and real users everyday, gathering their insights, resolving issues, helping to make the product better every step of the way… Wait, did you two just become best friends?

So team up with support to share resources and collaborate on documentation. For example, use the issues submitted by your beta testers as the foundation for new support documents, or loop in your support staff as observers in a beta test so they can see first hand how your program operates. Beta programs often grow, and directly recruit from, support teams. 

Alex Larsen from Trimble also shared some insights on how support and beta testing teams are interlinked: “I've recruited for my team heavily from support. So when, when we have openings, I do really like to give people from support a chance to see if this is a place they want to move up to.” So the earlier you bring them into the fold, the better!

Prove You’re a Lean, Mean Testing Machine

Recession is one of those words nobody likes to hear. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Organizations might get lean, but that just makes the value beta testing provides that much more important. Showcase the value that a beta test can bring to a crucial new product launch, or demonstrate how beta testing can actually reduce support costs in the long term. And becoming essential in lean times sets you up for easy growth when things become more bullish.

And there you go! Our top five tips for growing your beta testing program. In many cases, the value of beta testing is hidden just below the surface, so bringing that value directly to the forefront is key for getting other teams onboard and invested in testing.

If you want to hear more from an established testing expert on how to grow a program further, listen to our interview with Alex Larsen on the Delta Huddle Podcast. And click here to learn how you can start beta testing today for free with Centercode.

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