Is Alpha and Beta Testing Necessary For The Company?

Every organization performs a series of tests to ensure that a product is ready for release before launching it. These tests are required to ensure that a product does everything it is supposed to and delivers a quality user experience. User Acceptance Testing includes two necessary testing – Alpha and Beta testing. After the Product Development Life Cycle completes, the product management team runs these two tests to evaluate the entire functioning of the system while collecting input from technical users.

Alpha vs Beta

Definition of Alpha Testing

Alpha testing is commonly performed by the internal users and quality assurance staff to rectify the system’s bugs, errors, and functionality. During the Alpha testing, technical testers are requested to provide input which is further used to improve the software.

The developer conducts Alpha testing right after the completion of software development and before the Beta testing. Alpha testing consists of two major phases. A system developer executes the software test in the first phase to detect errors and system issues.

In the second phase, the quality assurance team performs two tests: ‘ white box’ and ‘black box.’ The ‘black box’ tests focus on the exterior functioning of the software. This approach focuses on the input and output functions of the software.

In White Box Testing, a tester overviews the internal working of the software. It examines the infrastructure, coding, and design of the software. This testing gives an inside outlook of the software.

 

Why is Alpha testing essential?

In the Alpha testing phase, the developer carries the test on the organization’s employees in a structured and planned way. This test helps identify bugs and defects that software developers may have overlooked during prior testing.

Alpha testing allows us to investigate how the application operates as a whole rather than just a part. This test provides a more detailed view of the product’s reliability and stability throughout the early stages of software deployment.

This testing is designed to run in an environment that simulates the functioning of a real-world operation. Production teams observe how the software will interact when released to end-users during testing.

 

Definition of Beta testing

Beta testing is the final step of the acceptance testing procedure. Until this point, the QA team has done internal testing and considers the program is ready for commercial launch. But, this does not ensure that there is no possibility that the software is free of bugs and errors.

So, the product development team conducts Beta testing to discover errors and gather further feedback for product improvement. Beta testing is unstructured testing where external users are allowed to test out the product. It improves the spotting of flaws and issues related to user experience (UX) even before the product is released to the public.

Beta testing can be performed in various ways during software development. Following are the several forms of Beta testing:

 

  1. Traditional Beta testing: In this test, the software is presented to the end-user, relevant feedback on each part of the program is collected, and the results are finally handed to the developer for further enhancement.
  2. Public Beta testing: A product is made available to external users willing to try something fresh in public beta testing. Their experience and suggestions are collected and used to enhance the software using their vital feedback.
  3. Technical Beta testing: In this approach, the product is deployed to an internal group of technical beta testers, and their feedback is gathered.
  4. Focused Beta: This testing is conducted when a production team wants to collect feedback on a specific feature or function. The unit distributes the product to the external user and collects their input.
  5. Post-release Beta: This testing is usually performed after the release of the software. The product is released in the market in this phase, and data is collected to enhance future versions.

 

Why Beta testing is required?

During Beta testing, a product development team can observe how the software performs in real-world scenarios and how end-users interact with it. Implementing the black-box technique, the product manager tests the functionality and security of the software and reduces the chances of failure.

Product managers can also use the feedback and recommendation from end-users to further add features and release new products. For instance, Apple runs its new iOS features in its beta program. Later some of the features are included in the latest product, whereas others are eliminated.

However, Alpha testing is carried out in a simulated environment by the internal user, and there are strong possibilities of vulnerabilities remaining unnoticed. In such circumstances, Beta testing allows developers to uncover error issues in less controlled environments.

What are the similarities ?

  1. Alpha and Beta are the types of User Acceptance tests, and both tests help understand how the software interacts with a real-time user environment.
  2. Whenever the product manager wants to conduct a comprehensive test on the application, Alpha and Beta testing are performed. In this process, each feature of the product is evaluated, and feedback is collected from internal and external users.
  3. Both tests are designed to identify bugs and errors and evaluate the software’s overall functionality.

 

What’s the distinction ?

  1. In Alpha testing, internal users who are generally employees of the organization evaluate and analyze the software, but in Beta testing, it is done by external users.
  2. Beta testing only employs black-box testing whereas Alpha testing includes black-box and white-box testing methods
  3. Alpha testing is designed to execute in a controlled manner that imitates the real world, whereas Beta testing takes place in an uncontrolled, real-world environment.
  4. Alpha testing is structured testing where workflow and features are analyzed and documented. Beta testing is unstructured, with users free to utilize it in any way they see fit while providing suggestions.

 

Conclusion

You cannot deliver a product to your customers until it has been extensively tested. Alpha and beta testing are considered essential aspects of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) that help improve your product’s quality and reliability.

Giant companies use Alpha and Beta testing before introducing their product to the end-user. Google stands out from its competitors since they keep its products in the Beta phase for several years before making them available to the public.

In 2004, Gmail was in the beta phase when it was first released for a small number of users to interact with. In 2009, Gmail was officially launched to its end-users.

It is clearly impossible to successfully introduce a new product into the market without extensive Alpha and Beta testing. These tests ensure the reliability and authenticity of your product, allowing you to acquire input from end customers. You can have a competitive advantage over your competitors by developing products your customers actually crave.

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