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Product Development

What Is Delta Testing?

July 8, 2021

What is delta testing?

In a nutshell, delta testing is automated user testing. It's a proven, cost-effective approach to legacy user testing that allows companies to capture early product feedback from customers throughout the product life cycle.

Delta testing provides a technology-driven methodology for automating user testing to support agile development, generate more actionable feedback, and maximize product success. This gives companies the customer insights they need to develop high-quality products their customers will love.

A banner highlighting the benefits of using the free Beta version of Centercode including support for running delta tests

Who uses delta testing?

Companies that adopt delta testing are driven to develop high-quality products their customers love. Let's look at who uses delta testing in more detail.

Companies and Products

The best companies in the world use delta testing to deliver frictionless technology products with seamless interoperability.

  • Connected hardware and IoT products
  • Consumer software, business software, and SaaS
  • Mobile apps and games
  • Streaming and entertainment services

Program Owners

Delta testing is executed by professionals from diverse fields of expertise to prioritize bug fixes, user experience issues, and feature requests so that they continue to develop products that delight their audiences.

  • Product teams
  • QA engineers
  • Beta, field, and UAT program managers
  • Engineering directors and managers
  • Support directors and managers

Stakeholder Teams

With benefits for many different teams, the results of delta testing are used throughout the organization to drive product success.

  • Product teams gain actionable insights to drive roadmap decisions and a community of on-demand testers that can be leveraged throughout the entire product development life cycle.
  • Quality assurance teams achieve expanded test coverage in a fraction of the time and without having to invest in buying more devices for the lab.
  • Engineering teams have the insights they need to focus on fixing the issues and implementing the new features that have the greatest impact.
  • UX/CX teams use delta to further their initiatives since it increases the scope of their work to include user and customer experiences over time.
  • Support teams gain intelligence to prepare for initial customer issues, which helps them enhance the customer experience and brand image.
  • Marketing and sales teams gain a better understanding of your customers and the standout features they love so they can more effectively market and sell your product.
  • P&L owners, finance, and leadership leverage early feedback and star ratings to help with the predictability of product sales.

When does delta testing occur in product development?

Companies use delta testing throughout the entire product development life cycle. It complements market testing and quality assurance, and it replaces alpha testing, dogfooding, beta testing, UAT, field testing, and continuous user testing.

What Is Delta Testing?

How does delta testing drive quality and innovation?

Capturing customer feedback is a means to the larger end of what delta testing actually does for your company and the success of your products.

Completes the Critical "Last-Mile" in Development

All customer research and product testing efforts throughout development cover unique ground and add unique value — delta testing is no different.

Delta testing is the singular program that puts functioning products into the hands of targeted users, which gives them time to absorb and adopt the products out of their real environments.

This context means delta is uniquely positioned to validate the results of previous customer research investments. By tying those investments together and ensuring the final product or feature reflects all of the lessons learned, delta testing carries your product through the critical "last mile" of development and takes it from good to great.

Supports Agile Development With Customer Insights

Incorporating delta testing throughout the product development life cycle enables you to test and iterate on new concepts much sooner and drive faster innovations that are essential to outpacing competitors.

Similar to agile sprints, delta testing operates on a fixed cadence with cycles that typically last a few weeks. Each test cycle focuses on the "delta" between new features, fixes, and experiences against the current live version. For new products, the "delta" is the product's full feature set.

The tactics and tools used for delta testing are optimized for speed and scalability so that each team has the customer insights it needs in real time.

Delivers on Contemporary Corporate Initiatives

Delta testing offers a unique contribution to product success because it builds on typical corporate initiatives, including innovation, quality, customer satisfaction, digital transformation, and customer co-creation. Delta optimizes engineering efforts with impact-based recommendations for product fixes and improvements, and provides a step-by-step path for reaching key targets, like increased star ratings.

Fosters a Customer-Centric Culture

By making customer input more accessible, abundant, and continuous at your organization, delta testing gives customers a stronger role in shaping your product. It ensures that the voice of the customer is factored into every specification, design, development, launch, and growth decision that Product, Engineering, and Marketing make by delivering feedback earlier and more often throughout development.

Delta moves your company away from bias and anecdotal decision-making towards a customer-centric culture with increased awareness and alignment around customer needs.

Everything You Need to Know About Delta Testing

Now that you've got the basics, learn how delta testing can turn out high-value feedback in your organization in the Definitive Guide to Delta Testing.

Download the Definitive Guide to Delta
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